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Pulliam, McCaskill split LMSC twinbill

“I want to get my picture taken with Deac,” Lee Pulliam remarked as he quickly bolted away from a post-race interview following the second of Saturday night’s pair of 75-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division races at South Boston Speedway.

The reigning NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion ran to Victory Lane and, with a big smile, grabbed race winner Deac McCaskill and gave him a huge hug.

That moment was a fitting close to what had been the most competitive NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division races of the season at the .4-mile oval.

Pulliam won the first 75-lapper, edging McCaskill in a five-lap sprint to the
finish that followed the race’s last caution period, to score his fourth win of the season at South Boston Speedway and his seventh victory overall.

McCaskill reversed the order in the nightcap, edging Pulliam in a thrilling side-by-side battle that consumed the last 20 laps to score his first win of the season at South Boston Speedway and his third victory overall.

“They (the two races) don’t get any better than that on a Saturday night,” Pulliam said with a huge smile. All you can ask for is to race hard and race clean for the win. I enjoyed it. They were two of the most fun races I’ve run in a long time.” 

The opening 75-lap race was a thriller, with Pulliam and McCaskill swapping the lead four times over the last 31 laps of the race before Pulliam scored a narrow .206-second win over McCaskill.

In the nightcap, the racing was just as good, with two lead changes among three drivers that included 2011 NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion Philip Morris and C.E. Falk, who was making his second South Boston Speedway outing in a car owned by Bob Unczer. Falk, who was solidly in the mix for the win in both races, finished third in both races.

McCaskill’s victory in the second 75-lap race couldn’t have come at a better time as far as his racing ventures at South Boston Speedway are concerned.

“This is a storybook ending,” McCaskill said after his victory.

“I really kind of didn’t want to come up here and race this weekend. We’ve had such a rough season that I wanted to take the weekend off. We didn’t come test on Friday. We just showed up today, didn’t buy new tires to practice on or do anything like that.

“This is a great night for us,” he added.

“Financially, we needed this win and second place finish.”

McCaskill has been noted for his success in racing in the outside lane at South Boston Speedway. It paid off for him again Saturday night.

Once McCaskill got past Falk to take the lead for good on lap 35 in the second race, he stayed in the top lane, battling Pulliam door-to-door for the last 20 laps before squeezing out a close .322-second win in a 36-lap dash to the finish that followed the last of the race’s two caution periods.

“When you can put on a show like that and after the race ride around and see and hear everybody cheering, that’s priceless,” McCaskill said.

“I’m so comfortable up there (on the outside).  I get such a good run off of the corner and that’s where I beat him. I had the same kind of race with Matt Bowling here last year. I’ve done it a lot of times and came out on top.”

Falk, who was making his second outing in Unczer’s car, was also smiling about a good night with his pair of third-place finishes.

“To be right there and be within striking distance of those guys is good,” Falk pointed out. 

“The better cars won. Deac probably had the best car of anybody and got his win and Lee was good, too. We’ll keep working to get better.”

Tommy Lemons Jr. of Troy, N.C. and Morris of Ruckersville, rounded out the top five finishers in the 21-car field in the first 75-lap race.

Morris finished fourth in the nightcap with Dustin Storm of Huntingtown, Md. rounding out the top five finishers.