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Sellers sweeps SBS opener

Peyton Sellers swept Saturday afternoon's Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100s at South Boston Speedway.

And, he did it by being the best on the final restart of both 100-lap races.

"Man, what an awesome day," the former NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champion and former South Boston Speedway Late Model Stock Car Division remarked.

"I'm very fortunate to be sitting where I am right now."

To secure his two victories, Sellers had to hold off former South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car DivIsion Champion Matt Bowling in late-race restarts that followed caution periods.

In the first race, Sellers had to fend off Bowling on the race's final restart with 13 laps to go.

"I knew if I rolled up there with him on the restart I could have a good start," Sellers pointed out.

"Even when I got in front of him, it wasn't like I was pulling away. If I had made a mistake, he would have been under me."

For Bowling, who had won the pole and led the first 88 circuits before Sellers got past him, the restart after the last of the race's two caution periods did not go as he had hoped. At the end of the race, he trailed Sellers by a scant .690-second.

"We were about even (in the turn) and I hit the apron," Bowling explained.

"I thought I could get a better run off of the corner like that, and I thought wrong. I got too free off of the corner and that's where he got me. That was my mistake, but he had a little better race car. I felt like I could have held him off if I had gotten in front of him. You live and learn."

In the second race, it was Josh Oakley that appeared to have the dominant car. Oakley, who led a race-high 88 laps, built a huge lead only to see Sellers, who took second place away from Bowling on lap 39, start slicing into his lead at the midway point of the race.

Sellers caught and got up beside Oakley to challenge for the lead, only to see the race's second caution flag wave and end that bid. Once the race restarted on lap 83, Sellers made another run at Oakley and grabbed the lead on lap 89.

Battling brake issues, Oakley lost second place to Bowling on lap 92. Two laps later, on lap 94, the race's third caution flag flew, setting up another Sellers-Bowling battle for the win. Like the first time, Sellers prevailed, this time by a smaller margin of .385-second.

"Matt is about as tough as there is on a restart," Sellers pointed out.

"I knew I had to get a good shift and get a good jump on him. I got a decent shift, but I didn't get a good jump on him. He was right there at me going into the corner. I was like all I can do now is lift early and get it (the car) squared up and try to drive it off of the corner with the throttle and it worked out."

Bowling said it was a case of Sellers having the better car at that point of the race.

"He passed me during the race," Bowling noted.

"I knew what he had was a little bit better. He had a little more tire than I did. I pinned him down like he did me the first race to try and get by him, but it's hard to do. His car was that good."

While Bowling had to settle for the runner-up spot in both races, it wasn't a bad day.

"I hate second," Bowling remarked, "but it isn't a bad day at all. We had a really great piece. We were one adjustment away from being really good."

Oakley said brake issues were at the heart of his late fade in the second race.

"The brakes just kept going out for some reason," Oakley said.

"I couldn't really set the car in the corners because all I had was rear brakes. I would barely touch the brake pedal and the back end of the car would jump out. I just had to roll the car in the corners. You can't really be fast here and do that.

"The car showed its potential at the start of the race," he added.

"The brakes were working well, and I could run the car anywhere I wanted to."

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitor Jeb Burton of Halifax drove a Toyota out of the Sellers Racing stable to a third-place finish in the first race, with Oakley, from Rougemont, N.C. and Tommy Lemons Jr. of Troy, N.C. rounding out the top five finishers in the first race.

Austin Thaxton of Cluster Springs finished third in the second race after having finished 15th in the first race as the result of a mishap involving Oakley while the pair battled for a spot in the top five in the first race.

"I was pretty happy with the second run," Thaxton said.

"I felt we got robbed the first race. The car was pretty good in the second race. Allen (crew chief Allen Rice) changed some stuff on the car for the second race, and it was really good. I'd call it a pretty decent day."

Oakley finished fourth and Ricky Jones of Benson, N.C. rounded out the top five finishers. Burton finished seventh.

"I'm a little disappointed because of how fast we were in testing, and on the long runs it just wouldn't last," Burton said.

"We lost the pole by three one-thousandths (of a second) and we ran really good the first 20 laps of the first race and we ended up third. We were so far off the first race that it just killed my tires. We ran in the top five for most of the last race but the tires were killed.

"We'll get it better for the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown (on April 24)," Burton added.

"The main goal is to do well in that race."

 

In Other Action

Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs started his defense of last season's Limited Sportsman Division title on a good note by winning the 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division race.

J.D. Eversole of Chesterfield, Daniel Moss of Danville, Tommy Peregoy of Red Oak and Joey Throckmorton of South Boston rounded out the top five finishers.

Greg Autry of South Boston scored a flag-to-flag win in the 30-lap Pure Stock Division race that rounded out the four-race program. Johnny Layne of Crystal Hill, Jeff Deering, Bruce Mayo of Halifax and Scott Phillips rounded out the top five finishers.