Veteran Willis, Youthful Crews Battle for South Boston Limited Crown
SOUTH BOSTON, VA - It is an age-old showdown. Seasoned veteran versus young upstart. Champion versus challenger. Danny Willis has been at the top of the Limited Sportsman Division at South Boston Speedway for more than five years. Trey Crews wants his turn out front. And with just two races to go on the schedule it should be quite the battle between the 39-year-old Willis and the 20-year-old Crews. Willis, the two-time defending Limited champion, has just a 10-point lead over Crews going into Saturday night’s 100-lapper, part of the Bojangles Presents Dr. & Mrs. Maresca of St. Lawrence Radiology and Thunder Road Harley Davidson NASCAR Late Model 200 night. “We have to outrun him in one of them (two remaining races) and hopefully we’ll do it in both,” said Willis, who has three championships in the past four years. “My focus is winning the next two (races),” said Crews. “If we win those, the points will fall into place.” Willis has five wins this season; Crews has three. The duo has dominated the division this year, finishing one-two in almost every race. As close as it has been between the two, Willis had a solid point lead going into the last race date. He came into the night with a 29-point lead, won the first race, but then lost an engine in the second and finished ninth while Crews won. Suddenly that 29-point lead had shrunk to 10. “It will make me try harder to win these last two races,” Crews said of the tight point race. “And with the backing and support I have, we can do it.” Willis has been racing at South Boston since 1999 while this is just Crews’ second full season. After a brief stint in Late Models, to begin his career and a two-year retirement, Willis un-retired in 2006 with his first full season in the Limited Sportsman Division. He won the championship in 2011, was second a year later and followed with back-to-back titles. “Every year I say we’re not going to chase points, then we get the (point) lead early. Then I say we got to fight for it,” Willis said. Crews finished third in the 2014 point standings, his first full season at South Boston. He expected improvement this year, but the results have been surprising even to him. “In the offseason I thought we would have a better season than last but I never thought we would be this close to Willis,” said Crews. In addition to the 100-lap Limited Sportsman race, there will be a 200-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race, a 50-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race, a 15-lap Budweiser Hornets race and a 20-lap Champ Kart event. The night will be capped with a spectacular fireworks display. Grandstand gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, qualifying will begin at 4:45 p.m. and a fan appreciation event will be held trackside following qualifying. The first of the night’s five races will get the green flag at 7 p.m. Advance adult general admission tickets are $15 each and may be purchased at the speedway office until 5 p.m. on Friday. Adult admission on race day is $20, with admission for youth ages 7-12 $10. Kids six-and-under are admitted free with a paying adult.