Morris wins at Martinsville

Martinsville, VA---On a day when NASCAR's top Late Model Stock Car stars gathered to slug it out in their richest race at Martinsville Speedway, Philip Morris was like a man dressed in a suit of armor. The Ruckersville, VA driver dominated...

Martinsville, VA---On a day when NASCAR's top Late Model Stock Car stars gathered to slug it out in their richest race at Martinsville Speedway, Philip Morris was like a man dressed in a suit of armor. The Ruckersville, VA driver dominated the $91,000 Taco Bell 300, leading all but six laps to finish a little over a half a second in front of Jimmy Mullins of Collinsville, VA in a Pontiac. Tim Peters of Providence, NC was third, Scott Hall of Walkertown, NC fourth, both in Chevrolets and Dean Ward of Winston-Salem, fifth in a Pontiac. Morris, driving a perfectly prepared Chevrolet, was able to hold his lead on the .526-mile track despite 14 caution flags for 73 laps, a halfway mandatory stop and inversion that put him back to fifth, and a mandatory caution at lap 190 to line up the cars single file for ten green flag laps to the finish. Each time on restarts his car responded like a rocket and he was able to pull away from the field. "I have to give thanks to God," Morris said in Victory Lane. "I asked for His strength to help me do this on every restart. It's never over until you have it won. I'm really happy to win here because Martinsville always has been so special to me. It's like Disneyland. It just sparkles." Morris averaged only 57.221 miles per hour and took home a hefty LMS payoff of $20,000, including the $5,000 BB&T award for leading at halfway. To reach those final green flag laps, the 200-lap race was extended to 216 laps and Morris was in front 210. Starting on the outside pole position, Morris took the lead away from pole winner Chad Harris of Stuarts Draft, VA, who had qualified at 87.862 miles per hour, and led the first 101 laps. At the inversion, Eric Sartin of Kermit, WV moved in front in his Chevrolet but lasted only six laps before Morris was back in the lead for good. All the caution flags and restarts only allowed Morris to flex his engine muscles and pull away each time. The speedway will have only a three day break before racing action resumes on Thursday with practice and qualifying for the Intermedia Allison Legacy Series starting at 10:30 a.m. There is no admission charge. These three-quarter scale replicas of Winston cup cars are powered by four-cylinder Mazda 2200 truck engines and have standard Mazda five-speed transmissions. They will compete in the Anderson Tractor/John Deere Challenge 30-lap race at 4 p.m. Friday. Following practice at 11 a.m. Friday, NASCAR Winston Cup cars will time trial at 3 p.m. to determine the Bud Pole position and top 25 starters for Sunday's $2,115,007, 45th annual NAPA AutoCare 500. Friday's admission is $15 for adults with children under 12 admitted free. NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds practice at 8 a.m. Saturday with second round Winston Cup qualifying at 11:15 a.m. Modifieds time trial at 11:30 a.m. with Happy Hour for Winston Cup cars at 1 p.m. The $87,211 Goody's Body Pain 200 for Modifieds starts at 3 p.m. and tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 and are unreserved. Sunday's NAPA AutoCare 500 takes the green flag at 1 p.m. ` Reserved seats still are available for the NAPA AutoCare 500.They may be ordered by calling toll free at 877-722-3849 or 540-956-2151. Tickets also may be ordered online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Philip Morris