Pulliam Looking Forward to Martinsville Speedway Under the Lights While On the Heels of Possible Fourth National Title
With the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officially completed, it is time for Late Model Stock Car drivers to focus on the “postseason.” A handful of big races that are held in the fall months once drivers in the Mid-Atlantic have completed their regular season at their local home tracks. There is no bigger race on any driver’s or race fan’s calendar than the ValleyStar Credit Union 300. There may also be no bigger name this year going into the prestigious event than Lee Pulliam.
Pulliam had yet another impressive regular season earning nineteen wins in forty-three starts over four different states. The Alton, Virginia driver also won championships at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina as well as winning the South Carolina state championship by over two hundred points. With Pulliam winning his fourth national title in the past six years it ties him with “The King” of Late Model Stock Car Racing. Raising the question, is there a new king rising to power?
The trip to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway was his first in over two years after he won the prestigious Hampton Heat in 2015 and, of course, could not make a trip if he wanted to in 2016 because of issues with the track. With the final weekend to earn National points he figured he would give the twins a go.
“We were just looking for a place to race,” Pulliam said at the end of the evening. “My guys and I have raced hard all years at different places and we hadn’t raced here in two years. Just trying to do something different.”
Pulliam would struggle as the afternoon progressed, qualifying towards the back of the field. Things didn’t get any better for him either; he would only make it up to the seventh position and lose a lap to the eventual race winner, Greg Edwards.
“We struggled all day today,” Pulliam told The Weekly Racer. “We were pretty fast here about a month ago but got rained out. Today we were just off. We didn’t test good, didn’t qualify good, and we didn’t race well the first race. We made some changes for that second race and we thought we were going to win it, just couldn’t hold off the No. 77 with the fresher tires, all-in-all we had a decent weekend.”
Pulliam, like most drivers hunting a national title, has certainly not had the easiest summers. Traveling throughout the Mid-Atlantic is no task for the faint of heart.
“We have been blessed,” Pulliam went on to say. “I got a great family and a great crew. Just great people surrounding us. Our business, Lee Pulliam Performance, is doing good, customers are racing good and winning races, I’m really excited about the future and proud of everyone’s hard work and determination to not stop and not give up”
With just a few days till the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 or Christmas as some of my fellow colleagues call it, Pulliam thought he had a good piece under him and was truly excited to race under the lights. Citing that it’s already a prestigious event but to throw in the new lights, it is going to be a good show.
“We had a good piece at the test the other day,” Pulliam said. “We were pretty good and had a top-five car. Need to make just a couple little changes to be better I think, but everyone needs to be better. As a racer you are never satisfied, you can win a million races but it is very, very, rare that I have ever had a perfect racecar and I think anyone who has won a lot of races will tell you that. I am chasing my third grandfather clock, I think it would be really cool to win and tie Philip Morris with that. It’s going to be a stout field and a tough race to win as always. I just hope we can get the job done.”
The race will be the first at Martinsville under the new permanent LED fixtures; however, it will not be the first ever. In years past a Modified race was held at the paperclip where the track used temporary lights. We asked Lee how he felt being the first event there and what it meant to him.
“I am definitely excited to be under the lights,” Pulliam said. “It’s a special event already, a big event, you add the element of that, and it makes it really fun. I think it’s prestigious to win that deal and then you add that, everyone wants to be the first person to win under them. It’s going to be a great show, the fans are going to get to see breaks glowing, sparks flying, everything. It’s going to be fun for everybody involved.”
Front gates will open to fans at 4:00 PM Friday afternoon for practice that will run until 7:00 PM. Pole Qualifying will start approx. 8:00 PM. Registration and the ticket office will open Saturday morning at 11:00 AM with the garage opening at noon. General Admission gates will open at 2:00 PM with an hour-long autograph session scheduled from 2:30 to 3:30 PM. The 25-lap qualifying races will roll off at 4:00 PM with the 200-lap feature race starting approx. 8:00 PM.
Make sure you follow The Weekly Racer on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with everything going on trackside this weekend.