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Bowling wins title; Sellers takes finale

Matt Bowling and Peyton Sellers had different agendas as they headed into Saturday night’s GCR Presents Spaulding Equipment Co. Night 150 at South Boston Speedway.

Bowling was focused on doing what was necessary to lock up the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division championship.

While Sellers entered the race with a shot at the title, he was more focused on trying to score his third win of the season.

At the end of the night, both drivers had what they wanted.

Bowling, from Ridgeway, locked up the South Boston Speedway championship with a third-place finish. Sellers got his victory, edging defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion and defending South Boston Speedway champion Philip Morris by less than a car length in a dramatic two-lap green-flag sprint to the finish set up by a late-race caution flag for an incident on lap 143 involving Jeb Burton on lap 143.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve done it,” said Bowling, who, at 18-years-old, became one of the youngest drivers, if not the youngest driver, to win a NASCAR track title in South Boston Speedway’s featured NASCAR racing division.

“We’ve just been consistent, and the car was prepared right at the shop at Sellers Racing. Nothing broke, and that’s what got us the championship.”

For Sellers, the win was a huge relief.

“It’s a big load off of my shoulders,” Sellers remarked.

“We had a good car. We were catching Philip there at the end. I got back to his bumper, and it was going to be a duel right down to the end, whether the caution flag had come out or not.”

Sellers and Morris swapped the lead four times in the race that had to be extended to 151 laps to accommodate the two-lap green-flag run that determined the winner. It was choice of lanes on the final restart that ultimately decided the outcome.

Morris, the race leader, opted to take the outside lane, leaving Sellers to take the inside lane. For Sellers, it turned out to be a gift.

“It was like the skies were opening up when he gave me the inside,” Sellers said.

“If you look back through the race, the outside had worked really well. He made the choice according to how the race would have played out from earlier in the race, and it just didn’t work out. I wanted the inside pretty much all the time.”

Morris said the final two laps were a battle for real estate.

“When you’re on the inside, you get to control that,” Morris pointed out.

“The car was so loose I couldn’t do anything on the bottom. The only thing I had was the high side, and I was hoping I could drive off into the (first) turn deeper than him. He really wanted it and really drove the wheels off of it. My hat goes off to him. He deserves to win.”

Bowling, Josh Oakley of Rougemont, N.C. and Kenny Forbes of Bullock, N.C. rounded out the top five finishers. Paul Beckner, Tommy Peregoy of Red Oak, Austin Thaxton of Cluster Springs, Joshua VanWinkle and Eric Winslow completed the top ten finishers. The top nine cars finished on the lead lap.

Sellers averaged 73.665 mph in the race that took 49 minutes and 11 seconds to complete. Three caution periods slowed the action for 16 laps.