Lee Pulliam Keeps Streak Alive at South Boston
South Boston, VA – Winless so far in 2016 at America’s Hometown Track, Lee Pulliam rolled into South Boston Speedway looking to defend his big race win streak. He has won the previous five 200 lap races, which in years past acted as the first leg of the Virginia Triple Crown.
Pulliam would set fast time in the final practice of the day with a 15.938 lap around the banked oval. Peyton Sellers, Matt Walt, Matt Bowling, and Austin Thaxton were all within a tenth of his time.
In qualifying NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points leader Bowling claimed the pole with a 15.909 lap. Danny Willis who was 13th in final practice laid down a quick lap as well to set on the outside of the front row while Pulliam improved his time but was only good enough for third.
Danny Willis dominated the first half of the race after getting around Bowling on a restart after some rain fell on the track. Behind him though was a good battle for second through fourth between Pulliam, Thaxton, and Bowling. Caution came out on lap 64 after a lot of great green flag racing for Maddy Ryan spinning out, damaging the front of her car. About ten laps later it looked like some drivers started playing the guessing game for how the halfway break invert would fall and they started dropping back into the pack.
At the break the officials called for a nine car invert, putting track championship contender Mark Wertz out front. Maddy Ryan would rejoin the race at the end of the break and look to finish strong.
It didn’t take long for madness to break out with a big pileup on the back stretch involving Willis and four other cars, completely blocking the track. The red flag would come out for the only time on the night so the crews could focus on the clean up.
Under the next caution for the 19 car of Cameron Bowen spinning, Peyton Sellers and Brenden Queen would hit pit road to try and straighten out their cars. Sellers had a flat front right tire and Queen’s crew focused on the right rear suspension.
Bobby McCarty was looking strong out front at this point, getting by Wertz after the break and continuing to be strong. At lap 154 Bowling started putting pressure on the leader and was out in front in under a lap. Unfortunately McCarty did not seem to like the clean pass and he got under Bowling sending him around, putting Matt down a lap and no penalty for the new leader.
This opened the door for NASCAR Camping World truck series driver Timothy Peters who would take the lead with the outside lane on the restart. Peters did not practice or qualify, he was out celebrating his daughter’s birthday before the race. From last to first with no practice with the amount of quality teams at the race was no small feat. He would check out on McCarty but a hard charging Pulliam would start to show up.
On lap 175 Pulliam would secure second place and set his eyes on Peters. It took 11 laps for Lee to close the gap on the 12 car and he got around him without incident. The crowd was on their feet for the chase to Peters and were ecstatic with the pass. The leaders would hit lapped traffic before the checkers but Lee holds on to the win, securing his 6th July 4th weekend race in a row
“One in a row is good, two in a row is good, three in a row is good, four in a row is better, five in a row is better, six in a row is awesome,” a very happy Pulliam commented in victory lane, “Hope we keep going…I’ve never went a year without winning a race at South Boston and it feels great to keep extending that.”
Mark Wertz who’s running for a track championship fell back to 6th in the last 30 or so laps, “I feel like it was a good points night for us, fortunate to pull off a sixth [place finish]. You know, we ran as hard as we could until the faster guy’s got to us and as a driver you know when you’re beat and if you race stupid you end up on a wrecker so if somebody got to us we let them go.”
Thunder Road Harley Davidson Results:
1. Lee Pulliam; 200
2. Timothy Peters; 200
3. Bobby McCarty; 200
4. Greg Edwards; 200
5. Brandon Pierce; 200
6. Mark Wertz; 200
7. Matt Waltz; 200
8. Matt Bowling; 200
9. Justin Carroll; 200
10. Peyton Sellers; 200
11. Austin Thaxton; 200
12. Brenden Queen; 200
13. Alex Brock; 200
14. Eric Winslow; 199
15. Nathan Crews; 198
16. Jeff Oakley; 173
17. Maddy Ryan Mulligan; 159
18. Cameron Bowen; 117
19. Danny Willis, Jr.; 103
20. Terry Crews; 102
21. Jason Barnes; 102
22. Charles Barnes; 101
23. Dusty Ellington; 101
24. Stuart Crews; 99
25. Danny Edwards; 26
26. CE Falk; 7