Two weeks ago the smiles at South Boston Speedway (VA) were all for Lee Pulliam as he swept both ends of the Late Model Stock Doubleheader.
On Saturday night at South Boston Speedway the smiles were that of the two winners, both of which were not named Lee Pulliam.
Race one saw track point leader Matt Bowling lead all 75 laps en route to visiting victory lane. There was more to it than that, however, as he would have to hold off Pulliam as the two traded paint and rubbed sheet metal a few times over the final three laps.
“It was a great night and it was good to win the first one,” said Bowling. “The car got a little free, but we were able to hold off Lee there at the end.”
The win would allow for Bowling to add to his lead in the championship battle and race two was no different as he finished second to race winner Bobby McCarty to cap off a solid night. Bowling is looking for a second track title as he won the honors in 2012.
“We just missed it a little bit in the second race,” added Bowling. “It was a big gain for us tonight as far as the championship goes. We just have to keep going out there and winning races. We can’t get conservative; we just need to do what we did tonight.”
McCarty had a strong car in race two and was racing down race leader Lee Pulliam along with Matt Waltz. Pulliam and Waltz had put on a great show at Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway (VA) last month and this appeared to be another chapter in that book.
The tide changed when Waltz went low looking for the lead with 30 or so laps to go and the two made contact sending Pulliam up the hill. At the other end of the race track the story was the same and this time Waltz went for a spin and race officials sent both drivers to the back, opening up the door for McCarty who would cruise to the win.
“It’s been three years since our win and this was much needed,” said an excited McCarty in victory lane. “We took a spring rubber out of the right front and we changed the sway bar before the second race. We took a big swing at it because we are not in it for the points. We decided to go big or go home and it paid off.”
Waltz got to the back bumper of Bowling, but ran out of time and had to settle for third.
“From what everyone tells me he drove it straight down into three and into the back of me,” said Waltz. “It’s disappointing because I could have done that to him a few weeks ago in the Hampton Heat and I didn’t. Maybe we will have to change our style a little bit. We were here testing for the 200 in two weeks and hopefully we can finish the deal then.”
Pulliam saw it differently.
“He never lifted going into turn one and jacked me up the racetrack. When we got to the other end of track I went to cross him over and he just stands on the brakes,” said Pulliam. “I just barely touched him and he went around. I hate that it happened.”
Pulliam’s only real smile came when he spoke about the battle in race one and running with Bowling.
“It was a lot of fun racing with Matt in the first one,” added Pulliam. “Congrats to him on getting the first one. I know they have been working hard to get that because we are working just as hard to beat them each week.”
Experimental setups were part of the game plan for Pulliam who is already looking ahead to the 200 lapper at South Boston in two weeks and or course the Martinsville Speedway Late Model Stock Car event.
We will see who will be smiling at South Boston in two weeks.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com