Martinsville Late Model Stock preview

Martinsville, VA---There's little doubt what race is the most important to drivers in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Division. It has to be the $91,095 Taco Bell 300 on Sunday, September 24 at Martinsville Speedway. Just look...

Martinsville, VA---There's little doubt what race is the most important to drivers in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Division. It has to be the $91,095 Taco Bell 300 on Sunday, September 24 at Martinsville Speedway. Just look at the entry list. There are 124 entries for the Taco Bell 300 and more are expect before next weekend's race. There are drivers from seven states. The entrants have combined for more than 210 wins. The Blue Ridge Region NASCAR Champion Wade Day of Blountville, TN and Atlantic Seaboard Regional Champ Nick Woodward of High Point, NC are entered. More than 110 Late Models tested on Wednesday in preparation for the Taco Bell 300, which they consider their Daytona 500. Several drivers were very fast during the test session including Philip Morris, David Hyder, Chad Harris, Ray Young, Butch Hamlet and defending Taco Bell 300 champion Robert Powell. Powell of St. Matthews, SC said he made just a few changes from a year ago and turned some of the fastest laps of anyone. "When we unloaded we were pretty good. We ran some pretty fast laps. I'd say we were in the top five," Powell said. "We had a real good lap on stickers. The thing I was happy about thought was the car stayed consistent. On a long run, it was real fast." Powell had times as low as 21.43 seconds, 88.362 miles per hour. Rodney Sawyers of Ridgeway, VA won the pole position, a year ago, with a time of 21.473 seconds, 88.185 miles per hour. Powell being fast in testing could mean trouble for the remainder of the field, but there were many other drivers with great laps including Hyder who was driving a new car, which he has only had for a week. "We got this car last Thursday and we haven't had any sleep since," Hyder said. The Taco Bell 300 is so important to Hyder he said he does whatever it takes to run well. "These guys have worked for me on this car and have done a good job. I've lost time from work just to try to get it done. We always like to come up to Martinsville to run this race. It means a lot to us whenever you do good or win the race. It will be interesting," he said. Rodney "Six Pack" Cundiff said the Taco Bell 300 takes a lot of preparation. "We were running ever week and we were tearing up a bunch of stuff so we decided to take off a couple of weeks and get ready to come to Martinsville," said the driver from Boones Mill, VA. Butch Hamlet, who drives the Taco Bell car, agreed. "You can't come here and be three-quarters ready," he said. "You have to be 100 percent ready to go. The team has worked so hard the last couple of weeks to get this thing ready to go." Only the fastest 20 cars will nail down starting positions in the 1 p.m. qualifying on Saturday, September 23 for the Taco Bell 300. The other 22 starters will be decided in four 25-lap qualifying races to begin the Taco Bell 300 at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 24. After the starting lineup is set, the 200-lap feature will get underway. The race will be stopped at 100 laps with the leader receiving $5,000 and a trophy from BB&T, and a number of the leading cars will be inverted. At lap 190, the race will be put under caution with the leaders lined up single file for ten green flag laps to the finish. If necessary, the race will be extended to complete the ten green flag laps. Tickets for the Taco Bell 300 are unreserved and are $20.00 for adults and $5.00 for children ages 6-12. Excellent reserved seats still are available in the towers and concrete areas for the NAPA AutoCare 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race on Sunday, October 1 from $40-$65. They may be ordered by calling toll free at 877-722-3849 or 540-956-3151. Tickets also may be ordered online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Nick Woodward