MARTINSVILLE, Va. (September 11, 2010) – Justin Johnson has won 11 Late Model Stock car races this season and just wrapped up his second consecutive series championship at South Boston Speedway.
Timothy Peters is one of the hottest drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series these days, fourth in the season-long points standings, winner of two poles this season and captured the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
In the midst of wildly successful seasons, you would think neither should be overly concerned with the two upcoming test sessions for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway. That’s not the case, though.
In fact, it would not be surprising to see both Johnson and Peters at both of the test sessions, the first scheduled for this Wednesday and the second set for Wednesday, September 22.
“The tests are extremely important to all of us,” said the 23-year-old Johnson. “With so many cars there (over 100), we just don’t get a ton of practice time the weekend of the race. You need a good baseline before you get there on race weekend and you get that during the tests.”
Peters, who is taking advantage of an off weekend in the truck series to return to his roots and the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300, should be the last person fretful about testing at Martinsville. He’s got more laps on the tricky half-mile than anyone else in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 field. He won the race in 2005 and on top of that, captured the Kroger 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race last fall.
“Testing is absolutely big for me, especially with adding the second day. A lot of the guys are going to be there both days to get seat time because Martinsville is the biggest race of the year,” said Peters, who will be competing in his first Late Model race of the season. “I’ll be honest … all the laps I have at Martinsville helps, but it’s hard to come back when you haven’t been running these cars all year long.
“Because we only run these cars at Martinsville once a year levels the playing field some, but I really need to get some laps in, to get the feel for the car before we get there for race weekend.”
Each of the next two Wednesdays will be eight hours of grinding for the teams, each one working hard to get every ounce of speed possible out of their cars.
“We have a couple of different shock packages to look at, a couple of different set ups to work on. We’ll switch everything (shocks and springs) out a couple of times during the day,” said Johnson. “We’ll be working to try and get a comfort level and the balance we need to have a good starting point when we get to the track for race weekend.”
Registration for teams will begin at 7 a.m. on both September 15 and September 22 at the main ticket office. Haulers can begin staging the day before each test session.
Cars will be on-track from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day with an hour break at noon each day.
Fans will be admitted free both days. Grandstand gates will open at 9 a.m.
The Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 weekend will begin with practice and time trials on Saturday, October 2. The fastest 22 cars in qualifying will earn starting berths in the main event.
There will be four 25-lap qualifying races to kick the action off on Sunday, October 3, followed by the 200-lap main event.
Tickets for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 are $20 and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com. Children 12 and under are admitted free.