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Pulliam wins again
SoVaNow.com / August 19, 2013Defending NASCAR Whelen all-American series national champion Lee Pulliam cruised to another 75-lap win on a rainy Saturday night at South Boston Speedway.
Pulliam collected his 14th win at SBS and edged closer to a repeat national title.
But Pulliam, who won the first race without a serious challenge from second place finisher Peyton Sellers, did not get a chance for the sweep.
Persistent rainy weather forced the cancellation of the rest of the night’s activiity, wiping out a second 75-lap twin and a Legends race.
The PASS Series action has been added to the Speedway’s next race, the Aug. 31 show. PASS competitors had been scheduled for a 150-lapper, but the cars never got on the track for any racing past qualifying, which went off without a hitch.
Pulliam has already clinched the SBS track title in the late model division. The biggest hurdle Pulliam faced Saturday was the makeup of the field. Some late arrivals helped ensure a full, 20-car field, critical to the Pullliam’s efforts in the national points chase.
Pulliam remained cautious about his chances at repeating the national title run.
“We’re just trying to race every week somewhere. We haven’t really decided week to week, it’s kind of depending on how this week goes.
“We’re doing all we can to make the most of it, just taking it week by week.” Pulliam appears to be the favorite to win the national crown, but he added before Saturday’s SBS victory, “you’re never comfortable until the title’s locked up. We think (the Saturday race program) is really important,” said Pulliam.
Deac McCaskill did not race at SBS Saturday.
Pulliam, meanwhile, is charging hard with the national title in sight.
“I don’t ever feel overconfident about anything,” said Pulliam. “You’ve got to do what you have to do.”
Pulliam led the final race results in the first twin, winning wire to wire.
Sellers was second, 1.334 seconds off the pace. Bobby McCarty finished a respectable third, 1.662 seconds behind the winner.
Josh Oakley was fourth and Austin Thaxton fifth. Ronald Hill, Bruce Anderson, Brian Pembelton, Mike Darne and Barry Beggarly rounded out the top ten. Beggarly was a lap down at the end.
Pulliam, the polesitter, nosed past McCarty for the lead on lap one.
By lap 15, Pulliam owned a four-car length lead over McCarty, with the threat of rainy weather looming over the area. The race finished under green, the last laps of regular racing activity on this unseasonably cool, rainy August evening.
Pulliam secured the pole in late model action. Pulliam had a best speed of 89.854, slipping past Bobby McCarty (89.681 mph).
The first yellow flew on lap 33, when the no. 38 of Mark Keesee, Jr. spun in turn three.
Pulliam immediately grabbed the lead again, powering past McCarty following the restart.
By lap 40, Pulliam created plenty of forward momentum on the way to another win at SBS, with the latest bounty reward unclaimed. The late model race lacked any real drama.
“We’re just running every opportunity we get a chance. We feel like we’ve a good enough car to win,
“We’re running all our best race tracks and trying to make sure we’ve got the car count (needed).
“It’s just tough with the economy (to fill these fields). Everybody’s doing a lot, and everybody’s helping us out as much as we can. If you don’t have 20 cars, it doesn’t do you a lot of good at the end of the year,” said Pulliam.
“The modified guys could come back in it anytime. As of right now, it (the race) seems between me and (McCaskill) for the most part. So, we’re not counting any of ‘em out. Nobody’s going to celebrate until after that Sept. 15 deadline, that’s for sure.”
Pulliam is seeking to join Philip Morris and Larry Phillips as the only drivers to win more than one national title.
Meanwhile, Pulliam has no plans to move up into one of NASCAR’s higher series at this point. “It’s been a lot of fun being able to race on Saturday nights.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed. I feel like a second national title would be huge for my career, as far as talking to people, but you never know.”
Pulliam secured his 14th win of the season at SBS and ninth in a row. Pulliam also eluded the bounty hunters, chasing a $2,000 reward posted by track officials for any driver able to stop Pulliam’s win streak.
Pulliam led all 75 laps and averaged 73.845 in a race slowed by one caution. Eventually, there was some competitive racing for second place. McCarty held second most of the race, but got passed for second by Sellers with two laps left in the race.
SBS notebook: NASCAR legend Donnie Allison was on hand to watch his grandson Justin in the feature PASS race, which did not run. Kyle Grissom, part of the next generation of NASCAR, won the pole (94.837), with Ross Kenseth and local favorite Jay Fogleman second and third. Jay’s son, Tate, qualified seventh. But the weather did not cooperate.
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