In an historic heavyweight title tilt, Pulliam clinches fifth LMSC track championship– JW Martin
Lee Pulliam remains perfect.
The 28-year-old hot shoe from Semora, NC, celebrated his fourth consecutive O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Model division track championship Saturday night; the coronation was Pulliam’s fifth overall in five full seasons of competition at Motor Mile Speedway.
The championship feat vaulted Pulliam to second place all-time on the elite NASCAR-era shortlist behind Philip Morris, who tops the category with seven track titles. The 2016 campaign marked the first time the pair of NASCAR WHELEN All-American Series national champions dueled for top honors in the marquee division, with Pulliam besting Morris in the standings by 36 points.
“To go head-to-head with one of the best guys in the nation, that’s pretty cool,” Pulliam said of the historic match-up with Morris. “Every [championship] is special, but any time you can beat the King it’s a good night.”
Pulliam placed an exclamation point on WHELEN Championship Night by scoring his tenth win of the season from the Price’s Body Shop pole in the Grayson National Bank / Bank of Floyd 150 presented by Star Country.
The finale proved to be a competitive affair; four lead changes accentuated the action. Pulliam wrestled the lead away from Mike Looney on lap 94 following the second caution period of the race by implementing the bump-and-run maneuver in turn two.
“Looney was fast. When I got to him, he and I touched a little bit, but I was able to get by him,” Pulliam explained. “ Once I got clean air, this thing was on a rail.”
Morris placed second after leading the opening 44 laps of the contest. Looney paced the race for seven circuits en route to a third place finish. Ryan Repko and Preston McGhee rounded out the top five.
Morris had not competed for a track championship at Motor Mile Speedway since 2009. Despite the outcome in the track standings, it was a satisfactory season for Morris, who is eying a full-time return to Motor Mile Speedway in 2017.
“This was a set-up year for , and we’re ahead of schedule,” Morris noted. “Lee has really done his homework, and he’s paid his dues. I’m proud of him. He and I have had our troubles, but he’s come a long way. He’s a great representative as a track champion of Motor Mile Speedway.”
IN OTHER DIVISIONS
It was a storybook swan song for Scott Lancaster.
A colorful career climaxed in victory lane Saturday night as Lancaster celebrated his second Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division track championship in his final start at Motor Mile Speedway.
A third-place finish in the 50-lap contest resulted in a 12-point victory over Karl Budzevski in the track standings. Budzevski captured the win, while 2016 Rookie of the Year Amber Balcaen placed second.
The accomplishment equals a family benchmark established by Derrick Lancaster; the pair of brothers collectively boast four Limited Sportsman track championships at the .416-mile oval.
“It’s special, and I hope it’s special for Dad. His sons have four track championships. That’s pretty big at Motor Mile Speedway—this is the premier track,” Lancaster said.
Doug Williams won it all.
Williams’ fifth win of the season Saturday night propelled the no. 77 team to its first-career Carpet Factory Outlet Street Stock division track championship.
“We came up here the first race of the season with the goal of winning races. And that’s what we did,” Williams said. “This is really special to us. It’s hard to beat a driver as good as Scooter [Hollandsworth], so it’s really special.”
The Street Stock track championship remained undecided entering the season finale, as a razor-thin two-point gap separated Williams from division counterpart Scooter Hollandsworth in the standings. By virtue of the win, Williams edged out Hollandsworth by a meager four points to claim top honors in the division.
Hollandsworth and Casey Cupp finished second and third, respectively, in the 30-lap dash.
Doodle Lang underscored a dominating season with a victory in the MOD-4 season finale—the capstone to his second consecutive division championship.
“We built a new car two years ago, and here we are with back-to-back championships,” Lang explained. “From 2011 to 2013, we just had a lot of misfortune. I knew that if we could ever get the monkey off our back, they’d have their hands full.
“All-in-all, it was a good night, and a very good year.”
Lang bested 2013 track titlist Chucky Williams for the championship by 34 points on the strength of a six-win season. Through 11 races, Lang never finished worse than second.
Josh Gobble placed second Saturday night, with Williams rounding out the podium.
Motor Mile Speedway congratulates its 2016 track champions: Lee Pulliam, Scott Lancaster, Doug Williams & Doodle Lang
Photo Credits: Shane Green