Layne looks to make another championship run
Published 2:05 pm Friday, May 5, 2023
By Joe Chandler
South Boston Speedway
It has been six years since two-time South Boston Speedway Pure Stock Division champion Johnny Layne won his last championship. There is no doubt he would love to add another title to his record.
“They seem like a long time ago,” Layne said of his previous two championships. “They were in 2016 and 2017. That’s forever ago. A third one would be nice, but my main thing is to stay consistent and win as many races as possible. A championship will come after that.”
Layne came very close to earning the elusive third Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division championship last season, losing the division title chase to Scott Phillips by a slim six-point margin.
While Layne’s 2022 title effort came up short, he still had a very successful season with four wins, six pole wins, eight top-five finishes and 10 Top-10 finishes in his 12 starts. A touch of bad luck was the difference-maker for him.
“There were two races in which we had minor things happen that cost us a chance at winning a race,” Layne pointed out. “I was leading the race both times. A fuse blew in one race, and the throttle popped off in another one. If it hadn’t been for that, we could have won the championship.”
BUILDING A SOLID RECORD
Layne has compiled a solid record over his last three seasons of competing in the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division at South Boston Speedway. During that span Layne has recorded six wins, 20 top-five finishes and 25 Top-10 finishes in a total of 26 starts.
The Halifax resident has gotten his 2023 season off to a good start, winning the season-opener, the only race for the division thus far this season. A great deal of racing remains before the 2023 season ends and Layne notes that winning the division title will be a difficult task.
“Winning a championship is a lot more difficult than people understand,” Layne explained. “We’re trying to get our cars faster. We’ve never stopped working on it. Daddy has been working on the car almost non-stop since the end of last season. We’re going to keep trying things until we find something.”
Then, there is the important factor of sponsorship. Despite an excellent record and being a proven winner, sponsorship has been difficult to obtain this season.
“Sponsorship is a big deal,” Layne said. “It’s not looking good for this year. If anybody wants to put their business out there, this car is available.”
The level of the competition in the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division is deeper this season, another factor that enters into the championship equation.
“The competition gets tougher every year,” Layne noted. “Some of the new guys that were here racing last year were just starting, and, of course, they learned a lot and are bringing it to the table. B.J. and Zach Reaves are going to be up front this year. Scott (Phillips) will be trying to defend his title. There should be a group of four or five us running right up there together.
A BUSY DAY ON SATURDAY
Layne and his fellow Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division competitors will compete in a 25-lap race that will be part of the six-race God’s Pit Crew Night Race event set for 7 p.m. on Saturday night, May 6, at South Boston Speedway.
The God’s Pit Crew Night Race event is part of what will be a busy day on Saturday at South Boston Speedway. The Danville-based God’s Pit Crew organization will host its first-ever food box distribution in Halifax County on Saturday morning, May 6, at South Boston Speedway from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. or until there are no food boxes left.
The God’s Pit Crew food box distribution is being held in partnership with South Boston Speedway as part of the God’s Pit Crew Night Race.
God’s Pit Crew is preparing to serve over 1,000 families with a food box. One food box will be given per family. No more than two food boxes given per vehicle, and in those cases both families have to be represented.
Each food box will be filled with healthy staple food items. In addition to a food box, families will receive a case of beverage. Persons in need of a food box can come to South Boston Speedway Saturday morning, May 6, and receive one.
The God’s Pit Crew Night Race event will include six races with twin 75-lap races for the Sentara Healthcare Late Model Stock Car Division competitors highlighting the night’s action. A 50-lap race for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 25-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division, a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division and a 20-lap race for the Mills Family Practice Champ Karts are also set for Saturday night’s event.
HOW TO ATTEND
Advance tickets purchased for the rained-out April 22 event will be honored for the Saturday, May 6 God’s Pit Crew Night Race event.
Registration and pit gates will open at 2 p.m. Frontstretch spectator gates will open at 3:20 p.m. and practice starts at 3:30 p.m. Backstretch spectator and tailgate section gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7 p.m.
Advance adult general admission tickets for the May 6 God’s Pit Crew Night Race event are priced at $12 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeedway.com, or by calling the speedway office at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.
Tickets at the gate on race day will be $15 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $12 each at the gate on race day.