SOUTH BOSTON — The 2020 racing season has not been the season Blake Stallings or anybody else envisioned. Stallings, who competes out of the R&S Race Cars stable, was looking forward to a full season of racing that included racing at South Boston Speedway, but has competed in only six races this season.
Stallings and his team spent Monday at South Boston Speedway working on his No. 77 Ford Mustang Late Model Stock Car preparing for opportunities to compete in some late-season events. He has also driven R&S Race Cars’ No. 19 Toyota Camry in some events this season.
“We’ve done fairly well with the number 19 car,” Stallings said. “We had a couple of rough runs at the beginning of the year, just getting myself acclimated to the style of car that we build and having been out of the seat for a year or so, with just two races in 2019. It was definitely a curveball for me.”
The opportunity to test at “America’s Hometown Track” this week helps both Stallings and his team.
“Everything we are doing with the cars now is so much different than when I won the track championship at Ace Speedway in 2018,” Stallings said. “In a year’s time things have evolved, and with R&S Race Cars being in business, the different things we do on the vehicles makes a huge competitive difference. From a driver’s standpoint, [the car] drives totally different than what I was used to.”
While Monday’s test session helped Stallings and his team prepare for upcoming events, it also helped the team build a notebook for when Stallings competes at South Boston Speedway in 2021.
“The track being in such great shape and it being such a pretty day, this definitely gives us a good opportunity to make some starting notes leading into next year’s racing season here,” Stallings said. “The staff at South Boston Speedway has done a lot to make sure the place stays well-kept during this off-time, which is much appreciated. I know all the crew at South Boston Speedway has worked really hard to get the track into the shape that it is in and keep it that way.
“I look forward to being able to race next year and being able to take a page out of our notebook,” Stallings added.
Stallings called not being able to race as much as he would like and not being able to race at South Boston Speedway this season “heartbreaking.”
“The medical concerns and what the nation has been through has been tough on everybody,” Stallings said. “As a racer and as a race fan, it’s been tough being away from the sport that I grew up around, only being able to compete in a limited number of races this year and not seeing races at South Boston Speedway. I feel the community as a whole is pretty upset.”
Stallings had planned to compete at South Boston Speedway this season.
“I had definitely planned on showing up here and potentially running for points and a championship in my car as well as racing here in the No. 19 car,” Stallings said. “Things like this happen and you have to regroup. I know it would be a lot more fun to be back here and seeing all of the fans South Boston Speedway draws in, seeing all of the local family and friends that we have that show up to the track and seeing the kids that enjoy the races. Missing the show has definitely made an impact this year.”
South Boston Speedway has not held any racing events this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the speedway is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for teams wishing to schedule testing sessions.
The track is available for testing from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. Teams wishing to schedule testing sessions should contact the speedway office at least a day ahead to schedule a testing date.