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Morris staves off bounty hunters at SBS

South Boston Speedway officials put up a $500 bounty last week for any driver that could beat Philip Morris.

Lee Pulliam, a former South Boston Speedway regular who, this season, is chasing the NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division crown at Motor Mile Speedway, came back to try to stop Morris’ win streak and pocket the bounty money.

But, as others at South Boston Speedway have done in recent weeks, Pulliam, who has won four of the season’s first five races at Motor Mile Speedway, came up short.

Morris prevailed in a 98-lap green-flag run that followed the last of the race’s two caution periods to win the Bojangles Presents Whelen Night 150. It was the seventh consecutive win for Morris and his seventh win in the season’s first eight races at South Boston Speedway.

“I’m pretty disappointed,” Pulliam said after finishing .630-second, or about three car lengths behind Morris.

“I gave it everything I had. I just came up a little short.”

Pulliam made several runs at Morris but could never quite make his bid stick. The Semora, N.C. resident made a big run on Morris on lap 54, only to have it blocked when Morris deftly used a slower car driven by Matt Bowling as a pick.

He made another big bid on lap 124 as he and Morris worked lapped traffic. Pulliam tapped Morris’ car a couple times, but Morris again fought off Pulliam’s bid.

After that, Morris was able to gradually inch away from Pulliam and secure the win.

“I think Lee showed he is here,” Morris said.

“I’ve got the marks to prove it.”

Pulliam said he knew his bid with about 25 laps to go in the race would be his last.

“I knew we had to work through the lapped traffic and that that would probably be my last opportunity to rattle his cage a little bit,” he said.

“I rattled it. I moved him a couple of times, but he’s a veteran. He’s been there and done that before.”

Morris and Pulliam dominated the 20-car field in the 150-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division race. They finished almost a lap ahead of third-place finisher Justin Johnson of Durham, N.C. and Natalie Sather of Fargo, N.D., the only other drivers to finish on the lead lap.

“Who wants to lap that many cars?” queried Morris.

“He (Pulliam) wanted to go fast, so we went fast. I’m just glad to see that my car can run fast the whole race. My hat’s off to Sellers Racing for doing such a good job with the car.”

Josh Oakley of Rougemont, N.C. finished fifth with Dennis Holdren of Roanoke taking the sixth spot. Peyton Sellers of Danville, Frank Deiny Jr. of Ashland, Tommy Lemons Jr. of Troy, N.C. and Nick Smith of Hampton rounded out the top ten finishers.

Morris averaged 71.801 mph in the race that was slowed by two caution periods that consumed eight laps.