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Drivers may experience butterflies in SBS opener

Expect a few butterflies to be floating in the stomach of some drivers in Saturday’s season-opening Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100’s at South Boston Speedway.

With Old Man Winter holding the region under his grip with cold weather and bouts of snow and ice, drivers and teams have not been able to get in the amount of pre-season testing at the .4-mile oval that they normally expect.

There is always some measure of anxiousness among the drivers and teams as they eye the start of a new season. That anxiety may be heightened for some as a result of the limited amount of pre-season track time.

“There is something special about that first race,” noted South Boston’s Bruce Anderson, who will return to competition in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division with the Patrick Henry Community College motorsports team.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about since the last time I got out of the car. There are definitely a few extra butterflies. It’s about wanting to get out of the winter and get going into the spring and race time.”

Anderson and his fellow competitors in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division will compete in twin 100-lap races in Saturday’s season-opening event, which starts at 2 p.m.

The twin-race format is a format Anderson likes.

“I like the twin 100s,” he pointed out.

“I like the twin races anyway because it gives you two shots at winning. One hundred lap races are not too long. It’s definitely better than opening up with a straight 200. You might be a little out of shape, so you want to get in there and get racing and get comfortable with things before taking on a long race like a 200-lapper.”

While some drivers and teams have been disappointed that the weather has prevented teams from getting a good dose of testing time at South Boston Speedway, others see the situation as an advantage.

Anderson feels the situation with the weather will swing the advantage to drivers like himself who have raced for several years at South Boston Speedway and are familiar with how sensitive the track is to temperature changes.

“I think that will lend its hand to the local guys, people that have raced there a long time,” Anderson pointed out.

‘I think it will be the same for everybody. We will have very little testing going into the first race. One thing is for sure, with the weather having been bad, nobody has been able to test a lot, so everybody should be pretty much on the same playing field for the first race.”

Anderson thinks that due to the limited amount of testing time a lot of drivers and teams are going to miss hitting the optimum chassis setups for Saturday’s race. That, he says, should make things even more interesting.

“We may miss it (the chassis setup) some,” noted Anderson.

“A lot of people will. It’s going to be a lot to ask to hang onto the car for 100 laps.

“It should be exciting,” added Anderson.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of guys are coming, and a lot of strong cars are returning. I’m looking forward to a good year.”

Along with the twin 100-lap races for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division Saturday’s season-opening event will include a race for the Limited Sportsman Division competitors and a race for the Pure Stock Division competitors.

Pit gates will open Saturday at 9 a.m. and practice for all divisions will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. A mandatory meeting for drivers will be held at 11:45 p.m. and qualifying time trials will start at 12:30 p.m. 

Grandstand gates will open at noon and the first race will get the green flag at 2 p.m.