Philip Morris Doubles Down in South Boston

South Boston, VA – A strong field of national and state champions showed up for the spring opener at the historic South Boston Speedway for their 60th anniversary on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

By the time practice ended it was clear that the track record from 2007 would be broken by a large margin but what wasn’t clear is who would be breaking it. Qualifying rolled around and by the final group of drivers, the record had already been bested by nine cars. Philip Morris rolled out in the final group of cars and ran a 14.731 (prv. record 15.314)lap to claim the record over eleven other drivers. Bobby McCarty was the only other driver to get under 15 seconds with a 14.944.

South Boston is continuing the passing points system this season but with a small revision, you have to drop back at least two places in the field. McCarty took advantage of this by dropping from second to fifth in the first race of the day.

Morris had the car to beat all race long but second through fifth saw some great racing. From lap one to lap fifty Kelly Kingery, McCarty, Tyler Hughes, and Peyton Sellers traded positions routinely with clean passing. On lap 70 Kingery got knocked out as McCarty went for a pass and wrecked the 57 car. Sellers would also take damage from the incident that would lead to him falling through the pack as he had some tire rub issues. After sitting back much of the race Pulliam started to push through to the top-5, he would get up to third before a green-white-checkered restart where he fell to 6th position. Morris takes the win with Dominion Raceway champion finishing in second. McCarty finished third, Hughes took fourth, and Rev Racing driver Madeline Crane took 5th after some early race troubles.

In the second hundred lapper Sellers hopped back into his main car after the damage to his backup car took in the first race. A ton of changes in the original starting lineup on top of the eight car invert made for an interesting start. Lee Pulliam ended up on the pole as Dean Ward put his son in the car.

Thaxton led the first lap over Pulliam as the second line started to gain some grip. A big wreck involving five drivers, Pittman, Crane, Ward, Kingery, and Crews, happened on the second lap. On the restart, Thaxton goes low and Pulliam goes high after seeing what Thaxton did with it at the start. Behind him they go three wide for second with Smith able to pull off the pass and Thaxton would fall all the way back to eighth. A long green flag run rolled along with Morris eventually getting into the second place with Pulliam way out in front. On lap 49 as Lee lapped the ninth place car and had was almost a half lap ahead of second the RD decided a competition caution was needed.

For the restart, Lee goes high and Morris goes low, they race door to door for two laps until Morris is able to clear him for first. Pulliam fell back a little but in a few laps, he was right back to Morris to put some pressure on him. On lap 83 McCarty came to a stop between turns three in four with a flat RF tire setting up a late restart. This time Morris goes high and clears Pulliam quickly. Behind the two Smith, Sellers, Pierce, and Thaxton put on a great show for third through sixth. Morris held off a late push by Pulliam to sweep the twin races. “I didn’t expect much out of the weekend but awful thankful,” the winner said in victory lane, “It’s hard to get a car like that and it just drove itself, all I had to do was not make a mistake, not burn nothing up and just hold on and not get outsmarted by the possum [Pulliam].”

I asked about his move to the high lane on the last restart and Morris said, “I thought it was pretty smart of Lee I didn’t expect it that he would take the outside and it was a real smart move. That was a race winning move. He was obviously just as good as we were and if I had taken the inside you would have seen the 5 car come around and be in victory lane.”

 

Race 1 UNOFFICIAL Results:

1.Philip Morris
2. Nick Smith
3. Bobby McCarty
4. Tyler Hughes
5. Madeline Crane
6. Lee Pulliam
7. Austin Thaxton
8. Dean Ward
9. Raymond Pittman III
10. Macy Causey
11. Peyton Sellers
12. Brandon Pierce
13. Tyler Matthews
14. Kelly Kingery
15. Jason Barnes
16. Trevor Ward
17. Stuart Crews
18. Danny Willis Jr

Race 2

1.Philip Morris
2. Lee Pulliam
3. Nick Smith
4. Peyton Sellers
5. Austin Thaxton
6. Brandon Pierce
7. Trevor Ward
8. Macy Causey
9. Tyler Hughes
10. Bobby McCarty
11. Stuart Crews
12. Raymond Pittman III
13. Danny Willis Jr
14. Kelly Kingery
15. Jason Barnes
16. Madeline Crane

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