SELLERS BLOWS THEM AWAY AT SOBO SPRING SHOOTOUT by Matthew Dillner
New Carburetor Has Late Model Stock Drivers Wheelin’ It
If you look at the record books after South Boston’s season opening “Spring Shootout 150” Late Model Stock race, you may not see the full story.
Yes, there were 26 Late Models. No there weren’t any lead changes. Add a few crashes and a repeat race winner to the list. Sounds kind of like a non-story? Not really.
“We had a good car and it was a pretty awesome 150 laps,” said an elated Sellers. “I’m telling you, we are getting pretty good at the first race. Now we just have to continue.”
Underneath it all there was much more to Peyton Sellers’ dominant win at South Boston Speedway on Saturday. It was more than the fact that it was Sellers’ second-straight “Spring Shootout” win. The race itself may have been a turning point in Late Model Stock racing in general.
A new carburetor has breathed life into the Late Model Stock division. It made for an exciting race although on paper it did not appear that way.
Sellers was the man all day at SoBo. He used the bigger carburetor to his advantage and stole the pole in qualifying. Then he led wire-to-wirefor the big opening day win.
“I’m pumped up every time we show up to the track; but for the crew, my crew chief and for my brother it’s just awesome for them to come out and know they worked hard all winter for something. This is momentum. It is good for them, the car owner and sponsors to get this win. Now we don’t have to prove anything this season. We already have a win and a pole under our belts and now we can go out and have fun putting more numbers on the board. Now there is not as much pressure.”
Speaking of pressure, Sellers had very little en route to his Spring Shootout win. But boy was the racing behind him intense.
Bailey’s "buddies" Brandon Butler and Frank Deiny Jr. put on a show behind Sellers that gave the Danville driver enough breathing room to make his win pretty easy.
“I didn’t feel any pressure but I was definitely nervous on those last restarts,” said Sellers. “With 10 to go, anything goes. But Brandon, although he wanted a win, is a good hard racer and clean driver. Anything goes in those last laps so knew once I got in the corner and got a good run off we were ok. We pulled him about three car lengths so we were fine. Luckily they got to racing behind me and I was gone.”
Neither Butler nor Deiny had anything for Sellers but that may have been due to the fact that they spent most of the race sliding around with each other. Butler looked to have Deiny disposed of early. From there it was Deiny’s #4 and Woody Howard’s #99 that thrilled the fans with a great duel. Deiny won that war. But by races end Butler and Deiny were at it again. Butler’s #29 fought off Frank’s tenacious charge to hold on to second place.
“We’ve done that a lot here,” said Butler of his battle with Deiny. “It’s kind of nice to be racing with him again. It felt good to pass him early but I was like 'damnit' when he almost got me at the end. We had a fun battle and a fun day racing with him.”
“Me and Brandon have had some classic battles here,” said Deiny after finishing third. “I got down there and I thought man I’ve got him and it’s done. But it was real loose down there especially coming across the paint (inside of turn 2). I got next to him and we raced as hard as we could.
“We realize that we both run for Baileys and Brandon runs here (at South Boston Speedway) for points and I am not. Unless I could pass him, there was no reason to bang doors too much. Mac Bailey doesn’t like it when we get blue paint traded across each other.”
Trading paint and hard racing is something that is common at Short Tracks like South Boston on a weekly basis. But for these Late Model Stock warriors, they have a new weapon that makes their racers much more potent.
Sellers walked away with it at SoBo. (51Photos)
A larger carburetor, which will be run at South Boston Speedway and Motor Mile (VA), created more power under the hood and a made for a bunch of happy drivers after the race.
“We went from 350 two-barrels to 500 two-barrels and that is a difference of about 60 to 70 horsepower," explains Deiny. “Man what a difference it makes.”
The Two Bailey's cars (#4 Deiny outside, #29 Butler - outisde) put on a side by show not once, but twice during the Spring Shootout 150.
“These brakes on these cars are like from 1930 General Motors cars, single piston brakes that are junk. So now you have so much more horsepower but not a lot of brake so you really have to drive these things.“
Late Model Stock racing has often been criticized for being lackluster because of the lack of power and the car’s reliance of momentum. But now those claims may be a thing of the past.
“It’s definitely not momentum racing anymore,” said race winner Sellers. “It is back in the drivers’ hands. I
The Late Model Stocks were slidin' around all day.
can save tires for 20 laps and run hard for 20 laps. That is what racing is all about and that is what the Cup guys do every single weekend and if you are going to move up you have to be good at it.
“Late Model racing used to kind of remind me of restrictor-plate racing. What you had at the beginning was what you had and it wasn’t going to change or fade. Now you can wear your car out and it can fade.
“It’s easy to get in the corner now too hard and get in the gas too quick but now it’s completely in your hands. You can run 150 smart laps or 150 flat out and go straight to the back.”
Ford they gain a lot more than a Chevrolet,” says Deiny. “I don’t really think that his car was good today, I think he was off. The motor was what got him where he was (up-in the high groove) and if they would equal us out in motor I don’t think he would be able to get up there like that.
“It was a good battle for the fans. I’m not faulting him (Woody) on that but he’s got the advantage because he is in the Dodge. If NASCAR doesn’t do something I will go and buy a Dodge too.”
“I never really drove a Dodge with a 350 on it so I can’t really tell a difference there,” said Howard who was running his first race in the #99. “I’ve got a ton of motor now though. I think I’ve got as good a racecar as anybody has.
“The carburetor is a pretty big difference and will be especially when it gets hot and slick. It was a lot more power and everything and I really liked it. I think the fans and going to like the new deal.”
Deiny was very happy with the new carburetor, but was quick to point out that the new piece may work to the advantages of the Dodge and Ford powerplants.
Deiny had to fight off one of those fast Dodge’s during the Spring Shootout. Woody Howard had the famed #99 Dean Motorsports Dodge hooked up on the top-side of the race track and looked as if he was the one of the fastest cars before mechanical woes knocked him out of the race.
“Woody has about 50-horsepower on us with that Dodge and anytime you open up a carburetor on a Dodge or a
Woody Howard (#99) used his power to go to the top-side of the track while battling Frank Deiny, Jr.
Peyton Sellers believes the increase in power may have caused some of the early race wrecks at the Spring Shootout.
Like it or not, the new carburetors are here to stay and the Late Model Stock brand of racing may be getting a facelift because of it. But for the drivers it will take a little getting used to.
“This was the first race for most of us and with the weather being bad nobody got to really test it,” explains Deiny. “I think it was pretty intense today but I think it was because their were so many unknowns. The drivers out there today, all we were doing was wheelin’ it. “
“It looked like we had a lot of hard crashes back there at the beginning of the race and I think that was because of the power,” says Sellers. “You give some guys a little bit
more and they go completely ballistic and they don’t know what to do with it. The guys up front, we are good racers and we took it easy at first. We just needed to take it easy and see what they were going to do.”
“Today was a shot in the dark,” said Deiny, “and whom ever guessed right today, won. Peyton Sellers guessed right and he won. “
Although the stats will say Peyton Sellers ran away with the Spring Shootout, the fans that bought tickets at South Boston knew they saw something completely different. They may not have been able to see it, but that is because it was hidden under the hood.