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Philip Morris not resting on laurels

 

Philip Morris had not yet received the awards and accolades that went with his 2011 South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division title. But, the four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion and two-time South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division Champion is already busy preparing for the upcoming 2012 season.

Targeting South Boston Speedway as the place to launch a bid to repeat his national, state and track championships, Morris and the crew at Sellers Racing took advantage of a warm good-weather day on Jan. 6 to get in a full day of testing at the .4-mile oval.

“We’re setting our sights here at South Boston Speedway,” Morris said.

“There are always challenges that we’re going to have to overcome. We’ve somehow got to get better than we were last year. The only way we’re going to do that is get down here, get focused early and make that commitment to race for points here this season.

“We’re six days in (into the month of January) and we’re working as hard as we would be working if we were in May or June, when the competition gets fierce,” he added.

“That bodes well for our opportunities this year.”

It is hard to imagine that Morris, his car owner, Jim Dean, and H.C. Sellers and the crew at Sellers Racing could have a better year in 2012 at South Boston Speedway than they had in 2011.

Morris won 19 of 22 races, became the all-time career win leader in the Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston Speedway and set a new track record for consecutive Late Model Stock Car Division race wins with a pair of streaks of eight wins in a row.

While everything remains intact for Morris and his team, the 2012 season is a new season and he isn’t taking anything for granted.

“There is always going to be somebody that will step their game up and make your life miserable,” Morris remarked.

“I’ve never seen it happen any other way. That’s what I’m planning for. I’m bracing myself for that. If we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t be testing on January 6. We weren’t testing on January 6 last year. We’re definitely trying to step our game up. Jim has made the commitment. He wants to run well. He wants to have the cars up front. This is how you do it. You sacrifice and you make time.”

Morris has accomplished much in the realm of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division racing. He is appreciative and grateful for the championships and honors he has received and the records he has broken, but keeps it all low key.

“I don’t know if that’s something my granddaddy and daddy or somebody else taught me, but  I was taught don’t really celebrate it until you’re done,” Morris explained.

“It would be great to just maybe roll around in it a little bit, but there is still too much work left to be done. I’m 46 and I feel like I’ve got a few more years left. Ask me that question again in about three years and I’ll tell you what it feels like.”

Until he chooses to end his career, look for Morris to continue along the path that has brought success.

“It’s just hard work and dedication,” he pointed out.

“It’s not easy, and, a lot of times, it’s not fun. Sometimes it’s really tough. It’s the good times that keep you going.”

THE MORRIS RECORD

• Championships: NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Virginia Champion, South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division Champion

• SBS Starts: 22

• SBS Wins: 19

• SBS Top-Five Finishes: 19

• SBS Top-10 Finishes: 20

• SBS Poles: 12

• SBS Laps Led: 1,964 out of a possible 2,307 during points season

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