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Pulliam, Sellers prevail in wild SBS twinbill

There were few happy drivers following the second race of Saturday night’s Mobil 1 NASCAR Late Model Twin 75’s at South Boston Speedway.

Defending NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam was happy after scoring his third win of the season at the .4-mile oval in the first 75-lap Late Model Stock Car Division race and taking sole possession of second place on the South Boston Speedway all time career Late Model Stock Car Division win list. 

Former NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion Peyton Sellers was happy to win the wild nightcap in which he fended off Austin Thaxton of South Boston for the win on the last of three attempts at a green-white-checker finish.

Their feelings were tempered, however, by the events of the second 75-lap race that left several drivers with ruffled feelings and torn up racecars. 

“It caught me off guard a little bit,” Sellers said of the contact between he and former South Boston Speedway champion Matt Bowling as they battled for the lead late in the race and the contact while racing Bowling, Pulliam and Bobby McCarty for the win through the last series of restarts.

“There was just no give and take out there. Lee usually races cleaner than that. Matt Bowling usually races cleaner than that. I wasn’t expecting that. I hate those guys got torn up, but I’m very blessed we were able to take advantage of a good points night.”

Pulliam and Bowling crashed in the second turn while battling for the lead during the second attempt at a green-white-checker finish, with McCarty, who was fighting for third place, also going into the wall behind them after contact from another car.

McCarty was furious after the crash, openly showing his displeasure. Bowling and Pulliam also made no secret of their feelings.

“Bowling about wrecked Peyton two or three times,” Pulliam pointed out.

“That’s his teammate, so I guess he isn’t biased. He ran me all the way up into the marbles on the restart, just never turned the car, so I crossed him over in (turn) three and got under him and all of the way up beside him and before we even get to the corner he hooks a hard left and wrecks us both. 

“I hope he’s proud of himself,” Pulliam added.

“He’s wrecked a lot of people this year. We’ll keep building cars. Travis and Eddie (car owners Travis and Eddie Kiker) and them will keep building them, and if he wants to keep wrecking them, we’ll keep wrecking them.”

Bowling pointed the finger at Pulliam for triggering the crash.

“I gave him plenty of room,” Bowling pointed out.

“I think he just forgot to lift. I don’t know what happened to him. He can wreck people all day, it’s fine and dandy. It blows my mind. This the first time I’ve gotten wrecked and gotten cussed out for it. That’s a new one on me. It’s okay. We’ll just move on to the next one. If that’s how he wants to play, wreck somebody or something like that, I can do the same thing. It’s all good.”

Bowling was further frustrated by the way the track handles its race finishes. Under South Boston Speedway rules, if a caution flag is thrown after the race leader takes the white flag, the race does not end, and a green-white-checker finish ensues.

The former track champion would have won the race in regulation and again after the first attempted green-white-checker finish, had the track utilized the rule NASCAR uses for its touring series. He would have also won another race earlier in the season if the track rule was different.

“When the white flag comes out, the race should be over,” Bowling said.

“This is two races (wins) I’ve been stripped of because of that rule and several racecars got torn up because of that rule. Maybe they (track officials) will figure it out one day. It’s one of those deals they created.”

Sellers took the lead in the second race on lap 38 when race leader C.E. Falk III and Thaxton got together while battling for the lead following a restart. The Danville resident held the lead until lap 66 when Bowling, driving a backup car, wrestled the lead away. He led twice for a total of 27 laps in the race that saw the lead swap hands five times among five different drivers.

While Sellers benefitted from others’ misfortune in the nightcap, Pulliam benefitted from Bowling’s misfortune in the opening race.

Bowling was leading the race and had the field covered with the engine in his car broke after he had led the first 41 laps of the race. Pulliam inherited the lead and ran away to a two-second win over Sellers.

“There’s no way I was going to be able to beat him,” Pulliam said.

“We got very lucky he fell out of the race. He definitely had the dominant power plant under his hood. I’ve lost them that way before, so we’ll take a win like that.”

It was a good night for South Boston residents Thaxton and Bruce Anderson. Thaxton finished third in the first race and second in the nightcap. Anderson finished fourth in the first race and third in the second race.

“It was a real good points night for us,” said Thaxton.

“I really wanted to win, but I guess we’ll take a second considering how some of those cars look. I felt like we had a good car and felt like we had a good enough car to run with him (Sellers).”

Anderson said he was pleased with the way his night turned out.

“In the first race, we had a solid top five car and came out with a top five. In the second race, we were definitely not the class of the field and came home third, but we’ll take it. Usually we’re on the other end of that stick, going home on a rollback or a wrecker.”