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Pulliam, Morris split late model races at SBS Saturday / March 18, 2019
Lee Pulliam and Phillip Morris each collected late model wins in the season opener at South Boston Speedway Saturday.

The 2019 racing season got under way with a five race card featuring Twin Late Model 100-lap events.

Ten national championships were represented in Saturday’s races, with Peyton Sellers, Pulliam, and Morris qualifying one-three respectively. These three champions proved to be the class of Saturday’s field.

In the first late model race Sellers started on the pole after setting a new track record of 14.676 seconds in qualifying.

Sellers would lead until Pulliam got under him on the 44th lap.

Pulliam used the outside on a restart on lap 48 to pull away from the field, leaving Sellers and Morris to battle it out for the second position. After a heated battle, the two finally settled down as the laps wound down.

On the final few laps, most of the field seemed content with their position, knowing they had a second race to run and were interested in saving their cars.

Pulliam crossed the finish line two seconds ahead of Sellers with Morris close behind in third place. Mike Looney was fourth and Austin Thaxton rounded out the top five for the race.

“This is the first new car I have had in about nine years,” said Pulliam. “I have been driving an old car that was built for me in 2010. We were getting behind on equipment, now it feels good to have what these other guys have.

“It is easier to stay ahead of these guys than it is to pass them. I hadn’t won a race on this track since 2010, so it feels mighty good.”

“This was a good clean race, we will make some adjustment and be ready for the second race,” Sellers said.

Morris said he too has a new car, “It is going to be a good car, and it was just too tight this race. We will make a few adjustments and be better.”

Jeff Oakley, Thomas Scott, Mark Wertz, Mike Jones, and Justin Carroll completed the top-ten finishers.

Morris apparently kept his word and made the right adjustments to his new car, because in the second late model race he was on a rail.

With a nine-car inverted field after the first race Morris started sixth just ahead of Sellers and Pulliam started ninth.

By lap 13 Morris was leading the race with Sellers third and Pulliam fifth.

Pulliam had a brush with the back straight-away on the 38th lap and ended his day.

From that point on, Morris had clear sailing to the finish line. Sellers battled with Scott for second with Sellers winning that battle. Scott took third with Thaxton and Jason Barnes rounding out the first five finishers.

“Last year we did not get a win until April,” said Morris. “I feel real good about this new car and how it responded to all the changes we made to it. We will race here and be going to a lot of other tracks. We will be where there is a good car count.”

“I am okay with two second place finishes. We need to be a little better, said Sellers. “Congratulations to Phillip and Lee. We want to be where they are next time.”

Trey Crews, Oakley, Carroll, Raymond Pittman, and Jones completed the top ten.

Danny Willis wins limited

After a tough decision about staying with late models or dropping back to limited, Danny Willis had to choose limited because of financial considerations.

Willis pulled out a big win Saturday as he claimed victory in the 50-lap limited sportsman event. Willis edged out Daniel Moss and Jessica Dana for the win.

“It has been two or three years since we were in victory lane,” added Willis. “We really did not want to step back, but our budget demanded it. With all the motor rules changes this year, we could not afford it.

“I don’t know if we will run limited all season. We might get back to late model for some races.”

Nathan Crews wins pure stock race

Nathan Crews battled Jarrett Milam and Bruce Mayo for the lead and came out ahead to win the 30-lap pure stock race

Milam was second and mayo third.

Matthew Epps and Scott Phillips rounded out the top five.

“I believe it has been about four or five years since we have been to victory lane. I know it has been a while,” said Crews. “It sure feels good. We had to race pretty hard for that one. I did not think Jarrett was as strong as he was. He was coming on up through there.”

Lane wins hornets race

Steven Lane was the winner in the Hornets Division. Lane held off Kevin Currin and Jared Dawson for the win.

“I think Kevin was taking a little easy on me,” said Lane. “I told him if he got to me he was going to have to work for it.”

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