PULLIAM SWEEPS TWINBILL; LANDAUER SNARES LIMELIGHT
23 year-old becomes first female racer to win in MMS Limited Sportsman division – JW Martin
Lee Pulliam notched back-to-back wins in the Shively Electric/Pine Ridge Nursery Late Model TWIN 75’s. Yet, his Limited Sportsman win was the biggest.
Pulliam earned his first-career win as a car owner at Motor Mile Speedway Saturday night following a historic performance by unheralded newcomer Julia Landauer.
Despite Pulliam’s convincing sweep of the season-opening twinbill, Landauer stole the show. In her Motor Mile Speedway debut, the 23 year-old piloted the no. 70 Lee Pulliam Performance entry to her first-career Limited Sportsman victory in her first-ever Limited Sportsman start.
Landauer’s achievement marks the first win for a female competitor in the Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division -Motor Mile Speedway’s penultimate class- since the ownership change in 2004.
“This is incredible,” Landauer exclaimed. “We worked really hard, and got the car set up really well. We had some luck with some others having some bad luck, and we capitalized on every moment.”
Attrition defined the 50-lap feature, with only nine of the 18 starters finishing on the lead lap. The race was plagued by five caution flags and one red flag period, with the initial yellow flag unfurling for a multi-car crash triggered by a pair of Limited Sportsman track champions.
Price’s Body Shop polesitter Scott Lancaster and Preston McGhee tangled while sparring for the lead on the third circuit of the race. The damage incurred relegated McGhee to the garage. Lancaster soldiered on to rebound into the top five, subsequently sparking a second incident with Karl Budzevski while battling for second place.
Throughout the feature, the carnage was occurring in Landauer’s rear-view mirror. Landauer led a race-high 31 laps, inheriting the lead following the first caution flag of the evening on lap three from her second-place starting position. She would relinquish the top spot only once, following a lap 28 restart.
Daryn Cockram, a Limited Sportsman veteran moonlighting in his daughter’s no. 16 machine, eclipsed Landauer for first on lap 29. Cockram paced the race for the next 14 circuits.
“I messed up that last restart a little bit, and I had to really prove that I deserved the win and fight back. I’m really glad it worked out,” Landauer explained.
As the race unfolded, Landauer kept pace with Cockram, tracing the no. 16’s tire tracks no more than two car lengths behind. By lap 39, Landauer had reached Cockram’s back bumper, birthing a spirited duel for the win.
Landauer’s assault climaxed on the back straightaway on lap 42. Staging a maneuver in turn one, Landauer managed to pull alongside Cockram down the backstretch, completing the move in turn two on lap 43. It proved to be the pass for the win.
“She got me,” said Cockram, who finished 1.39 seconds behind Landauer’s winning car. “You know, we had a good race. It was good, clean racing. That’s what racing is about.”
Taylor Ransom authored his first-career podium performance, finishing third from his fifth-place starting position.
“We’re one of the low-budget teams; we are one of the only Limiteds that still come in on an open trailer. To run this good, and be competitive with these guys, it’s a great feeling,” Ransom said.
Landauer’s diverse 13-year racing career has included approximately 15 Late Model starts over three years; her most recent stock car attempt came in August of 2011. For Motor Mile Speedway, the outcome was the most momentous accomplishment for a female competitor since Dr. Sheryl Carls’ Street Stock track championship in 2011.
Following his second triumph of the night in the Matt Hagan Outdoors Late Model division, Pulliam had an abundance of praise for his young female protégé.
“Julia— I couldn’t be more proud of her. To come down here for the first time… the first time she got in the car was on Tuesday. To get the win, she did a really great job,” Pulliam said.
Pulliam dominated the Late Model contests, earning his first checkered flag of the evening by forestalling a hard-charging Josh Berry in the closing circuits. Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate William Byron placed third in a 75-lap dash slowed by only one yellow flag.
Matt Bowling placed fourth, and Quinn Houff completed the top five.
The caution-free nightcap produced similar results, with Pulliam besting Byron by 1.4 seconds. Berry completed the podium. Philip Morris claimed fourth in his first outing at MMS since 2012. Tommy Lemons, Jr. rounded out the top five.
IN OTHER DIVISONS
Doodle Lang captured the checkered flag in the New River Nissan MOD-4 division after a lengthy battle with former track champion Chucky Williams, who placed second. Rocky Yates tallied third.
Doug Williams was victorious in the Carpet Factory Outlet Street Stock division, out-dueling Scooter Hollandsworth for the win. Lynn Phoenix claimed third.