PULLIAM SCORES RECORD-TYING SWEEP
Semora, NC leadfoot nets sixth consecutive win in LMSC finale – JW Martin
Lee Pulliam was chasing history. And the O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Model field was chasing him.
Pulliam extended a record-setting streak Sunday night in the CMC Supply / Coors Light TWIN 75’s presented by ABC 13, becoming the first Late Model competitor in the Motor Mile Speedway era (2004-present) to open a season by sweeping the division’s first six races. Moreover, Pulliam equaled the MMS-era single-season consecutive win streak record; a benchmark established in 2008 by Philip Morris.
“Anytime you can tie a record with Philip Morris, that’s pretty special,” Pulliam said of the feat. “It’s unbelievable.”
Pulliam outperformed the largest Late Model contingent of the season. Relegated to sixth on the 21-car grid per the Two Wins in a Row Policy, the Price’s Body Shop pole-sitter stalked race leader Tommy Lemons, Jr. through the majority of the opening 30 circuits of the first contest, inheriting the lead when Lemons’ engine expired on lap 29.
Pulliam didn’t relinquish the point, leading a race-high 45 laps and staving off Matt Bowling through a green-white-checkered restart to capture the checkers by a margin of .45 seconds. JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry rounded out the podium.
Again saddled with a sixth-place starting spot in the nightcap, Pulliam methodically worked the no. 5 into contention, eclipsing Bowling for second prior to the race’s second caution flag on lap 18. Pulliam authored the third lead change of the race two circuits later, overtaking Sellers Racing development driver Juan Garcia for the top spot on lap 20. He paced the race uncontested for the next 55 laps en route to victory lane.
In a repeat of the first feature, Bowling finished second, with Berry claiming third after an aggressive duel with Garcia on the white-flag lap.
For Berry, the effort marked the continuation of a three-race streak of podium performances. Berry has finished in the top three in each of his four starts this season.
“It was hard racing with the no. 11. He did a really good job holding on; we just got together a little bit, and I came out on the better end of it,” Berry stated. “We missed it a little bit in the first race, and it hurt us.”
Bowling entered the evening tied for second in the standings, trailing Pulliam by 28 markers. Despite a pair of runner-up showings, Bowling unofficially surrendered an additional four points to Pulliam. Assessing the night, Bowling summed up the frustration of the Late Model field.
“He’s just too dominant,” Bowling deadpanned.
Eyeing his fourth track championship in his fourth full season at Motor Mile Speedway, Pulliam is not only chasing a track championship— he’s making a bid at a third NASCAR WHELEN All-American Series national title; Pulliam is currently second in the national standings, 60 points from first. Motor Mile Speedway will once again prove instrumental to his national championship aspirations.
“I’ve got a lot of laps at this place,” Pulliam explained. “Since I first came up here, it’s been like home for me. Just had a niche for the place; it’s helped me at Martinsville and everywhere else. It’s just a really cool place to drive around.”
IN OTHER DIVISIONS
Chucky Williams scored his second consecutive victory in the New River Nissan MOD-4 division, besting Doodle Lang and Jessica Cockram for top honors. The Carpet Factory Outlet Street Stock division contest went to Scooter Hollandsworth, with Matthew Gusler and Casey Cupp placing second and third, respectively.
Ryan Cox scored his first-career win in the 15-lap UCAR heat; Ricky Howell, Jr. and Rodney Howell completed the top three.