PULLIAM TAKES ETHOS TECHNOLOGIES TWINBILL
Pulliam, Morris and Repko sweep the podium in LMSC TWIN 75’s – JW Martin
Lee Pulliam is on a hot streak.
The Semora, NC, native swept the ETHOS Technologies TWIN 75s on a sweltering Saturday night at Motor Mile Speedway, expanding his winning streak in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Model division to four races.
Pulliam has started fifth or worse in three consecutive visits to victory lane, underscoring the stellar stint.
“We’ve been on fire here lately. Everywhere. South Boston, Caraway, [Motor Mile Speedway]… all those tracks, the last time we were there, we were in victory lane,” acknowledged Pulliam. “We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year.”
Handicapped to sixth place on the 17-car grid in the opener per the Two Wins in a Row Policy, Pulliam capitalized on a mid-race restart to maneuver into the runner-up spot on lap 47. With the crosshairs on race leader Philip Morris, Pulliam instigated a see-saw battle for first that was stymied by the second and final yellow flag of the first feature on lap 66.
The nine-lap shootout favored Pulliam. After leading 64 of the opening 66 circuits, Morris succumbed to Pulliam’s Kiker Motorsports entry on the restart. It proved to be the pass for the win, as Pulliam amassed a 1.206-second margin of victory at the checkers. Morris tallied second, with Ryan Repko rounding out the podium.
The spotlight remained on the lead trio through the nightcap, as the top three performers replicated their finishes from the first 75-lap sprint. But the path to the podium was decidedly different.
Due to the inversion following race one, Repko, Morris and Pulliam started the finale fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, on the grid. Newcomer Bobby McCarty and Stefan Parsons occupied the front row. A spirited scramble ensued as the green flag unfurled.
McCarty paced the race for 12 circuits as a gaggle of traffic materialized in his rearview mirror. A total of six cars converged at the front of the field in the opening laps, with Brandon Butler leading the throng of challengers. Butler seized first on lap 12, but surrendered it two laps later to Pulliam.
The reshuffling of the top five simmered by lap 38, with Morris back in pursuit of Pulliam. Butler faded into the clutches of Repko, and the duo birthed an extended bout for third that persisted into the waning circuits.
Pulliam bested Morris and Repko at the checkers by 1.506 seconds to post his ninth win of the 2016 season.
“We all had to race pretty hard getting to the front. Lee caught a break and got to the bottom and I couldn’t get down to take advantage,” Morris explained. “The car was a lot better. I can’t wait to come back next week and see what we have.”
Pulliam echoed Morris’ comments on the action-packed wrestling match for first.
“Those inverts always make things exciting,” Pulliam added. “Me and Philip were both being patient. I saw an opportunity to get to the bottom, and it just worked out. From there, I got clean air, and just had to be smart.”
The top three on the track Saturday night further solidified their positions in the track standings. By virtue of the sweep, Pulliam extended his lead in the division standings to 40 points over Morris. Having reclaimed third following the July 30th contest, Repko has constructed an 18-point gap over Butler with four races remaining.
IN OTHER DIVISIONS
Scott Lancaster claimed his second consecutive win in Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division competition Saturday night, besting championship rival Karl Budzevski and Amber Balcaen for the victory. Lancaster paced every circuit of the 50-lap contest; the 2014 track titlist has led 352 of the 500 total laps completed in the division this season.
Doodle Lang took top honors in the MOD-4 division as bad luck befell Chucky Williams for the second straight race. Lang’s lead in the track standings has swelled to 30 points due to Williams’ misfortune in the past two contests.
Josh Gobble placed second, and Drew Holdren rounded out the podium.
Greg Butcher rallied from a mid-race collision to capture the checkers in the Southern Ground Pounders’ return to Motor Mile Speedway. Butcher was the overall winner and the Sportsman class titlist; Christy Jeffers took top honors in the Modified division.
Photo Credit: Shane Green