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After Strong Season Start, Matt Waltz has June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 Circled on his Calendar

By Joe Chandler

Director, Public Relations

South Boston Speedway

SOUTH BOSTON, VA…. Matt Waltz opened his season June 1 with a fourth-place finish in the zMAX CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour event at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway. The following week, on June 8, Waltz came away with a solid seventh-place finish against some of the country’s best NASCAR Late Model Stock Car racers in the first race of a twin-race event at South Boston Speedway before being sidelined in a mishap early in the second race.

Waltz, a former NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor and 2017 Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway Late Model Stock Car champion, will compete in his third event of the season when he returns to South Boston Speedway on Saturday night, June 29 to compete against the top drivers from both realms in South Boston Speedway’s showcase event, the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200, the opening race of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown.

“We had some speed, so we’ve definitely got it circled on our schedule and are going to run the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, leading off here at South Boston Speedway,” Waltz said of the 200-lap race that will pay $10,000 to win.

“We’ve got a new racecar, and we’re still trying to get it figured out. We got through last weekend pretty well (with the fourth-place finish at Langley Speedway). We wanted to learn something here that will get us closer so we will be prepared for the big race.”

When Waltz raced in the twin-race event at South Boston Speedway it was the first time he had raced at the .4-mile oval in three years.

“I like South Boston Speedway a lot,” Waltz remarked. “I’ve always seemed to run decent here. We’ve just never really brought our car here enough to race week-after-week to really get a good handle on the track.

“We were pretty good here,” he continued, “but we’ve never been great. We’ve had some good runs here at South Boston Speedway. It’s just we haven’t been able to put it all together. In 2014, I had a good run here in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown (leading 195 of the race’s 200 laps) and ended up losing that one in the last couple of laps. That one stung, and we have had a couple of other races that we were really close.”

One factor that plays into Waltz’ favor is that he likes longer races.

“I like them because they give you a little bit of an opportunity to work on the car to where you might can make it a little better,” Waltz pointed out. “It brings a little more strategy into it, and a little more tire management to where it puts a little more emphasis on the driver.”

As for keys to success in the 200-lap race, Waltz said you need to be there at the end of the race, and you can’t get down on your situation.

“You’ve got to be there at the end of the race to either have the car to win or make something happen,” Waltz pointed out. “You’ve got to be able to put yourself in position and stay in it during the race. You can’t get down if you get a little behind. You’ve got to keep pulling forward. These races are wild, and everybody’s going for the same real estate.

“We’ve got to focus on balance and making sure the car can last,” added Waltz. “If we can do that and I can keep the car under me, then I can be there towards the end.”

Winning the June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway would be a big highlight in Waltz’ racing career.

“It would be the biggest win I’ve ever had,” Waltz said. “I’ve never won a big race. I’ve led a bunch of laps at Martinsville, led a bunch of laps here and in the Hampton Heat, and a couple other big races in the past. We just haven’t been able to win them.

“We’ve been in position, but just haven’t been able to make it happen,” continued Waltz. “It eats me up not being able to come out on top on some of those big races, so we’re going to try to put in a good effort here at South Boston Speedway and hope to be able to capitalize in one of the big races.”

The Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 on June 29 is the premier event of the 2024 season at South Boston Speedway with the 200-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division race that opens the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown that pays $10,000 to win, patriotic pre-race festivities, a driver autograph session and a Fourth of July fireworks show following the last race of the night.

In addition to the 200-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division race, the four-race card will include a 40-lap race for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 20-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division and a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division.

A colorful Fourth of July fireworks show will be held immediately following the final race of the night. Special patriotic festivities will be featured during pre-race ceremonies and a driver autograph session is also scheduled as part of the event’s festivities.

Friday, June 28 will be Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 Practice Day, and fans can watch practice from the track’s frontstretch grandstand area free of charge.

Advance adult general admission tickets are priced at $20 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, 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 $25 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $20 each at the gate on race day.

The June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 event schedule has frontstretch grandstand gates opening at 10:00 p.m. Practice is set from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division qualifying will begin at 4:15 p.m. A driver autograph session will be held from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the first race of the night will get the green flag at 7 p.m.

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