MYRTLE BEACH — Mother nature washed out a full day of practice for the Myrtle Beach 400 on Thursday, making for a busy day on Friday.
Around 140 race cars have packed the infield at Myrtle Beach Speedway, and Friday’s action saw 11 hours of practice, and a 50-lap Southeast Limited Late Model (SELLM) feature race.
Of the cars parked in the MBS infield, there are 54 NASCAR Late Model Stocks trying to make the field for Sunday’s race. While that car count is slightly down from years past, the competitors don’t see it as much of an issue.
“The quality of drivers here, there’s probably 30 of them here that can win this race,” former Myrtle Beach Speedway track champion Justin Milliken said. “I think the ones who are fast every year are still here, so it doesn’t really matter who isn’t here.”
The 2011 Myrtle Beach 400 winner, Garrett Campbell, agreed. “You’ve got a lot of drivers who can compete for the win. It’s really not about who has the best car, but who has the best tires at the end,” he said.
Sam Yarbrough won the 2008 running of the Myrtle Beach 400, and doesn’t see many similarities in that race and Sunday’s race.
“The last race was kind of different; we ran really hard that race and the tires stayed where they needed to be. With the bigger carburetor here we won’t be able to do that because we’ll burn the tires through the corner,” he said. “A lot of it is just trying to conserve the first three quarters of the race, then take it home from there.”
Milliken agreed: “You only push it before 30 laps to go if you feel like you’re riding in a bad spot. But with about thirty to go, it’s time to go racing.”
In Friday’s only competitive action, Brandon Setzer led from flag to flag in the 50-lap Southeast Limited Late Model Challenger division race. Setzer, the son of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Dennis Setzer, never caught slower traffic and could concentrate instead on the hard-charging Archie Adams Sr.
“We definitely kept in mind where Archie was, but we ran our own race and made sure to stay out of trouble and do what we have to do,” said Setzer, who also intends to run the SELLM Pro series race on Sunday.
A late caution for a Dylan Hall spin gave Adams one last attempt at getting by Setzer, but Adams was unable to capitalize. The win was Setzer’s first at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Saturday’s feature racing begins at 3:30 p.m. with the Mini-stocks division racing for 50 laps, followed by Late Model Stock last chance races, the Late Model Stock Dash for Cash, with a winner-take-all purse of $2,500, and the Super Trucks division racing for 100 laps. Tickets for Saturday are $20 and can be purchased at the front gate on the day of the event.