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Pulliam runs SBS win streak to nine

With rain close on the horizon, Lee Pulliam knew he could not afford to waste any time getting to the front of the field when the green flag waved for the start of the first of Saturday night’s scheduled twin 75-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division races at South Boston Speedway.

He didn’t.

Pulliam, the current NASCAR Whelen All American Series points leader and defending national champion, cleared Bobby McCarty quickly at the start of the race and again on the restart that followed the race’s only caution flag on lap 33 and raced to his ninth straight South Boston Speedway win and his 14th victory of the season at the .4-mile oval.

Not only did Pulliam enhance his position in the national points chase, he again thwarted drivers that were chasing a $2,000 bounty track officials had posted for any driver that could beat Pulliam in the first of the night’s scheduled Late Model Stock Car Division twinbill.

“I knew I was going to try to get to the lead, and then try to go, go, go because I didn’t know when the rain was going to get here and I wanted to be leading if it got rained out at halfway,” Pulliam explained.

“That (the win) was huge for the national championship. You can’t ask for any more than a perfect 20-car field-win. I’m really glad we were able to pull that out.”

Former NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champion and South Boston Speedway champion Peyton Sellers of Danville took the runner-up spot, trailing Pulliam by 1.334 seconds at the finish. 

Sellers used lapped traffic to aid his effort in wrestling second place from top division rookie Bobby McCarty of Summerfield, N.C. with two laps to go. 

“We were fighting some lapped traffic,” Sellers explained.

“They (the lapped cars) hadn’t been giving us the most room in the world when we passed them earlier in the race. I was thinking that if I can drive the wheels off of my car for a couple of laps and get to him (McCarty) maybe I could pin him behind a lapped car. 

“I got to him,” Sellers continued, “and he slipped a little bit getting into (turn) one and I was able to get by his door. Then we caught the lapped traffic at the perfect time and I was able to keep him pinned behind them a little bit.”

McCarty, who is chasing the national NASCAR Whelen All American Series rookie title, has been able to stay close on Pulliam’s heels for much of the race, but couldn’t make a serious bid for the lead.

“His (Pulliam’s) car was better on the short run and he could get out ahead of me, and then we would kind of stay the same,” McCarty said.

“We were running about identical (lap) times. He was sliding his stuff, so I knew he was pushing it pretty hard. If I could’ve gotten to him, we might have been able to race a little bit.”

Unfortunately for McCarty, lapped traffic came into play late in the race.

“The lapped traffic was crazy,” McCarty pointed out.

“They just move right over for him (Pulliam) and when I get to them, they try to race me. I thought I had second (place) and the lapped cars let the 99 (Sellers) catch us. He (Sellers) kind of pinched me up into the wall with two (laps) to go. It was two laps to go, so I guess that was okay too.”

Josh Oakley of Rougemont, N.C. finished fourth and Austin Thaxton of Cluster Springs, Va. completed the top five finishers.

Ronald Hill of Rougemont, N.C., South Boston’s Bruce Anderson, Brian Pembelton of Amelia, Mike Darne and former NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champion and South Boston Speedway champion Barry Beggarly completed the top ten finishers in the 20-car starting field.

Pulliam led the entire 75-lap race and averaged 73.845 mph in the race that was slowed by one caution period.

Rain that began falling as Pulliam accepted the winner’s trophy in Victory Lane continued, forcing track officials to cancel the night’s scheduled second 75-lap Late Model Stock Car Division race as well as the 150-lap PASS South Super Late Model race that was also on the night’s card. 

The 150-lap PASS South Super Late Model race has been rescheduled for Saturday night, August 31, and will be run in addition to the races that had been previously scheduled for that night.