After reviewing the major races over the summer, Layne Riggs has been announced as the NASCAR Weekly Series National Champion by four points on Peyton Sellers.
When metaphorical dust settled on a pair of dual features at Motor Mile Speedway and Dominion Raceway on Friday and Saturday nights, it looked as if the sellers had won via tie-breaker but in a somewhat controversial way.
Sellers swept both races at the Motor Mile but only after switching from his familiar number 26 to the number 0 that normally drives a Sellers Racing Landon Pembelton customer. Riggs withdrew from the second double advantage. As a result, racing is no longer an entire field that counts toward National Championship points.
As a refresher, NASCAR takes the 18 best driver finishes during the second weekend of September but only in Division I races with an entire field designated by 16 or more drivers with a valid NASCAR competition license. This allows drivers from all over the country to drive a variety of cars to compete against each other in the same championship.
The complex nature of the National Points Race has not resulted in a lack of controversial finishes over the years with rival drivers and affiliated tracks sometimes working in tandem to stack the roof with cars to hit an entire field.
Even over the course of the summer, Sellers and Riggs fought numerous tough battles across Virginia, with the sometimes-branded Sellers Racing cars racing hard against the son of Cup series veteran Scott Riggs.
But then again, nothing is out of the ordinary when it comes to gaming craftsmanship associated with the weekly national tournament.
With that in mind, both finalists for this year’s tournament appeared against Dominion as Sellers trailed Riggs by two points but with one additional win. The sellers won the first advantage in the Dominion and pulled his car out of the second advantage, but drove a spare car wanting to keep his base car in the Martinsville 300, which is like hitting a last-gasp knee in a football game since owning a tie-breaker.
However, NASCAR carried out an audit of major races throughout the summer and found cases of unlicensed drivers and what the sanctioning body identified as an insult to the series’ weekly rulebook.
NASCAR did not do that Throw no race results but excluded unlicensed drivers from the results of those races, preventing them from counting as full fields. Specifically, the sellers were told that NASCAR found that limited model competitor J.D. Eversole entered double races at Dominion Raceway on August 27 without a valid license and stripped him of his 10th and 16th places that night.
Sellers said he didn’t know Eversoll, but watched him race occasionally, and thought he shouldn’t have won the National Championship a month after it happened.
“Everything, once you head into that last race, you have to be right,” the sellers told Racing America of the NASCAR review. “I built the whole weekend around this four-point deficit.”
The race at the Motor Mile on Friday was make-up history from last month, and the track called up both championship contenders in hopes of promoting a crucial national championship event before the final points day at Dominion on Saturday.
NASCAR was also disqualified from the results of the second race at Motor Mile Cars owned by Kyle Dudley and Billy Martin on the grounds of artificially inflating the number of cars with no intent to compete – denying the sellers a full win.
To be eligible to enter the second race according to the Motor Mile rulebook, a car must complete at least half of the first race, in which every car entered the event completed on Saturday.
Finally, sellers earned two points over the weekend at Motor Mile and Dominion but ultimately lost four points – and coincidentally the same amount they did by entering the weekend – after the NASCAR audit was completed earlier in the week.
Sellers said they learned of the decision Thursday morning by NASCAR Weekly Series Director Kevin Nyvalainen. The two-time national champion is not sure if there are any appeal options available to him and will assess his options in due course.
“For NASCAR to roll around and take two cars off the results, and another a month after the incident, I was taken aback by it,” the sellers said. “You caught me. The two cars in the Motor Mile ran more than half of the first race by the rules.”
As for switching to #0, the sellers equated it with 23XI Racing, moving Bubba Wallace from 23rd to #45 and winning the race.
“Did we have cars and teammates willing to help us? Sure,” Sellers said. “We worked hard to have this kind of race team and teammates ready to help us. Landon rode my car and he was half a tenth faster than I was. He’s still fifth in it and that’s where we were going to be. We had a teammate who had a faster car that was on ready to help us.
“At the end of the day, NASCAR should get the points right in the last weekend. You have to know the score to know how you plan your weekend. We’ve won 18 races and you can’t take that away from us. We’ve won 12 of the last 15 races. And all. What we can do now is go to Martinsville this weekend and try to get the grandfather clock.”