After winning the Show Me the Money Series championship last season, the only thing left on Christopher Tullis’s Montgomery Motor Speedway bucket list was the Alabama 200. After Saturday night’s event, the Georgia driver did just that in a big way.
Tullis fell down a lap in the middle stages of the event by virtue of a strategy call to save fresh rubber for the end of the race. After gaining his lap back as the lucky dog, he put on new tires in the final 25 laps and moved his way back through the field, passing Chris Davidson with two laps remaining to score the biggest win of his career.
After falling off the lead lap, he thought his chances of winning the event were out the window.
“I’m not going to lie, I thought we screwed ourselves out of that one there for a while,” Tullis said on the Speed51.TV broadcast. “Once we got tires I knew we were definitely going through the field there pretty good, I knew it would be a matter of time.”
Tullis muscled his way past defending Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series champion Chris Davidson coming to two laps to go in Saturday night’s race. He chalked the finish down to the prize that laid ahead with an Alabama 200 victory.
“I hope the No.14 (Davidson) isn’t upset on the two to go deal there but this is the biggest race of the year for us. There’s two to go, you have to get what you can get. I know I wouldn’t enjoy having it done to me but we’re racing for a big trophy. I’d do it again if I had to.”
Despite the narrow defeat, Davidson was not left too disappointed on the frontstretch following the race. He focused on the positives gained from the night, one of which was a pass on Augie Grill following a late-race restart that gave him a chance to steal the win.
“We were good all night. They said he (Tullis) got tires much later than we did,” Davidson said. “We passed everybody we were supposed to except the two cars [Matt Craig & Jake Garcia] that got taken out earlier. I don’t want to negate that because they were really good. We just need a little different tire strategy because the car was awesome.”
Matt Craig looked to be the class of the field after setting fast time in qualifying earlier in the day. He led 118 of the first 121 laps before his race would end prematurely after contact from Jordan McCallum following a restart.
The defending CARS Super Late Model Tour champion took four tires during the yellow, while McCallum stayed out to play the strategy game. Craig gave his thoughts on what transpired during the restart.
“We all pitted and put new tires on and the No.11 stayed out, I don’t know if he put new tires on earlier or he was going to wait to put tires on. We just went off into the corner, I had fresh tires and he had old tires,” Craig told Speed51. “As soon as we drove off into one I knew he drove in there as deep as I did and I knew he wasn’t going to stick. I tried to throttle up to get away from him but he clipped me.
“There ain’t a whole lot to say about it, you just have to be smarter out there. It’s just a part of racing, if you’re on old tires you can’t drive it in there that hard. Your tires don’t have the grip anymore.”
Defending Alabama 200 winner Jake Garcia’s race would also end after the incident. He had driven from the 17th starting spot to third before the restart, making the majority of his moves under green flag conditions.
“The 11 [McCallum] drove it deep in there until he saw Jesus. He lost it by himself and spun into the No. 54 [Craig] and I had nowhere to go,” Garcia said. “There wasn’t really anything I could do at that point.”
Former Show Me the Money Series champions John Bolen and Augie Grill finished third and fourth, while Jett Noland rounded out the top-five.
A full replay of Saturday’s race can be viewed now on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51
Alabama 200 Results:
- Christopher Tullis
- Chris Davidson
- John Bolen
- Augie Grill
- Jett Noland
- Justin Bonnett
- Chase Spradlin
- Kyle Plott
- Johanna Robbins
- Hunter Wright
- Mason Keller
- JoJo Wilkinson
- Jeff Dawkins
- Kason Plott
- David Killian
- Jim Wall
- Jordan McCallum
- Jeremy Williams
- Gage Rodgers
- Matt Craig
- Jake Garcia
- Hudson Halder
- Jason Furrow
- Pat Cruise
- Michael Hinde