Martinsville Late Model action begins

MARTINSVILLE, VA (Sept. 27, 2001) -- There was no action at Martinsville Speedway Thursday, but a lack of action didn't mean a lack of race teams. In fact, by the time registration closed Thursday for the Taco Bell 300, the infield was...

MARTINSVILLE, VA (Sept. 27, 2001) -- There was no action at Martinsville Speedway Thursday, but a lack of action didn't mean a lack of race teams.

In fact, by the time registration closed Thursday for the Taco Bell 300, the infield was jam-packed full of the rigs that haul the Late Model Stock Cars.

But there wasn't a car in sight. Thursday was mostly a day of paperwork and preparation for the biggest Late Model Stock event in the country. More than 110 teams signed in Thursday and parked their rigs in the infield.

Friday will be a different story. Probably another 30 or 40 teams will register Friday, but the bulk of the day's activities will center around the efforts of NASCAR inspectors, who will run all the cars through technical inspection. If there is any time left after inspection, there will be a practice session.

The on-track action hits a fever pitch on Saturday when practice for Sunday 's Taco Bell 300 begins at 9 a.m. Qualifying is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.

"There really isn't a whole lot we can do today," said driver Frank Deiny Jr. of Mechanicsville, VA, who on Thursday was also the team's big-rig driver and tire man. "The only thing we were allowed to do today was get tires mounted and we did that.

"The big thing is to get signed in and get everything in the trailer ready so we'll be ready to get through tech in the morning. This is one race where you don't want to be pushed for time."

Registration and inspection begins at 7 a.m. Friday. That will keep inspectors and crew members busy all day. Drivers, though, will have little or nothing to do until practice finally begins.

"We've got everything ready for tech today," said driver Eric Sartin of Kermit, WVA. "Tomorrow I'll hurry up and wait most of the day, but I'll be ready when practice does start." Qualifying for the Taco Bell 300 begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday to determine the top 20 starting position.The fastest qualifier will receive $1,000 from Chatlee Boats of Sanford, NC.

On Sunday, the Taco Bell 300 kicks off four 25-lap qualifying races with the top five drivers from each race filling out positions 21-40 in the starting field. There will be two provisional starting spots given to complete the 42-car starting lineup for the 200-lap feature race. At lap 100, of the 200-lap feature, the race will be stopped for a 10-minute break and the leader at lap 100 will be presented the $5,000 BB&T Award. Also at the break, several of the top cars will be inverted. The race will continue until the caution is displayed at lap 190 for a single file restart for the final 10 green flag laps.

Tickets for the Taco Bell 300 are $20 each for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

The Taco Bell 300 is the first of two weekends of racing at Martinsville Speedway this fall.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will run the Old Dominion 500 on Sunday, October 14 at 12:30 p.m. On Saturday, October 13, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series will run the Advance Auto Parts 200 beginning at 2:45 p.m. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 200 are $30 each and children ages 6-12 get in for $5. All seats are unreserved.

Great reserved seats are available in the towers for $40-$60. Tickets can be ordered by calling the speedway ticket office toll free at 1-877-722-3849 or (540) 956-3151. Tickets also can be ordered online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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