Lee Pulliam was on the verge of going a lap down on lap 40 of Saturday’s 100-lap CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour race at Myrtle Beach Speedway. However, when the checkered flag flew, it was Pulliam standing tall in victory lane.
The win is Pulliam’s first in the CARS Response Energy Tour, coming two weeks removed from a heartbreaking result at Tri-County Motor Speedway. While running second in the season opener, the alternator belt came loose after a piece of track had hit his car, ending his day. This time, Pulliam would not be denied.
“It feels like redemption,” Pulliam said. “We let one get away at Tri-County a couple of weeks ago. Track came up and knocked the alternator belt off. Man, we just didn’t get to show the car we had that race.”
Pulliam, who won the track championship at Myrtle Beach Speedway in 2017 which ultimately propelled him to his fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship, played the tire management strategy. He fell to the rear of the field at the start and paced himself, barely staying on the lead lap when a competition caution came out on lap 40.
In the final 60 laps of the race, Pulliam methodically worked his way through the field. He quickly worked his way inside the top-10 and then raced his way into the top-five. With 28 laps to go, he raced his way to third, then to second with 24 laps to go. After a battle with Ronald Hill, Pulliam made the pass for the win with 10 laps to go and never looked back.
“It’s so exciting to be in victory lane right here,” Pulliam remarked. “My team went through a lot. We had a terribly qualifying run, put out some strategy and it worked out. Ronald [Hill] had a really good car there and he was starting to get loose in. We were both sideways up off the corner. That was about everything both of us had.”
Ronald Hill went on to finish second while Justin Johnson, Josh Berry and Bobby McCarty rounded out the top-five.