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Pulliam prevails in Late Model race

MARTINSVILLE — Lee Pulliam scored the biggest win of his young racing career here yesterday, scoring a dramatic last lap win over Matt McCall in yesterday’s Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 NASCAR Late Model Stock car race here at Martinsville Speedway. Pulliam, of Semora, N.C., got into McCall’s car, forcing McCall up the track in turn three on the next-to-last lap to take the lead and held on to edge Brandon Butler of Sutherland for the win.

South Boston’s Stacy Puryear finished third with Dexter Canipe of Conover N.C. and
McCall rounding out the top five finishers.

Greg Edwards of Poquoson, Jeb Burton of Halifax, Coleman Pressley of Asheville, N.C. and Mike Darne of Mooresville, N.C. rounded out the top 10 finishers. Burton’s seventh-place finish came despite his being involved in a multi-car mishap on lap 197.

Bruce Anderson of South Boston finished 28th after being involved in a mishap with another car on lap 156. Anderson had run in the top ten at one point early in the race and had raced solidly in the top 15 all day.

McCall added to the day’s drama by ramming into Pulliam’s car on the cool-down lap, sending Pulliam’s car into a spin.

The dramatic ending to the 200-lap feature race occurred on the second attempt at a green-white-checker finish, which started on lap 206.

McCall had led since lap 166, but had had his hands full battling Pulliam and Butler through the race’s last three restarts, the first of which came on lap 196. He had led the final 69 laps of the first half of the race after taking the lead from NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion and South Boston Speedway track champion Philip Morris of Ruckersville.

Morris, the pole winner, had a tough day, falling two laps down as the result of a suspected fuel pickup issue. After getting back onto the lead lap, Morris’ car was involved in one of the day’s many mishaps, relegating him to a 22nd place finish.

Butler assumed the lead when the race was restarted with an invert after the halfway break, with Pulliam moving into second place on lap 107 and Davin Scites holding onto third place. Puryear moved into fifth place on lap 117 and remained there the rest of the race.

McCall took the lead for the first time on lap 31, overtaking Morris a lap after the restart following the race’s first caution period.

Once in front, McCall led until the mandatory break at the halfway point of the race, with Scites, Pulliam, B.J. Mackey and Butler rounding out the top five finishers. Puryear restarted seventh with Burton in ninth place. Anderson began the second half of the race in 14th place.

Qualifying race results

Jake Crum of Statesville, N.C., Paddy Rodenbeck of Odessa, Fla., Alex Yontz of Welcome, N.C. and Eddie Johnson of Midlothian were the winners of the four 25-lap qualifying races that preceded yesterday’s featured 200-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division race.

Burton started on the pole in the second qualifying race and led until Rodenbeck took the lead with two laps to go. Burton finished second.

Austin Thaxton of South Boston started tenth in the day’s final qualifying race and finished eighth.

The top five finishers in each of the four qualifying races advanced into the field for the 200-lap feature race.

Puryear and Anderson made the field during Saturday’s qualifying time trials, with Puryear qualifying 12th and Anderson qualifying 13th.