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Title battles to heat up in Gazette 150

With only two nights of racing remaining in the 2012 points season at South Boston Speedway, Saturday night’s Gazette-Virginian NASCAR Whelen Late Model 150 racing program could be pivotal in deciding the outcome of three track titles.

Saturday night’s action starts at 7 p.m. and will be highlighted by a 150-lap race for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division. A race for the Limited Sportsman Division competitors and twin races for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division round out the night’s action.

The title battles in the three racing divisions that will be featured Saturday night have now boiled down to two drivers. In the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division the title chase involves points leader Matt Bowling of Ridgeway and former NASCAR National Champion and South Boston Speedway Champion Peyton Sellers of Danville.

Bowling, a one-time winner at South Boston Speedway this season, holds a 31-point lead over two-time winner Sellers and a 32-point edge over nine-time winner Lee Pulliam in the battle for the track championship.

Pulliam, who is leading the NASCAR national points standings and is chasing the NASCAR national title, has said he will not make a bid for the track title, leaving Bowling and Sellers to settle the title chase among themselves.

Austin Thaxton of South Boston, who occupies fourth place in the standings, is 103 points behind Bowling, and Dennis Holdren of Roanoke, who sits in fifth place, trails Thaxton by 30 points.

Just as it is in the Late Model Stock Car Division ranks, there are only two races remaining to decide the track’s Limited Sportsman Division championship. Bobby McCarty of Summerfield, N.C. enters Saturday night’s action with a 16-point lead over Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs. Both drivers have won six times this season at the .4-mile oval.

Blake Stallings of Danville is in third place, 73 points behind McCarty and is basically out of the title chase. However, Stallings holds only a five-point advantage of fourth-place driver Mike Jones of South Boston in the heated battle for third place.

Saturday night’s twin races for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division will definitely play a role in the outcome of the chase for that division championship. Trey Crews of Halifax enters the race with a 21-point lead over defending division champion Joe Allred III of Scottsburg. Randy Hupp of Halifax sits in third place, 24 points behind Allred, and could be a factor in the championship picture if either or both of the top two drivers run into trouble during Saturday night’s twinbill.

Pit registration for the Gazette-Virginian NASCAR Whelen Late Model 150 racing program will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Practice for all divisions will be held from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and qualifying time trials will get under way at 5:30 p.m. 

Grandstand gates will open at 5 p.m. Admission will be $10 for adults and children under the age of six will be admitted free with a paid adult.