Michael Faulk makes a lap around Myrtle Beach Speedway during qualifying for the 2018 Myrtle Beach 400 (Photo: RACE22.com)

Michael Faulk earned an unfortunate distinction at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday evening when an early mechanical issue relegated him to the last position in a 34-car field for the final Late Model event at the track.

While Faulk was unable to pick up a victory in his last opportunity to do so at Myrtle Beach, he has nothing but positive memories of the historic speedway and his disappointed that current and future generations of competitors will no longer be able to race at the track.

“I’m normally not an emotional guy, but it all hit me [on Saturday],” Faulk said. “This was the last time that all of us were able to come here with our friends and family, but it was all about having them come out here, celebrate the history and also thanking everybody at Myrtle Beach for what they’ve done.”

Faulk’s own family history with Myrtle Beach began during his childhood when his father Lee competed in both a NASCAR Xfinity Series and Slim Jim All Pro Series events, where he earned finishes of 16th and 34th, respectively.

Faulk made his first official start at Myrtle Beach during the Slim Jim All Pro Series-sanctioned 2004 AutoZone 150, where he avoided trouble to come home in the ninth position. Faulk matched that finish one year later in the Groucho’s Deli 250 for the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series.

The unique design and competitive nature of Myrtle Beach made the track special for Faulk, who frequently returned to race at the facility during the 2010s while simultaneously helping develop the careers of young prospects through Lee Faulk Racing.

“You always looked forward to coming to Myrtle Beach,” Faulk said. “Even if you ran bad, you still had a good time. There was a lot of history, but it was also a driver’s racetrack. You could win races even if you didn’t have a great car, and it was really cool to be a part of the last race.”

Faulk and LFR were also regulars in the track’s prestigious Myrtle Beach 400, where Faulk, drivers and fans were witnesses to many iconic moments that included Frank Deiny Jr.’s four victories and Lucas Ransone passing Deiny on the last lap to win the event in 2009.

In five starts, Faulk never visited victory lane during the Myrtle Beach 400, but he frequently found himself contending for Top 10s against drivers like Jamey Caudill and Matt Waltz, with his best finish being a 13th in 2011.

Preparation for the Myrtle Beach 400 and other endurance races like the Icebreaker was always different for Faulk and LFR, as they required drivers to utilize patience and conserve equipment, which often resulted in treacherous 30-car packs forming on the track.

“[Myrtle Beach] was kind of like Daytona and Talladega,” Faulk said. “When you unloaded, you had what you had. You could change the setup 15 times, but the car always felt the same. It was really fun sliding around three-wide with these guys and you really learned car control, which is why we brought our clients here. If you could run well at Myrtle Beach, you could go anywhere.”

Along with the intense racing, Faulk said that there were many other elements that helped create a positive environment at Myrtle Beach on a weekly basis, whether that involved working on his father’s cars or seeing general manager Steve Zacharias help out the competitors at any given opportunity.

For Faulk, the main thing he will miss about Myrtle Beach is simply being at the track, as he always entered every weekend ready to enjoy every moment he had with his crew members while preparing to race drivers like Sam Yarbrough, Justin Milliken, Will Burns and many more.

“My favorite memories of Myrtle Beach involve the comradery I shared with everyone,” Faulk said. “I don’t really have a favorite moment on track because we always enjoyed ourselves here regardless if we ran 20th or if we won. Everyone loves to win, but for some reason, just coming to Myrtle Beach always felt great.”

Faulk plans to continue supporting Zacharias and his staff at Florence Motor Speedway and is looking forward to seeing more short track traditions created at that facility during the current decade.