Jared Fryar raced his way into the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 despite the hood on his car coming loose during his heat race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. (Adam Fenwick Photo)
Jared Fryar raced his way into the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 despite the hood on his car coming loose during his heat race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. (Adam Fenwick Photo)

MARTINSVILLE NOTES: Hard Charger Jared Fryar

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jared Fryar went on an adventure during Saturday’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

The defending CARS Late Model Stock Tour champion had to race his way into the 200-lap feature via one of four 25-lap heat races. He was in position to do that when with five laps to go the hood pins on his No. 14 car came loose.

His hood promptly flung open, blocking the vision of the 27-year-old grandson of short-track legend Freddy Fryar as he battled to race his way into the most prestigious late model stock car race in the country.

Somehow Fryar finished eighth and locked himself into the big show. The bad news was he had to start 31st in the 40-car field, meaning he had to pass 30 cars if he was going to win.

He came up short, but passed a whopping 26 cars to finish fifth and earn the Hard Charger Award that paid an extra $1,000. 

• During pre-race introductions there were two crowd reactions that stood out from the rest. 

Mike Looney, the 2016 race winner who would later finish second to Landon Pembelton, got the biggest positive reaction as fans cheered the lovable 43-year-old Virginia native as he crossed the stage.  

The biggest crowd reaction of all went to Peyton Sellers, the recently crowned NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National champion. Sellers received a loud but mixed reaction of cheers and boos as he crossed the stage. 

• If there was a hard luck award during the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, it should have gone to Trent Barnes. He only made it six laps before the engine in his late model went up in flames as he entered turn three to bring out the first caution flag of the race.

To make matters worse, as he tried to escape his smoldering car, it began to roll backward toward the turn-three wall. He visibly had to stop and put the car in gear to keep it from rolling before escaping. 

• Despite falling short of winning the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 for the first time, sixth-place finisher Bobby McCarty left Martinsville Speedway with a respectable paycheck.

In addition to his race earnings, which totaled $2,000, he also departed Martinsville with a few bonus checks. The first came for being the leader at the end of the first 75-lap stage of the race, which paid an extra $1,000. He also earned $25 for each lap he led during the race, which unofficially totaled $1,875.

Lastly, he also secured the championship in the Virginia Triple Crown, which is a mini championship consisting of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway. That was worth $7,000.

So despite not leaving Martinsville with a Grandfather clock, McCarty still took home approximately $11,875 for his effort.

• While 40 drivers started the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, more than 30 failed to make the show and were sent packing after failing to advance via the heat races.

Among them was Philip Morris, the five-time NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national champion who was competing in his first event since 2019. Also failing to qualify was the lone JR Motorsports representative in the field, Connor Jones. 

Others who failed to qualify included NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Tate Fogleman, Rev Racing driver Rajah Caruth, two-time Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Ryan Millington, 2003 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner Jamey Caudill and Florence Motor Speedway IceBreaker winner Chad McCumbee. 

• Speaking of Morris, when talking to him about his return to racing he jokingly said, “I basically traded a John Deere for a race car for the weekend. Not a bad trade, right?”

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