Lee Pulliam had led all of Saturday night’s Italian Delight Family Restaurant Presents “National Night Out” NASCAR Late Model 100 at South Boston Speedway, then a caution flag waved with 10 laps to go.
Suddenly, the outcome of the 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division race hinged on a 10-lap shoot-out with Pulliam and track points leader Peyton Sellers on the front row and Jeb Burton driving a team car to Sellers and young rookie Daniel Silvestri right behind them.
Pulliam got a good launch on the restart, Sellers lost third gear, and Pulliam quickly pulled away over the closing laps to take the win.
“We’ve had really fast racecars here the last couple of months,” the Alton resident said after winning for the third time this season at South Boston Speedway.
“It was a good restart. I think Peyton was having some transmission problems, too. It was a combination of it, but I dang sure wasn’t planning on getting beat going into Turn One, that’s for sure.”
Sellers, of Danville finished 1.270-second behind Pulliam, with Burton of Halifax, Silvestri of Great Falls and South Boston’s Austin Thaxton rounding out the top five finishers.
“Hat’s off to Lee Pulliam and those guys,” Sellers remarked.
“They had the best car tonight. We had a good car, just not quite good enough.”
Sellers started at the rear of the field, got up to third place by lap 25, and he joined Pulliam and Burton at the front of the pack after a caution flag waved for a spin by Mike Jones on lap 29
The top three cars stayed together the rest of the way, with Sellers putting himself in position to bid for the win by getting on the front row for the race’s final restart with 10 laps to go. Unfortunately for Sellers, the car’s transmission malfunctioned on the final restart.
“I had to start mid-pack due to winning two races in a row,” Sellers pointed out, “so I went on and dropped to the back (of the field) for the passing points.
“I lost third gear there (on the final restart). I’m not sure what happened. It just wouldn’t go into third gear.”
Burton said he had a fun night behind the wheel of Sellers’ back-up car.
“We qualified second and had a second-place car,” Burton pointed out after having run in second place behind Pulliam for much of the race.
“I’m glad to see Peyton finish second. He needed to finish second more than I did. He has a championship to win, so I’m glad to see that.”
Pulliam averaged 64.971 mph in winning the race that took just shy of 37 minutes to complete.
For Pulliam, the win marked a bit of redemption.
“We had a tough one slip away at the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway last week after we dominated the deal and got wrecked on the last restart,” Pulliam pointed out.
“This doesn’t make up for The Heat, but it’s a little redemption.”