Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) played host to the first big race of the Late Model Stock Car season on Saturday afternoon with the 125-lap main event during the Icebreaker 200 weekend. In typical Myrtle Beach fashion, tire strategy was the name of the game, and Tommy Lemons Jr. was the one who played it the best.
“This was a true team effort,” Lemons told Speed51.com powered by JEGS in victory lane. “We worked hard all week to prepare for this race. To put this hot rod in victory lane, nothing is sweeter than starting the year off with a victory.”
But Lemons wouldn’t stay out front for long as he went into tire conservation mode. When he decided it was time to save his stuff it was Justin Johnson who took over the lead with 30 laps complete.
Johnson led Lemons for much of the race until the yellow flag waved for the first and only time with just about 50 laps remaining when Jerry Miracle and Anthony Alfredo got together in turn four.
On the restart Lemons powered by Johnson from the outside, and from there to the finish it was all Tommy Lemons Jr. out front.
Lemons beat Johnson to the checkered flag by over three seconds. Sam Yarbrough, Dylan Hall and pole-sitter Snider completed the top five.
Last year’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Lee Pulliam was surprisingly never much of a factor on Saturday. He started in the third position, but that was the highest he ran. Pulliam stayed in the top five much of the day before his race came to a premature end due to his engine appearing to overheat.
For Lemons, this race gives him a bit of redemption. Back in November Lemons led over 120 laps in the Myrtle Beach 400, but he lost that race to Snider. He said he wanted this one badly because he felt like he let his team down in the 400.
“There’s still a sour taste in my mouth from the 400,” Lemons said. “But winning this one definitely helps it go away a little bit quicker.”
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by WhereRacingLives.com, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from the Icebreaker 200 including a one-on-one interview with race winner Tommy Lemons and highlights from Myrtle Beach Speedway on the Speed51 Network still to come.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Myrtle Beach Speedway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina