- Last Updated on 08:16 AM 01/13/14
- BY Joe Chandler
Four first-time champions were crowned when South Boston Speedway honored its top performers from the 2012 season.
However, there were several familiar faces among South Boston Speedway’s lineup of 2013 champions when the track feted its 2013 champions Saturday night at the Berry Hill Resort.
NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam of Semora, N.C., a regular competitor at South Boston Speedway over the past few years, was honored as South Boston Speedway’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division champion.
Pulliam, who won his second NASCAR national championship in a row in 2013, won his first career South Boston Speedway NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division crown in 2013, winning 16 of his 20 starts at the .4-mile oval and scoring 18 top-five finishes and 19 top-ten finishes.
Along the way, Pulliam won awards for leading the most laps and scoring the most wins and most poles. Pulliam also won the track’s overall Most Popular Driver Award.
“It’s incredible,” Pulliam said of winning the South Boston Speedway title and etching his name in the South Boston Speedway record book along with such names as the late Ray Hendrick, Sam Ard, Geoff Bodine, Stacy Compton, Elliott Sadler, Timothy Peters and David Blankenship.
“This was something that was on my bucket list at the beginning of the year.”
Pulliam noted that garnering 16 wins at South Boston Speedway helped a great deal in his chase for the national championship.
“There is no question these 16 wins were big,” Pulliam remarked.
“There were times (late in the national title chase) when it was suggested that we go someplace else where the car count was a little higher. But, I said no. I wanted to win this championship. It’s a big accomplishment for our team.”
Pulliam said Saturday night it doesn’t appear a title defense will be likely at South Boston Speedway this coming season. The two-time national champion said an announcement is expected to come late this week his plans to move up in the NASCAR ranks and compete in a higher-level series.
“If things work out like it looks like they are going to, we definitely won’t be able to run for the track title,” Pulliam said.
“I’m not sure if we will be able to be in contention for a national deal or not. I do plan to race every weekend in something. I’ll know more at the end of the week. I think we’ve got some exciting things about to happen.”
Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs was honored for winning the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All American Series Limited Sportsman Division championship.
The 2013 season marked the second title in three years for Willis, who scored seven wins in his 14 starts at South Boston Speedway in 2013.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me and my team,” Willis pointed out.
“You go to a race each week trying to win the race, and at the end of the year you want to be the one bringing home the championship. To be able to win two in the last three years and be a close second in the other says a lot for this team.
“We’ve come a long way in the years we’ve been racing,” he added.
“To have three good years like we have had is a huge accomplishment. It’s very humbling to be able to do something like this.”
Joe Allred III of Scottsburg was crowned as the track’s 2013 champion in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Budweiser Pure Stock Division.
The 2013 title was Allred’s third career South Boston Speedway Pure Stock Division title. He is only the second driver in the history of the division to have won three titles. The other driver to have won three division titles was Donald Brooks of Rougemont, N.C.
Allred won seven of his 14 starts during the 2013 season and scored a dozen top-five finishes.
“It (winning a division championship) is a pretty big accomplishment at this track,” Allred pointed out.
“It’s an awesome experience. There is always a lot of competition at this track.”
Allred said he just took things one race at a time.
“It was just taking it race by race and trying to finish the best you could each night to stay up front,” explained Allred.
“If you get wins and top fives you’ll win the championship.”
Tanner Rumburg of Beaverdam won the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modified Division crown. Rumburg, 16, scored one win and four top-five finishes enroute to winning the division crown.
South Boston Speedway will open its 2014 season on Saturday afternoon, March 15 with the Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100’s racing program. That event will be the first event on the track’s 17-event schedule, a schedule highlighted by six special events, two for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division, two for the touring NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and two for the touring PASS South Super Late Model Series.