Car owner Travis Kiker watched his car, driven by Lee Pulliam, get tangled up in a late-race caution at the prestigious Late Model Stock Car race at Martinsville Speedway. Pulliam was fresh off the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship in the Kiker No. 5. He was also seeking his second grandfather clock for winning at the historic Virginia half-mile earning one in 2011 with his family team, but those visions disappeared with the late crash.
Kiker didn't know it at the time, but he and Pulliam would start a run after that moment that became one of the most dominating performances in Late Model Stock Car history. Over the last 11 months the team has gathered 26 wins after that disappointing day in Martinsville, including last year's Myrtle Beach 400.
The disappointment from last year's race at Martinsville got flipped around Sunday as Kiker stood in victory lane with his driver Pulliam after winning the same race that got away last year, the MDCU 300.
"This is unbelievable," said Kiker, who co-owns the No. 5 car with his father Eddie, after Sunday's win. "Lee told us with five laps to go to pray. We didn't have the fastest car. He just drove it and this is awesome. He told us before the race he didn't have the fastest car and the fastest car doesn't always win the race here at Martinsville."
Kiker, who normally is just in the background smiling after Pulliam's wins, was more excited than most of the fans who came out to see the biggest Late Model Stock Car race in the county.
"We had never won the clock until today," said Kiker. "If they drop that thing up on stage right now I am going to cry. I can't thank Lee enough. I can't thank the crew enough. Without them we could not do this. They had our pit stop done in less than 10 minutes. We can't do anything without them."
Looking back at a season that was filled with success on so many levels, Kiker is still in disbelief of how well things went in 2014.
"We had a great year," said Kiker. "Lee told me that this season was better than the ones he's had in the past. We didn't win the national title this year on paper, but at the end we got the Martinsville check."
Despite the high level of performance, Kiler was still humble about being in victory lane.
"Today we are the winner," said Kiker. " You never know when your last win will come. We could never win again after today. We are going to keep trying and as long as he wants to stick together then we'll stick together. I can probably say he'll be the last driver we'll ever have. As long as he wants to drive we will race."
The Kiker Motorsports team will run Southern National Autumn Classic on November 9th and the Myrtle Beach 400 to close out the 2014 season.
- By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Operations Manager. Twitter: @ElginTraylor. Photo credit: Speed51.com