Courtesy Jeremy Davidson, NASCAR Public Relations
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2005) – At age 21, Peyton Sellers has achieved a major milestone in his auto racing career by winning one of NASCAR’s most prestigious annual titles. Sellers, of Danville, Va., won the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship after a winning season in Late Model Stock Cars at South Boston (Va.) Speedway and other area tracks.
Sellers claimed the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division I championship by recording the highest point total, based on his best 16 finishes of the year, in Division I. For this honor, Sellers will receive a $25,000 bonus from NASCAR and Dodge. Sellers’ point total (1,114) was also the highest among the four NDWS divisional champions, giving him the national crown and an additional $50,000 award – for a total of $75,000 in post-season prize money.
Sellers will be honored at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, scheduled for Nov. 5 in Nashville. The gala event, one of NASCAR’s largest post-season functions, will be a triumphant return to Nashville for Sellers. His father, Bert Sellers, was a crew member for 1988 NASCAR Busch Series champion Tommy Ellis, who was honored in a similar affair in Nashville. Then-five-year-old Sellers attended the event and now, 17 years later, he takes center stage.
“At an early age, when I started racing go karts, I remember going to Nashville,” Sellers said. “To come back as a champion feels pretty good.
“Really, this was a breakout season for us. We won one 200-lapper last year. We got to the point where we could be a good top-five contender every week, everywhere we went. For whatever reason – my experience level, my ability to work with my crew chief, H.C., who is my brother – we just couldn’t put a lot of wins on the board.”
Sellers’ family-run team stuck with their program in 2005 and scored big under NASCAR’s new points format.
“This year, we’ve had the same equipment and the same sponsors have stuck with us,” Sellers said. “Now, we’re able to give them a little bit more. The chemistry that’s there is a little better and things have been going smoother this year.”
Overall, Sellers recorded 15 wins and 20 top-five finishes in 28 races this season – including 12 wins at his home track in South Boston. His best 16 finishes netted him 1,114 points towards the Division I and national titles.
Sellers is the youngest national champion in series history, surpassing the age mark set by then-23-year-old Robert Powell in 1988. He is also the second Virginia driver to win the title in the past three years. Mark McFarland, a native of Winchester, Va. who is scheduled to race full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2006, was the Commonwealth’s first national champion in 2003.
The talented young star began his driving career at the age of seven, in go karts. By age 13, Sellers was racing in open wheel mini sprints and he moved up to Super Stocks, at South Boston, at age 15. By 2004, at the age of 20, Sellers had advanced to Late Model Stock Cars and had also made his debut in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) RE/MAX Series. Sellers finished fifth in the track championship point standings at South Boston in 2004.
This season, under NASCAR’s re-vamped format for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, Sellers was able to branch out and compete at other tracks in Division I. Drivers could collect points towards their divisional title by racing at other tracks in their Division. Sellers’ occasional trips to Motor Mile Speedway, in Radford, Va., and Caraway Speedway, in Asheboro, N.C., helped him pad his points lead and win the title.
In addition to his racing career, Sellers graduated from Danville Community College in 2004 and currently attends Averett University in Danville, where he studies business management. Sellers also works as a heavy equipment operator for his family’s business, Sellers Brothers Inc., and is an active member of the Ringgold Baptist Church.
Final NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division I Leaders:
1. Peyton Sellers, South Boston Speedway (South Boston, Va.), 1,114 pts.
2. Tim Karrick, Linn County Speedway (Pleasanton, Kan.), 1,092
3. Nick Parker, Rocky Mountain Raceways (West Valley City, Utah), 1,064
4. Tom Charles, Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, Kan.), 1,058
5. Philip Morris, Motor Mile Speedway (Radford, Va.),1,056
6. Tommy Cherry, Langley Speedway (Hampton, Va.), 1,052
7. Duane Howard, Big Diamond Raceway (Minersville, Pa.), 1,012
8. Tim Brown, Bowman Gray Stadium (Winston-Salem, N.C.), 944
9. Travis Swaim, Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.), 936
10. Clay Dale, Lanier National Speedway (Braselton, Ga.), 914
11. Robert Turner, Ace Speedway (Altamahaw, N.C.), 902
12. Shane Harding, Evergreen Speedway (Monroe, Wash.), 870
13. Blair Addis, Greenville-Pickens Speedway (Greenville, S.C.), 818
14. Bobby Babb Jr., Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (Scarborough, Maine), 794
15. Ricky Bilderback, Rockford Speedway (Rockford, Ill.), 788
16. Steve Whitener, JAX Raceways (Jacksonville, Fla.), 200