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SBS officially crowns track champions

South Boston News
Matt Bowling, center, won the top honors as the 2013 South Boston Speedway track champion for winning the feature NASCAR Whelen late model division. With him is Nick Igdalsky and general manager Cathy Rice.
SoVaNow.com / January 14, 2013
More than $45,000 in cash awards and special racing prizes were handed out Saturday night, as South Boston Speedway recognized its 2012 division champions and special awards winners.

The reigning NASCAR Whelen Late Model stock division track champion, Matt Bowling, had the largest haul.

Bowling said he is unsure of his 2013 plans, as he’s looking at both the Motor Mile and SBS. Bowling said he would run here some, but has nothing firmly established.

In all likelihood, Bowling does not plan to try and defend his SBS title.

“Probably not. I’m not really set up for a track championship. I’m going to go for some wins and see what happens,” Bowling said.

Bowling plans to run the season opener, on March 9, and a few more races, he said.

Bowling, from Ridgeway, had one win at SBS in 2012, along with 13 top fives and 19 top tens, riding a wave of consistency to his first track title here.

Peyton Sellers finished second at SBS in the highly competitive late model division. Sellers had 17 top tens and 13 top fives, and three wins here. Sellers also tied for most poles (three) in late model.

The third place points’ finisher at SBS, Lee Pulliam, did not focus on winning the local track title. Instead, Pulliam capped a remarkable comeback charge by nailing down the 2012 national title for the Whelen all-American series.

Pulliam said he plans to take the 2013 season race by race. He plans to run a full season at Motor Mile and South Boston. The tracks do not have competing dates for late model races.

“We’re just going to jump around, try to run as many races as we can possible and try to find the car count,” Pulliam said.

“I’d love to repeat. If the right opportunity came up, I’d love to move up. But if not, we have a lot of fun racing on Saturday nights and should be a great season, with Philip (Morris) back.

“I think it (the 2013 season here) is going to be awesome. I think the fans are going to have a lot to watch. I think it’s going to be a lot of suspenseful races and it should be exciting for everybody involved.

“It’s been only a few nights a week that everybody got to race together normally. This year, all the big guys will be at each race track every week,” he said.

Pulliam said he’s waiting for the right opportunity to move forward in his race career. “I’ve always been told from numerous people that, from experience, just don’t jump on the first thing if it’s not a really good deal. You don’t want to get in something that’s going to make you look bad.”

Pulliam was the wins leader at SBS with nine, also captured the lap leader award and tied for poles with three.

Austin Thaxton won the rookie of the year award in late model and tied for most poles (three).

SBS recognized its division champions, including Bowling, Limited Sportsman champion Bobby McCarty, Budweiser Pure Stock champion Trey Crews and MAD Modified champion Hunter Slayton.

McCarty had a tremendous season en route to the limited crown, as he had seven wins, 14 top fives, and 16 top ten finishes at SBS.

The track also recognized the second and third place finishers in each division. Danny Willis Jr., was second in the final points in limited sportsman, with Blake Stallings third.

Michael Maresca, a promising newcomer, was the rookie of the year in limited sportsman.

Joe Allred III was the points’ runnerup in Pure Stock, with Randy Hupp third in that division.

Crews had seven Pure Stock, the most in the division. He also won the lap leader award and tied for most poles, with four.

Brandon Bomar, meanwhile, took rookie of the year honors in Pure stock. Slayton had a strong start in the MAD Modifieds, with Jimmy Humblet second and Kyle Wood third in the points in this division.

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