Langley, Donnelly split late model twinbill

Published 6:30 pm Friday, June 9, 2023

By Joe Chandler

South Boston Speedway

The lengthy string of nine wins that Carter Langley and six-time South Boston Speedway champion Peyton Sellers of Danville had achieved between themselves at South Boston Speedway this season was broken in Saturday night’s Bojangles Night Race event, but not before Langley had extended the string one more time.

Langley, of Zebulon, North Carolina, won the first race of the twin 75-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division races that highlighted the Bojangles Night Race event, edging Sellers by just a few feet at the finish line to record his fifth win of the season and extend the string.

Aaron Donnelly of Stafford won the second race, edging Sellers by about a foot as they crossed the finish line, and crashed into the wall in the first turn after taking the checkered flag. The damage to the car was extensive enough that the car had to be towed to victory lane by a wrecker.

“It was a heck of a way to get my first Late Model win,” Donnelly said with a big smile. “I’m glad to finally get a win tonight. We needed this win badly. I was going to do whatever it took.”

Donnelly and Sellers battled each other hard in the closing laps, making contact as they approached and crossed the finish line. Donnelly’s official margin of victory was .088-second.

“Peyton ran me clean,” Donnelly pointed out. “My car started going away the last 15 or 20 laps. He could have jacked me up and probably have wrecked me and won the race. I kind of forced the issue. I wanted to get my first win bad. I’ve been on the other side with him. I was doing my best to not let it happen again tonight.”

Donnelly said coming to the finish line “we didn’t hit too hard. I kind of ran into him and he didn’t run me into the wall. I appreciate him not wrecking me in the last corner.”

DONNELLY TAKES THE BLAME

Donnelly took the blame for the last-lap crash.

“I was so focused on where Peyton was,” he explained. “I looked back up and got too high on the straightaway. I was going too fast and couldn’t get the car back down. I was going to win at all costs.”

Sellers, who has four wins at South Boston Speedway this season, ended the night with a pair of runner-up finishes. He said it wasn’t a bad night.

“It was good racing for the fans,” Sellers remarked. “We came up on the short side of it but it’s all about putting on a show for these fans. We had a good average for the most part. You hate to let them get away from you like that too.”

Sellers noted that Donnelly was good on the high side of the track.

“He was rim-riding the whole night,” Sellers said. “He made a lot of speed. On that last corner, he made way more speed than he had the few laps before. When he sent it off in there, I really thought I could get to him and at least get a nose out ahead of him. At the end of the day, it just didn’t work out. He had a good car.”

Langley took the lead from Sellers with six laps left in the race and then had to fend off Sellers in a three-lap dash to the finish that followed the race’s only caution period to win the first 75-lap race.

He had to settle for an eighth-place finish in the second race due to an issue with his car’s clutch. It was the first time he had not finished in the top three at South Boston Speedway this season.

“Peyton puts up a great fight,” Langley pointed out. “I try to give him a run for his money every week. We had a good car in the first race, and I felt we had a really good car for the second race. I was going down the backstretch at the start of the (second) race and was ready to take green flag and the clutch pedal went to the floor. I couldn’t get the car into gear until we came off of turn three. It put us behind.”

Mike Looney of Catawba finished third behind Langley and Sellers in the first 75-lap race. Trevor Ward of Winston-Salem, North Carolina finished fourth and Thomas Scott of Efland, North Carolina finished fifth.

Looney finished third in the second race as well with Landon Pembelton of Amelia, and G.R. Waldrop rounded out the top five finishers.

The nightcap ran caution free and saw two lead changes between Donnelly and Sellers. Donnelly led all but four laps of the race.