Setzer Returns To His Roots; Wins Bailey’s 300 Late Model Stock Event  by Jason Buckley
Veteran Racer Picks Up Martinsville Speedway Top Honors
Spending the last 10 years racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Dennis Setzer hasn’t forgotten his roots of short-track racing.  On occasion, Setzer pokes down into the Late Model Stock Car ranks to have fun and race with his old buddies as well as the new young talent coming up through the ranks of racing. 

Sunday, Setzer not only made his presence known, but went on to win the most prestigious event for Late Model Stock Cars, the Bailey’s 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA).
“This is the toughest racing in the nation right here,” said Setzer.  “This stuff here, the Hooters Pro Cup; different races like that as far as short track racing is still the funnest and best racing.  I enjoy coming back.  These guys are class acts.  Jamey Caudill; I have raced against him a lot of years and there isn’t a better racer on the track.  I really enjoy racing those guys.”

Setzer’s weekend started off with qualifying on Saturday, where he timed in seventh fastest out of over 100 Late Model Stock cars trying to get into the 42-car field.  The top 22 in qualifying automatically transferred into the feature event, which boded well for Setzer as the four heat races were filled with cautions and wrecked race cars.

Once the carnage was over in the heat races, Setzer and the feature field took the green flag to start to madness all over again.  He was able to keep his car up in the top five for the first half of the race while behind him drivers knocked each other around on the track, putting the caution out 10 times in the first half of the race.
At the halfway break, Setzer sat third behind Phillip Morris and Davin Scites, who both took turns leading during the first half of the event.  The top six were inverted for the start of the second half, placing Setzer in the fourth position. 

“We were kind of playing the game right there as far as being put in the right position,” explained Setzer.  “We were a little farther forward than we wanted to be right there at our turnaround break, so I had to pass three or four cars.  We hoped to be in the fifth or sixth range and didn’t make that happen.  It worked out ok for us.  These guys are great strategist.  Charlie Long and Robert Long watched these races unfold for many years.  I haven’t been here that much, so I depend on those guys a lot more than you would ever realize on this race.”
Dennis Setzer celebrated the win with his crew.  (51 Photo)
Jamey Caudill showed his strength throughout the race, but didn't have enough to pass Setzer.  (51 Photo)
“This is the toughest racing in the nation right here,” said Setzer.  “This stuff here, the Hooters Pro Cup; different races like that as far as short track racing is still the funnest and best racing.  I enjoy coming back.  These guys are class acts.  Jamey Caudill; I have raced against him a lot of years and there isn’t a better racer on the track.  I really enjoy racing those guys.”

Setzer’s weekend started off with qualifying on Saturday, where he timed in seventh fastest out of over 100 Late Model Stock cars trying to get into the 42-car field.  The top 22 in qualifying automatically transferred into the feature event, which boded well for Setzer as the four heat races were filled with cautions and wrecked race cars.

Once the carnage was over in the heat races, Setzer and the feature field took the green flag to start to madness all over again.  He was able to keep his car up in the top five for the first half of the race while behind him drivers knocked each other around on the track, putting the caution out 10 times in the first half of the race.
The inversion put Caudill in the second spot and he got the jump to the lead early until Setzer worked his way to his bumper and drove on by.

“We had a good car,” said Caudill.  “We just bided our time the first half.  The inversion helped us out.  We were able to get up front during the second half.  It didn’t take long for Dennis to come up there and drive by us.  I knew when he came by there our only hope was for his stuff to fade there at the end.  It didn’t.  We just got beat.  We had a good race car though.  If I could sign a contract to have my car race another day like it did today I would sign it.  We were just off a little bit and they were dialed in and good.”

With just 10 laps remaining in the race, the series threw a yellow flag to move all the lapped cars to the rear and have a dash to the checkered flag.  This was Caudill’s only shot at the win, but just didn’t have enough to get by Setzer without causing a wreck.

“I tried it with 10 to go,” said Caudill.  “They had a caution there about 3 laps after the 10 to go.  I drove it in there with everything I had to get to him.  I almost got to him, but other than driving it down there and cleaning his clock out there I had nothing for him.  If I could have got under him and moved him I would, but I just didn’t quite have enough.


“These cars are just so equal.  It is hard to pass when you get nose to tail.  When you come here you have to be on top of your game and get the most you can.  You have to stay within the lines though also.”

In front of him, Setzer drove on to take the checkered flag first.  While he made the victory look easy, he was still complimentary of his competition.

“It is just that hard to win,” said Setzer.  “This is the best of the best all over the Southeast right here.  If you come here and run competitively with these guys you have really had your work cut out.  I was very fortunate to be able to get into a great car like Charlie and Robert Long had for me here.  I was very fortunate with that.  I have been here a few years and haven’t done it in their car and finally to get one for them, I am very happy.”
Davin Scites sat on the pole position.  (51 Photo)
Behind the top two, Davin Scites drove his pole-winning car to a third-place finish.  He was happy with his finish, but wanted more green-flag racing to get a few more spots at the end of the race.

“We led laps in the first half, and it didn’t seem as bad as the second half,” said Scites.  “Our car needed long runs, but the second half of the race had one caution after another.  As soon as we ran someone down a caution would come out.  Our car wasn’t good on the short runs.  That is something we have taken notes on and will come back next year with.

“This weekend was awesome.  The car is in one piece, so we can take it and race somewhere else.”

Scites wasn’t the only driver happy with his finish.  A young Matt DiBennedetto made it into his first Bailey’s 300 event and just looked to have a decent day.  His fourth-place finish had him close to speechless at the end of the race.
Matt DiBenedetto might be a young pup, but showed veteran skills Sunday.  (51 Photo)
“That was awesome,” said DiBennedetto.  “It was better than I expected to do coming into the big Martinsville race.  I was just hoping to make it and that was about it. 

“The car was pretty good.  For some reason in the second half the car tightened up a little bit, so the short runs helped me out.  We would fall back in the long runs, but we had those cautions there at the end and I was quite a bit faster.  It was really good.  It was awesome.”

For Setzer, the victory came at the right time.  His Truck Series season has been plagued with poor finishes since his win in May at Mansfield (OH).

After the win, the only thing Setzer wasn’t sure of was what he was going to do with the Grandfather Clock trophy, which is given to the winners of races at Martinsville Speedway.
“I don’t know,” said Setzer.  “I will probably let these boys take it home for a little bit and show it around down there at the race shop.  I have had one in my house for a lot of years. I might stick that one in my dad’s house and let him look at it a little bit.”