- Last Updated on 03:24 PM 05/10/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Lee Pulliam may be a couple of months late in getting started, but he could very well be a key figure in the chase for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship chase.
Pulliam won last Saturday night’s 150-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division race at South Boston Speedway, his first race since having to serve a suspension from NASCAR racing as the result of an incident at South Boston Speedway last October.
He did it in a big fashion, winning the pole in qualifying and leading all 150 laps enroute to his win over former South Boston Speedway and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Peyton Sellers.
It was a picture-perfect start for the Semora, N.C. driver who finished third last year in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings. Last season Pulliam won 18 races, logged 28 top-five finishes and 30 top-ten finishes last season during the NASCAR points season while racing at Motor Mile Speedway, South Boston Speedway and Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.
Pulliam also won the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway last fall, taking home the $25,000 first prize there. With last year’s stellar season under his belt, Pulliam is setting out in
another quest to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title.
“I feel good about it,” Pulliam said.
“We can still do this deal. It would mean even more to me to have missed the first two months of racing and still pull it off. We’re going to give it our best, do what we can and see what happens.”
Pulliam’s goal for the next few months is simple – win races.
“We’re just going for wins,” Pulliam explained.
“We’re going to run a lot of races from now to the end of the season. I’ve got races scheduled somewhere every week.
“You never know what will happen,” he added.
“We might not win nearly as many races as we did last year, or we could win more. We’re working really hard trying to get the car ready. The car feels real good, so I’m excited.”
There will be some new faces surfacing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship chase. Two of last year’s top national championship challengers, defending national champion Philip Morris and Keith Rocco, who gave Morris a tough run for the championship last year are not involved in the title chase this year.
C.E. Falk of Virginia Beach, who was also among the top tier of challengers for last year’s national championship, is chasing the title again this year and has had a stellar start to his season while leading the points at his home track at Langley Speedway.
“I think C.E. Falk is going to be the guy we’ve got to beat,” Pulliam pointed out.
“I’m sure some others will also surface up there. There is always somebody else surfacing up when somebody goes out. The competition is tough. There is no doubt about that.”
To maximize his effort, Pulliam said he plans to run at Motor Mile Speedway on the weeks that track has races scheduled. That is where Pulliam logged the overwhelming majority of his wins last season.
“They seem to have the best car count every week when everybody’s been running,” Pulliam explained.
“I feel that will help us out the most as far as earning the maximum total possible points. They (Motor Mile) got rained out, so we came down here to South Boston to race.”
Pulliam said car count is critical when it comes to earning the maximum number of points for each race. That, he says, is why he plans to race at tracks that have the highest car counts.
“Where we race will depend upon where the cars are and the points situation at Motor Mile,” he said.
Saturday night’s win at South Boston Speedway was a sweet redemption for Pulliam. He said “it’s been pretty tough” having to serve out the NASCAR suspension that was lifted May 1.
“But, everything happens for a reason,” Pulliam noted.
“I’m hungrier than ever, so I hope these guys are ready.”