- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
For the third time in modern-day history, South Boston Speedway has honored a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion as its NASCAR track champion.
Philip Morris of Ruckersville, the 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion and Virginia state champion, was honored Saturday night at the annual South Boston Speedway NASCAR Awards Banquet held at the historical Berry Hill mansion.
Morris joins Peyton Sellers of Danville and Barry Beggarly of Pelham, N.C. as South Boston Speedway champions that also won NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championships.
It was a festive night for Morris and South Boston Speedway’s three other 2011 NASCAR track champions as South Boston Speedway officials presented more than $50,000 in cash awards and other prizes at the historical mansion.
In addition to Morris, Limited Sportsman Division Champion Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs, Pure Stock Division title winner Joe Allred III of Scottsburg and Southern Vintage Modified Division Champion Darryl Lacks of Goode were honored for their accomplishments of last season.
Morris, a 46-year-old Ruckersville resident, received $10,433 in NASCAR and South Boston Speedway prize monies and a wide array of track and NASCAR awards for winning the 2011 South Boston Speedway’s top NASCAR racing division.
He won 19 of South Boston Speedway’s 22 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division races in 2011.
“I feel truly blessed and honored to be here tonight celebrating this championship, especially since it was only a couple of years ago that we struggled so hard to even be a contender here at South Boston Speedway,” Morris said during his remarks to the audience.
“I’ve been privileged to be at a lot of banquets over the past 20 years. I’ve been to Orlando, Fla., the Opryland Hotel in Nashville and to Las Vegas, and this truly has to be the best banquet I’ve ever been to. I love history. I love our room here. I feel so appreciated, and I thank everyone for going all out for us.”
Morris credited his fellow competitors, including his stablemate of this past season and track Late Model Stock Car Stock Car Division runner-up Natalie Sather, third-place finisher, Dennis Holdren of Roanoke, for pushing him.
“Our fellow competitors worked hard this year, which demanded that we dedicated ourselves more,” Moris pointed out.
“Natalie, Dennis (Holdren), Matt (Bowling), and Bruce (Anderson), we are grateful to you for bringing out the best in us, all the way to the national championship.”
Morris credited all of his team members for his success, and thanked everyone involved in his racing program for their help in making the 2011 season a stellar one.
“I’m a champion because of my car owner, Jim Dean, my crew chief, H.C. Sellers, and my crew,” Morris said.
“I’m surrounded by the best of the best. For 20 years, I’ve been driving stock cars. I didn’t know what I was missing until I sat in a Sellers-prepared car.”
For Willis, the 2011 South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Limited Sportsman Division title marked the first NASCAR track championship of his career.
“This is the final touch,” Willis said after receiving the awards and prize money at the banquet.
“Winning the South Boston Speedway championship is a huge accomplishment and a great honor. Through your career you wonder what it would feel like to win one. To finally accomplish that goal is an amazing feeling.”
The 2011 South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Budweiser Pure Stock Division championship was the second title Allred has won in the division.
“It’s always special to win,” Allred remarked.
“Winning the championship means we did well through the season. I feel like if you win one (championship) you’re kind of expected to win more. If you don’t, you kind of feel like you’ve let yourself down.”
Lacks won his third career South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Southern Vintage Modified Division title in 2011, edging his brother, Donnie Lacks, by a slim three-point margin.
“I thought this was a heck of a year at South Boston Speedway,” Lacks said.
“I had to overcome a whole lot of complications to get to this championship, and one of them was Donnie. He gave me one heck of a run.”