South Boston, Va – Austin Thaxton fended off last-lap challenges from defending NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam of Alton, Virginia and former NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion Peyton Sellers of Danville, Virginia to win Saturday’s NASCAR Late Model 100 at South Boston Speedway.
Thaxton grabbed the lead on the final restart that set up a two-lap dash to the finish, and was just ahead of Pulliam and Sellers when they got together and crashed in the fourth turn as they headed to the checkered flag.
Defending South Boston Speedway Champion Matt Bowling of Ridgeway, Virginia, who was running fourth, ducked around the spinning cars of Pulliam and Sellers and followed Thaxton across the finish line to take second place.
Mark Wertz of Chesapeake, Virginia, Brenden Queen of Chesapeake, Virginia and Sellers rounded out the top five finishers.
Josh Oakley of Rougemont, North Carolina, Pulliam, Justin Carroll of Lanexa, Virginia, Dennis Holdren of Roanoke, Virginia and Chuck Lawson of Providence, North Carolina completed the top 10 finishers.
Thaxton’s victory, his first of the season at America’s Hometown Track, came by a scant .573-second. He led 59 laps of the race that had to be extended to 101 laps to make the green-white-checker finish.
“I was pretty happy, but at the same time it was a pretty tough pill to swallow because I felt like that (three wins) was what it should be right now,” Thaxton said after winning Saturday night’s Late Model Stock 100-lap feature at South Boston. “Hopefully we’ll make up for it through the rest of the season. Last week I was very disappointed. I felt like we were in contention to win both races, really. Matt had a little better car than we did, but we were in front of him in both races. He was going to have to wreck us or pass us in the second race, but then he played his cards right and got by with the help of a lap car.”
“We had a green-white-checkered. When the caution came out I said ‘this is not what I want to see,’ but when I realized Lee was running second, I figured it was going to be a good race. When we got to three and four, my spotter said ‘they’re wrecking behind you, come on to me’.”
“I felt like I let a lot of people down last year,” said Thaxton, who is sponsored by Fallen Trucking, Italian Delight Family Restaurant, A & E Race Cars, Kowalsky Motors and Minceys Graphics. “I’ve been racing long enough I should be winning races. I didn’t want to let the team down anymore. This winter I said this is what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. Now I’ve got to keep it rolling in this same direction.”