Last week at Five Flags Speedway, the 2022 Camping World SRX Series began at one of the most prestigious short tracks for late model racing in the country. And in SRX’s second week, the series doubles up on iconic asphalt ovals with a trip to arguably the most famous short track in the entire Southern Virginia racing scene.
The South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Virginia plays host to the second race of the SRX season, giving the stars of SRX an intimate experience with the classic .400-mile speedway in Halifax County. A short and narrow oval, South Boston presents the illusion of a flat track with characteristics that are anything but, as it is banked all the way around. The straightaways are both banked at 10 degrees, while the turns are 12 degrees at each end of the track.
Here’s more on South Boston Speedway and its history, which has seen many drivers in Virginia use the track as a springboard to great success at stock car racing’s highest levels.
South Boston is a stop on the calendar of many stock car touring series, and was once a part of the schedule for all three of NASCAR’s national divisions. The Cup Series raced at South Boston 10 times between 1960 and 1971, the Xfinity Series raced there annually from 1982 to 2000, and the Truck Series ran three races between 2001 and 2003.
More recently, South Boston has played host to series like the ARCA Menards Series East, the NASCAR Modified Series, X-1R Pro Cup, and the CARS Tour — the latter of which uses the track to host its end-of-season championship races.
South Boston was also the site of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown for two years in 2014 and 2015. The all-star late model race, which featured many names from both NASCAR and big-time short track racing, was won by Matt Bowling in 2014 and Timothy Peters in 2015.
The list of drivers that South Boston has produced through the years is expansive to the point of being overwhelming. While local racing legend David Blakenship holds the all-time record for track championships with seven, many others have used South Boston as a stepping stone on their way to the very greatest of heights in NASCAR.
Legendary Modified racer Ray Hendrick won five track championships, and several others were won by drivers like NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram, Hall of Fame nominee Sam Ard, and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine. Many drivers that South Boston has produced are from the Southern Virginia area: A pair of brothers, Jeff and Ward Burton and Hermie and Elliott Sadler, raced here on their way to NASCAR success in the 1990s. So too did a young Denny Hamlin.
Among the many other notable names to have raced and won at South Boston through the years include Sonny Hutchins, Jimmy Hensley, Lennie Pond, Stacy Compton, Timothy Peters, Drew Herring, and Lee Pulliam.
One of the greatest drivers in South Boston history will be in the SRX field this weekend, as Danville, Virginia’s Peyton Sellers will represent the track as this week’s local all-star. Sellers is a six-time track champion at South Boston Speedway, and he also won the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship in 2005 and 2021.
Sellers built his legacy as a South Boston champion while trying to break into the national racing scene beyond it. Sellers made 28 career starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 2006 to 2015, eight Truck Series starts from 2007 to 2014, and also won twice in NASCAR’s regional East and West touring series. He has also raced in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Did you know?
When the NASCAR Cup Series made its final visit to South Boston in 1971, the race ended up being the first career victory for a young Benny Parsons. Parsons went on to win the 1973 Cup Series championship and the 1975 Daytona 500, ending his career with 21 victories before becoming a popular broadcaster. Parsons was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2017.