Mark Wertz, who has amassed an incredible 113 race wins in Late Model Stocks overall, is on a quest to knock another item off his bucket list on Saturday, April 2nd as he hopes to capture a win at South Boston Speedway in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series SmartFord-South Boston 234.
Wertz, who hails from Virginia Beach, Virginia, has come very close over the years to pulling off a win at the iconic 0.400-mile oval, but the planets have never aligned properly for the 53-year old to score a victory at SoBo.
“South Boston has been our Achille’s Heal, It’s been rather elusive,” Wertz explained to TobyChristie.com.
Over the last 15 years, Wertz has made occasional starts at the track, and in 2016, he even ran the full season at the short track and finished third in points.
Along the way, Wertz has impressed at the facility, even scoring a third-place finish in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown back in 2015, finishing behind Timothy Peters and William Byron. But one thing is missing — a win.
And he’s been in position for that win, many times before.
“We’ve had a couple of green-white-checkers where we were on the point and couldn’t pull it off. Just got beat coming to the checkered,” Wertz recalled.
This time around, the driver of the No. 55 Keen Parts / Dunkin’ Donuts machine will look to not get into his own head, and will remain focused on sealing the deal.
“I think a lot of it is I get to a point where I’m overthinking things and move too far out of the box, and then put ourselves in a predicament where the car may have speed at certain points of the race, but it doesn’t have the speed at the right point of the race,” Wertz admitted. “Add that to the mega talent at this racetrack and you just have to really be on your game.”
As far as his biggest competition this weekend, Wertz believes Peyton Sellers, Landon Pembelton, Layne Riggs, Austin Thaxton and Parker Eatmon will be the biggest thorns in his side throughout the event.
If Wertz is able to snag the victory, it’ll be the culmination of something he’s tried so hard to accomplish over the last decade and a half.
The veteran racer says he would take the win, “…With gratitude that I’m even still able to be in the sport. Thanking all of our great sponsors that help us get where we are at.”
While he’s not as young as he once was, and the celebration may not end up being as intense as it once would have been, Wertz still feels he’ll be able to pop a cold one and bask in the glory of a South Boston win.
“I’m a little older now, so the big late nights, the hard partying and all of that are kind of over,” Wertz quipped. “But we’ll probably sit back and have a cold beer and relish it, if it happens. It’s just a matter of making it happen. A lot of great cars here.”
Wertz will practice the No. 55 car on Friday, as he attempts to get himself set up for a race-winning weekend. Qualifying will take place Saturday at 12:45 PM ET and the racing action at South Boston will take place at 2:00 PM ET.
If you are unable to attend the race, FloRacing will have live streaming coverage of the race.