2023 season marked a number of firsts at South Boston

Published 4:38 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

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Carter Langley entered the 2023 season at South Boston Speedway with modest goals. When the season ended Langley had far exceeded his initial goals, earning eight wins and winning the Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division championship in what was one of the closest championship points battles in the track’s history.

“I was just looking for one win at the beginning of the year,” Langley pointed out, “and to come out with eight wins and the track championship is remarkable. We are very fortunate to have had the year we had. This year has gone way past my expectations.”

The 2023 season was a season of significant firsts for the 18-year-old Zebulon, North Carolina resident. Not only did he win his first career Late Model Stock Car Division track championship, Langley won his first career Late Model Stock Car Division race in the first race of the track’s season-opening twin-race event. He followed it up later that day by winning the second race to complete a sweep of the opening event.

The young racer won three of the track’s first four races and four of the track’s first six races, vaulting him into an intense season-long battle with two-time NASCAR national champion and six-time South Boston Speedway champion Peyton Sellers.

In what was a “win and you’re the champion” situation for both drivers entering the season’s final race, Langley won the race and Sellers finished third, giving Langley the championship by a narrow six-point margin, making him one of the youngest champions in the track’s history.

“There were a lot of ups and downs for both Peyton and I,” Langley noted. “Honestly, nobody knew who was going to come out on top the whole year. We were back-and-forth all season. We were tit-for-tat just about every race. He had his “off” races and I had my “off” races, and it just came down to one night who could have the best car.”

At one point during his team’s celebration in Victory Lane after the season’s final race the emotions of the enormity of Langley’s accomplishment overtook him and tears filled the young driver’s face.

“I don’t know whether it was tears of joy, or what it was, or if I was crying because everybody else was crying,” Langley remarked. “It was just a lot all at once, and I’m so thankful to be able to be a champion at South Boston Speedway with all of the great drivers that have been champions and won races there. This means a lot to me and our entire team.”

Langley never wavered under the pressure of the championship battle. His ability to not let the pressure of the intense championship chase overwhelm him during the season rested in his philosophy to have fun going to the racetrack.

“Every time I have ever points raced in my life it always went bad when I thought I had a championship almost won,” he explained. “As long as you’re at the track and having fun with your family it is always going to go how it goes in the end. If it turns out your way it does, and if not, as long as you’re having fun at the racetrack with your family it’s always a good time. I’m just glad things worked out the way they did.”

The 2023 season was a breakout season for Langley. Having less experience at South Boston Speedway than a number of the drivers he competed against, Langley racked up a division-high eight wins, two poles, 15 Top-5 finishes and finished outside of the top 10 only once in his 19 starts. He also led a total of 277 laps during the season, the second-highest total in the division.

Langley credits his success to the great work of his crew chief, Josh Yeoman, the chemistry of the team as a whole and the support of family and friends who help on the car.

“I couldn’t have done it without Josh Yeoman and everything he has done for me,” Langley said. “He’s unbelievable.”