[media-credit name=”Roger Holtsclaw” align=”alignright” width=”224″][/media-credit]Phillip Morris drives his Clarence’s Steak House Chevy to the victory in the VA is for Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway. Morris held off NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champion Lee Pulliam in the closing laps to secure his third win at the prestigious event.
During the first half of the race, Morris seemed to have everything under control with very little challenges from anyone. As the halfway break neared, BJ Mackey began to close on Morris and appeared to have the stronger car. Garrett Campbell went into the intermission in third after running strong for the first 75 laps.
Morris lost several positions during the break, with several strong cars now in front of him. Campbell had problems as well. The crew discovered a bad radiator hose that was causing an overheating issue. The team restarted at the back of the pack after the break and only completed one lap before falling out. A few laps later another strong contender, Matt McCall, headed to the garage area with an apparent engine problem.
Triple Crown contender Matt Bowling took the top spot and appeared to have the car to beat, Pulliam and Morris used strategy with the restart cone to put themselves in the right position to work their way back to the front. Mackey, who was very strong before the back began to fade and couldn’t hold off the challenge of Morris and Pulliam. One by one lead cars began to fall back, Morris and Pulliam made it back to the top two spots. The two battled each other through several yellows that lined them up side by side, but in the end, Morris was able to hold off the champ.
Morris said after the race, “I knew the last five laps was going to be like qualifying laps because Lee is so good.”
CE Falk secured the Virginia Triple Crown Championship with a sixth place finish. Falk said he struggled all day, but “…the crew worked on the car all day and finally got it right at the end.”
Another exciting event at Martinsville has come to a close. The Virgina is for Racing Lovers organization has re-signed to sponsor the race again next year. It should prove to be just as exciting!