Lee Pulliam’s list of accolades in Late Model Stock Car racing already included four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championships, two ValleyStar Credit Union 300 victories, and wins in the Hampton Heat, Thanksgiving All-Star Classic, and Myrtle Beach 400.
Now, he can add a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway – and a pretty good rain dance.
Pulliam picked up his second CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour win of the season Saturday night, taking the win in a weather-shortened Late Model Stock feature at the Short Track U.S. Nationals. The race was shortened from its 100-lap scheduled distance to 64 laps due to a thunderstorm that invaded Thunder Valley.
“That was a lot of praying, moreso than a rain dance,” Pulliam told Speed51.com after the win. “It feels awesome to win here. This place has got a lot of history. I felt like I was on top of the world when I won at Martinsville. Now, to win at Bristol, that is just icing on the cake.”
Pulliam took the lead on a Lap 32 restart, as the caution flew for Bradley McCaskill stopping on-track with a broken control arm. Pulliam maneuvered his way around Myatt Snider, the defending winner of the race who started on the pole and led every lap in the first green-flag run.
“I just got a bad restart,” Snider said about the Lap 32 restart during the rain delay. “That’s why we’re behind. When I was out front, I was maintaining easily.”
Over the 32 laps that followed, Layne Riggs hounded Pulliam around the high banks of Bristol. The 15-year-old felt he had a car capable of winning but was waiting for the end of a full distance feature.
“I think we had a pretty good car,” Riggs said. “I was saving tires there to have enough for the end. I know Lee was slipping up a bunch. I think if we had been able to run to the end, we would have had something for him. I would have been able to get my nose under him when he slipped one time.”
Riggs also said he was unaware rain was in the area, and he might have pressed the issue further for the chance at a Bristol win had he known.
“I wish somebody on the crew had told me rain was coming,” Riggs said. “I might have run a little bit harder and tried something. It’s heartbreaking, but we had a fast car again, I think the fastest car. I don’t know. I just need some luck this year.”
The thunderstorm also postponed the Short Track U.S. Nationals Compact A-Feature to Sunday morning, scheduled for 10:30 A.M. eastern time. Race fans who purchased the Saturday broadcast on Speed51.com will be able to watch the Compact feature tomorrow morning as part of their Saturday ticket. You can also purchase tickets for Sunday’s pay-per-view by clicking here.
The CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour’s next race will be June 9 at Ace Speedway, a new track on the tour’s schedule. The Late Model Stock competitors will race for 125 laps at the Altamahaw, North Carolina facility in that event.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos
CARS Tour – Short Track U.S. Nationals Unofficial Results
Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) – May 19, 2018
|12||23||Terry Brooks, Jr.|