It was at South Boston Speedway where Trey Crews’s father bought him his first go kart.
Crews grew up going to the track watching his cousin race late models, and the southern Virginia track in his hometown is where he fell in love with the sport.
Crews spent eight years moving up the ranks at South Boston, a 0.4-mile banked asphalt oval in South Boston, Virginia. He started in 2010 in a pure stock car, and won a track championship in the division in 2012. After taking a year off, Crews returned in 2014 in the limited late model division, where he won two more track championships in 2015 and 2018.
Now, Crews has reached the top level of racing at South Boston, and he’s making a splash early. He picked up his first NASCAR Whelen late model victory last weekend to go along with two other third place finishes. Crews is currently ranked No. 28 nationally in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings.
“It feels amazing just to win a late model race,” Crews said. “Just to work my way up… to win against the stiff competition at South Boston, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Crews’s cousin, Bruce Anderson, is a late model veteran at South Boston, and helped Crews get started in the sport.
“I used to always go watch him run,” Crews said. “I love just being at the race track and I always like going fast, on four-wheelers or anything I can drive. Just watching him go around the track and racing, he definitely had a big part in my racing career and got me started. I bought my first go kart actually at the race track, a guy sold my dad my first go kart the night we were there actually watching. It’s kind of special that it all started at South Boston and that’s where I’m racing at today. It’s awesome.”
Crews has had the talent to succeed on the track in any division, but he said financial issues were what held him back from moving into a late model full time. This season, he’s got a host of sponsors – Steve Stallings with Stallings Collision Center, Elite Recycling, Tanner Race Engines, Owen Farms, Mincey’s Graphics, Team Industrial, Red Ball Oxygen and BST Shocks – making it more possible. He’s also received help from his dad, H.E. Crews; crew chief, Luke Covington; and mentor, Marcus Richmond.
Crews also has found that he’s able to learn a lot from the deep field of late model veterans at South Boston, which sports several former national champions among its weekly field.
“I learn from them every race,’ Crews said. “And I’ve watched them for years working my way up too to be able to compete with them. So I’ve learned a lot from so many different people. We’re just a smaller budget team and everything.
“It has to all work out for me to be over there to race and I think a lot of people respect the hard work that is put into that and everybody helps me out and gave me advice and I use everything to my advantage to put in for me being better. I try to take in all I can.”
The 24-year-old still feels like an underdog in a crowded field, but he’s learned to use that to his advantage.
“The competition, there’s national champions over there and people that actually do this for a living with full-time employees,” he said. “We’re a smaller team, we do everything we can to make it to the race track. We work on it at night time after we get off our day jobs. We don’t have much test sessions, we don’t get to go test a lot during the week because most of us are working. But to compare to the competition and outrun the people who are actually doing it for a living and have got so much experience, I think it just shows how strong our team is and how well we work together and that we can compete with them. I think we’re going to be there every race and hopefully be there looking for a win every race. I think it’s going to all work out hopefully.”
While some people may shy away when it comes to running with some of the biggest names in the sport, it’s the competition that drives Crews, and part of why he loves getting in the car every week – battling hard, beating and banging against his friends on the track.
Because no matter who he’s running against, they’re all just friends chasing the same goals.
“I just love the competitiveness of the sport,” he said. “You can fight somebody for the win… and at the end of the day it’s all friendships. Everybody gets along in the pits. The good spirits in the pits and how everybody gets along together, and just the great friendships that are made along the way I think is the reason I love the sport so much. The partnerships, sponsors, it’s a lot of good people that love this sport. It’s just nice to be able to meet a handful of them along the way.”
Crews said he can see where his team has continued to improve every week. The plan next is to run for the Virginia Triple Crown, starting at South Boston for the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort 200, and moving Langley Speedway for the Hampton Heat 200 in July, and finally the Valley Star Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway in September.
The plan is to run a few more races at South Boston and travel around more this year, and then maybe try to run for a championship somewhere next year.
No matter where he’s racing though, Crews will always appreciate just getting to be behind the wheel.
“I enjoy racing. I love it. It’s in my blood,” he said. “Any kind of racing, any kind I love it. Just to be able to run late models is kind of a blessing to me because I don’t have really a big name or a big money team to afford it because it’s an expensive sport. So I’m just very fortunate and lucky to be able to do it.”
Racing will return to South Boston Speedway on June 1 with late models, limited late models, pure stock and hornets.