In his first year competing in Late Model Stock Cars, 15-year-old Brayton Haws has had a season full of ups and downs. Lucky for him, his 2014 season at Southern National Motorsports Park ended at its highest peak on Sunday afternoon. Haws, of Youngsville, North Carolina, worked his way around Matt Bowling on lap 161 and went on to win the Autumn Classic and a $10,000 paycheck on a cool, fall day in the Tar Heel State.
The win for Haws is the second of the year for him at SNMP, but certainly serves as the biggest Late Model Stock Car win of his young career.
"We were just trying to save tires, but when it was 15 (laps) to go all I heard over the radio was strike and go,” said Haws in victory lane after the race. “Now here we are in victory lane holding a 10 thousand dollar check."
Lee Pulliam, fresh off of a $25,000 pay day in the MDCU at Martinsville Speedway (VA), started from the outside pole and led the first 100 laps of the event prior to the halfway break. However, as the yellow flag waved for the break, Pulliam’s No. 5 machine began to slow and would need the assistance of a push truck to the pit area.
Once pushed to the pit area, Pulliam would announce that his day at Southern National was over due to transmission problems.
“We had a really, really good race car,” said Pulliam. “At least we got the halfway money. The car was good and we were trying not to push it too hard early on. ”
Matt Bowling was the beneficiary of Pulliam’s misfortune as he led the field back to green for the second half of the 200-lap event. Bowling fended off a challenge from Boston, Massachusetts driver Kaz Grala before Haws closed in on his back bumper to challenge for the race lead.
As the two leaders worked over lapped traffic, Haws made the $10,000 move by Bowling for the lead and never looked back.
Todd Gilliland would make a strong charge at the end of the race to finish second, while Jamey Caudill took the final podium spot. Grala and Connecticut driver David Garbo rounded out the top-five. Bowling would wind up finishing sixth after leading 60 laps in the second half of the race.
Sunday’s Autumn Classic closed out the season for the Late Model Stock Cars at Southern National Motorsports Park. A number of the same faces battling up front in today’s event will next be competing in the Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway in Virginia on November 23.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51