Two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam has 22 Late Model Stock Car victories in 2014. He has been a contender for a third-straight national title, racing and winning events sometimes at multiple tracks through the course of weekends all season long.
But after a long summer of chasing points to keep pace with Anthony Anders, the South Carolina racer that had topped the national standings most of the season, Pulliam is re-focusing his efforts.
With a busy schedule of drivers competing out of his Lee Pulliam Performance stable and increasing frustration over the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series point system, specifically the way Anders has used his home track’s rules loopholes to his advantage to maintain the point lead, Pulliam does not plan to continue chasing points for a third-straight National Championship.
“We’ve got so much going on at the shop and the national deal is a joke. It’s over with,” Pulliam told Speed51.com. “You can’t win from 10th the way he’s doing it with start and parks. So there’s no need to even worry about it. I’ll just try to make a living. Anybody that thinks the national deal has even been possible in the last three months is crazy. You can’t compete against that.
“We don’t have anything to prove. We’ve won Late Model races everywhere we’ve been. We’ve had an awesome season. We’re sitting here with 22 wins and we missed a bunch of races at the beginning of the year. We won at four different racetracks this year. I think everybody knows that when we show up to a racetrack that we can go to victory lane. That means a lot.”
Pulliam won one of the twin Late Model events at South Boston Speedway in Virginia last Saturday to bring his total to 22. Many expected Pulliam to travel to North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway for Monday’s twin Late Model events to try to build that win total. Pulliam didn’t show.
It’s not that Pulliam doesn’t want to win a third-straight title. Pulliam just doesn’t believe he’s playing a fair game in the pursuit of Anders. Numerous media reports have indicated that Anders has a fleet of team cars boosting the car count at Greenville Pickens Speedway, plus other divisions’ cars taking the green in a start-and-park effort just to reach the 18 cars necessary for a full-points victory for Anders. NASCAR offiicals released a statement last month when the Anders situation was first brought to light indicating that track rules hold authority over the NWAAS rulebook, meaning nothing Anders was doing was in violation of the points schematic.
That doesn’t make Pulliam any less frustrated, however.
“I went to Greenville a couple weeks ago and it was a complete circus down there,” added Pulliam. “He was pulling weight off his car while I was there and all sorts of other negative stuff. I’m pretty ashamed of what went on down there.
“It’s disheartening, really, this national deal. We’re out here trying to race real cars. Me, Keith Rocco, Ryan Preece and Peyton Sellers and all these guys, we’re out here trying to race real guys and this guy is out there racing a few real cars, maybe three or four, and the rest belong to him. That’s pretty disheartening. It’s a big sour note on the whole series and it’s a shame that it’s going on, but it is what it is. Me and Rocco have talked about it several times and there’s nothing either one of us can do about it.”
Pulliam had gotten within 10 points of Anders entering this past weekend’s NWAAS events. Anders did not race and Pulliam won one of the two races at South Boston Saturday. When the updated events are revealed this week by NASCAR, it will likely show that Pulliam is even closer, but Pulliam isn’t buying into the belief that he can overtake Anders for this year’s title.
“I want to win a third one just as bad as I wanted to win the first one, but there’s just nothing you can do. They’ve already told us that even if I got close to him, (Greenville Pickens) was going to add races at the end of the year. You’re just not going to beat that.
“You’re just wasting your time, working yourself to death trying to win something. Why ruin the rest of your year when you can just go out and win races?”
Pulliam will continue to race in NASCAR Late Model events with hopes of clinching the NWAAS State Championships for both North Carolina and Virginia, but the days of going anywhere and anywhere to chase points are over.
“We’re leading the North Carolina state and should’ve taken over the Virginia state lead after last weekend,” added Pulliam. “This is probably one of the most dominant years I’ve ever had. It doesn’t matter the circumstances. What’s going on down there is just impossible to stop.”
Pulliam will be at Caraway Speedway this Friday for the NWAAS Late Model event as the crew chief for newly-added Lee Pulliam Performance driver Dalton Sargeant. Saturday, Pulliam will be back behind the wheel of his Kiker Motorsports No. 5 car with other LPP teammates at Motor Mile.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield. Featured photo credit: Speed51.com