MARTINSVILLE, Va. – In one of the most unpredictable night’s in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock history, C.E Falk claimed the checkered flag in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway in a controversial third overtime finish.
A pile-up in Turn 1 on the third and final overtime restart, brought the 216-lap race to its finish. race officials needed to review scoring to determine a winner between the top-two finishers, C.E Falk and Corey Heim. At the end of the night, officials declared the Virginia native Falk, the winner of the prestigious race.
For a driver who feels that he has been struck with bad luck throughout his career, Saturday was a night he had long been waiting for.
“We all come here wanting to win it, but we know winning here is like winning the freaking lottery, and we did,” Falk said. “We were up front all night long, and we did it. It takes a lot of hard work, and lots of really caring people, and we all want that thing really, really bad. You only get one shot at that thing. Jimmie Johnson gets two shots at it every year, so maybe it’s a little toned down for the Cup race. But for us Late Model guys, this it, this is the Daytona 500.”
Meanwhile, Corey Heim feels as if he should be the one celebrating a breakthrough win with his team, after being scored in the second position by NASCAR officials. While Heim believed he was the winner of the race, race director Lynn Carroll explained their decision to award the win to Falk post-race, as he was the first car to cross the line during the last green flag lap.
“Once you’re on the third attempt of green-white-checkered, anything besides the green ends the race,” Carroll said. “So when the caution came out, that last lap they crossed the line under green on the restart was the lap of record. So we scored the cars the way they came across that green flag lap.”
A race within the race itself, was the battle between 2018 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Philip Morris and Peyton Sellers for the Virginia Triple Crown. The Triple Crown consists of trips to staples of Virginia racing, including South Boston Speedway, Langley Speedway and culminating at the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway. By finishing fifth, Sellers finished higher than Morris, claiming the Triple Crown trophy for the third time in his career.
“Definitely the triple crown was on my mind the whole time,” Sellers. “If you come to Martinsville, and you get the clock, and you had to beat Philip Morris to do it, I knew if I beat him and got the clock, I’d win the triple crown too. The cards just fell in our favor.”
Finishing behind Falk and Heim, Brandon Pierce, Trevor Ward and Sellers rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 were Justin Carroll, Ty Gibbs, Kres VanDyke, RD Smith and Kevin Neal.