However, NASCAR implemented an audit of key races throughout the summer and found instances of unlicensed drivers and what the sanctioning body determined as an affront to the Weekly Series Rule Book.
NASCAR did not throw out any race results but did disqualify the unlicensed drivers from the results of those races, preventing them from counting as full fields. Specifically, Sellers was told that NASCAR found that Limited Late Model competitor JD Eversole had entered twin races at Dominion Raceway on August 27 without a valid license and stripped him of his 10th and 16th place finishes that night.
Sellers said he does not know Eversole, but has seen him race occasionally, and believes that he should not have decided the national championship a month after the fact.
“My whole thing, once you’re heading into that last race, you have to have it right,” Sellers told Racing America about NASCAR’s audit. “I built my entire weekend around that four-point deficit.”
The race at Motor Mile on Friday was a rain out makeup date from last month, and the track called both championship contenders in the hopes of promoting a decisive national championship event before the final points day at Dominion on Saturday.
NASCAR also disqualified from the results of the second race at Motor Mile cars owned by Kyle Dudley and Billy Martin on the basis of artificially inflating car counts without the intent to compete — denying Sellers a full field win.
To be eligible for the second race according to the Motor Mile rule book, a car must complete at least half of the first race, which every car entered into the event accomplished on Saturday.
All told, Sellers gained two points over the weekend at Motor Mile and Dominion but ultimately lost by four points — coincidentally the same amount he trailed entering the weekend — after the NASCAR audit was completed earlier in the week.
Sellers said he was made aware of the decision on Thursday morning by NASCAR Weekly Series director Kevin Nevalainen. The two-time national champion is not sure if there are any appeal options available to him and will evaluate his options in due course.
“For NASCAR to roll in and take two cars out of the results, and another one a month after the fact, I’m caught off guard by it,” Sellers said. “It caught me flat footed. The two cars at Motor Mile ran over half the first race per the rules.”
As for swapping over to the No. 0, Sellers equated it to 23XI Racing moving Bubba Wallace from the No. 23 to the No. 45 and winning a race.
“Did we have cars and teammates willing to help us? Absolutely,” Sellers said. “We’ve worked really hard to have this kind of race team and teammates willing to help us. Landon got in my car and was half a tenth faster than I was in it. He still finished fifth in it and that’s about where we were going to be. We had a teammate with a faster car that was willing to help us out.
“At the end of the day, NASCAR has to get the points right going into that final weekend. You have to know the score to know how to plan your weekend. We won 18 races and you can’t take that away from us. We won 12 of our last 15 races. All we can do right now is go to Martinsville this weekend and try to get a grandfather clock.”