MARTINSVILLE, VA ^Ã– Phil Warren made a little racing history at Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon and in the process revived his fortunes at the .526-mile track. Warren took the lead with 81 laps remaining and held off a couple of ...
MARTINSVILLE, VA ^Ö Phil Warren made a little racing history at Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon and in the process revived his fortunes at the .526-mile track.
Warren took the lead with 81 laps remaining and held off a couple of strong challenges down the stretch to capture the Taco Bell 300 Late Model Stock Car race.
But it wasn^Òt as easy as it sounds for the Norfolk, VA driver. He was forced to make the 200-lap feature race through a qualifying race early Sunday afternoon and started the feature 24th. He^Òs the first driver to win the Taco Bell 300 after coming out of a qualifying race. He^Òs also the first driver to win the Taco Bell 300 driving a Ford.
^ÓTo me, this is basically the best it is,^Ô said Warren, who picked up $15,000 for the win, the biggest payout anywhere for a Late Model Stock race. ^ÓIt means a lot to me to win this race and it^Òs big to be the first Ford to win this.^Ô
Brandon Butler of Richmond, VA wound up second in a Chevrolet, followed by Jimmy Mullins of Collinsville, VA, also in a Chevrolet.
Butler had several shots at Warren down the stretch in the caution-filled event. Three times in the last 15 laps the caution came out and each time Butler stayed on Warren^Òs bumper for three or four laps before Warren was able to get some breathing room.
^ÓI can^Òt complain,^Ô said Butler. ^ÓIt^Òs been a great weekend for us. We qualified second, we finished second and we led the most laps. That^Òs a pretty good weekend.^Ô
Butler picked up $10,000 for his efforts, which included a $5,000 bonus from BB&T for leading at the halfway point.
Warren said it was hard to keep his eye off of the mirror down the stretch. ^ÓI knew Brandon was going to be good at the end,^Ô said Warren, who last won at Martinsville in 1988 when he captured a 100-lap Late Model race. ^ÓI just tried to keep it at the bottom so he couldn^Òt get under me.^Ô
Jason York of Reidsville, NC wound up fourth while Wayne Grubb of Richmond, VA was fifth. Both were driving Chevrolets.
Pole-sitter Frank Deiny Jr. of Mechanicsville, VA didn^Òt lead a lap, as Butler dove past him on the first circuit. But Deiny ran in the top three or four the first 100 laps until he developed brake problems. He managed to work back through the field, though, and finished eighth.
The racing action picks back up at Martinsville Speedway in two weeks when the track plays host to the Winston Cup Series with the Old Dominion 500. Winston Cup qualifying is scheduled for Friday, October 12.
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.