Trio of Nelson Motorsports’ Drivers Should Have Impact On VSCU 300

 A year ago Timothy Peters was on the sidelines for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, Bobby McCarty was pressed into duty at the last minute to replace him and Brandon Pierce was just hoping for a shot to make the race.

Things have changed a bit for the trio of Nelson Motorsports’ drivers headed into Saturday night’s running of the VSCU 300 at Martinsville Speedway, the first race to be held under the historic track’s new LED lighting system. McCarty and Peters should be considered front-runners for the race and Pierce was among the top 25 fastest out of over 85 cars testing at Martinsville last week.

The three teams came away from that open test at Martinsville confident, but aware there was still work to do before the biggest NASCAR Late Model Stock race of the season.

“I think the test went well for all of us,” said Peters, Nelson Motorsports’ lead driver and the team’s general manager. “We all showed good speed. I feel like there is room for improvement. If we can all get just a little better, we’re going to be in good shape.”

Peters is always a favorite at Martinsville, regardless of the series. He has won this race before and has a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Martinsville.

“My car was as good as anyone (during the test) on initial speed,” said Peters, who won this race in 2005. “I just need the longer-run speed. That’s what we’ve been working on.”

It was Peters’ absence a year ago that vaulted McCarty into the spotlight. He had a truck series obligation and had to withdraw from the race. McCarty was a surprise, last-minute pick as a replacement. He proved it was a wise choice, winning his heat race and leading laps before being sidelined by a mechanical problem.

“It was Friday of race week last year when I learned I was going to be in the (Nelson Motorsports) car,” said McCarty, referring to last year’s VSCU 300. “The best way to put it is it was a dream come true.”

The dream became a full dose of reality in 2017. He ran a full season in a Nelson Motorsports entry at South Boston Speedway this season, winning four times and finishing second in points. He also scored a huge win in the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway, which put him atop the leaderboard for the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, which will also be decided in Saturday’s VSCU 300.

He had a strong test session last week, was clocked among fastest two or three drivers and emerged as a solid favorite for Saturday.

“We were pretty quick (in the test), but I would like to have been a little quicker,” said McCarty. “I feel certain we were in the top five and I’m pretty happy with that.”

This is just Pierce’s second season in a full-bodied stock car and it has been a season of improvements. Although he didn’t win at South Boston this summer, he consistently raced in the top five and finished fifth in points.

This will be Pierce’s second shot at making the VSCU 300. He got taken out in a sixth lap wreck in a heat race last year and didn’t advance to the feature. He came out of last week’s test feeling good about his odds this weekend.

“If I had to assess the test … it was only my second time there and I set my expectations higher than I should … I’d say the day went above average,” said Pierce. “I’d like to be a little faster. If we find a little speed we’ll be good. I hope to make the race, then have an uneventful first 100 laps, and start to get after it after the break.”

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will kick off with four 25-lap qualifying races beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday. The 200-lap main event will begin at 8 p.m. The race will be carried live on radio by the Motor Racing Network.

Relevant Public Relations/Mike Smith

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