MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Sixteen years. That’s how much time passed between Peyton Sellers’ first NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship in 2005 and his second, which he secured last week.
A lot has changed in 16 years. Sellers went from being a 21-year-old rising star in the stock car racing world to running the family construction business, Sellers Brothers Inc. What hasn’t changed is his passion for racing, and it was on full display this season.
Now 37, Sellers drove to 21 victories at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks in 37 starts. He captured track titles at a pair of Virginia speedplants, — Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Va., and South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Twelve of his victories came at Dominion with nine at South Boston.
He also earned the Southeast Region and Virginia state titles to add to his growing list of accolades.
“I won the first one in 2005 at 21 years old and I was using it as a stepping-stone to try and move up the ladder,” Sellers said. “It propelled my career forward in so many ways and made me a national name in racing. People knew who I was after winning that national title. We were able to go on and do a lot of different things and I made a living doing it for a while.
“Now I run our family construction business and it gets back to what grassroots racing is. It’s a series that NASCAR has created to be able to run on a national platform against drivers all over the country, but still work at 9 to 5 all week and work on your car at night and go race on the weekends.
“We’ve cherished this one just as much as the first one. They’re no easier to come by than they were then.”
While Sellers has never really stopped racing since he won his first championship in 2005, he also hasn’t focused on chasing the national championship in the years since.
He’s had a few strong seasons, including a runner-up result last year in the standings to Josh Berry, but this year everything fell into place for the Danville, Va., native.
“We started earlier this year and said, ‘You know what, let’s race South Boston and Dominion.’ They didn’t conflict much on their scheduling,” Sellers said. “We decided to start early and set up a good continuous pace instead of picking up in August and saying, ‘Oh, we’ve got a shot at a National title,’ and try to give it all we’ve got.
“We were able to start early on and race continuously week after week. We only had two weekends off all summer. So it’s been a busy summer,” Sellers continued. “It’s been a steady grind and we’ve been able to put up numbers early in the year that I think helped propel us at the end of the year and kept people from thinking they had a shot at it. We put up nine or 10 wins before the Fourth of July and that was a big deal for us to be able to do that.”
With the season all but behind him, what does the future hold for Sellers? Right now, he’s not too worried about it. He wants to savor the moment for a little while longer.
“We’re gonna take it one step at a time,” Sellers said. “We’re going to cherish this for the months to come. We’re gonna sit back, we’re going to enjoy it, we’re going to polish the trophy a little bit and come February, we’re going to figure out what we’re going to do.”