SOUTH BOSTON, VA :: Hand it to Mother Nature to make her presence known for South Boston Speedway’s biggest Late Model event. In fact, she may have had a hand in making what seemed to be one great night of short track racing. The month of July typically focuses on the much hotter air temps and the effects it has on the race track but not on this night. After a brief rain shower at the conclusion of practice that delayed qualifying, the track dried quickly and most noticeably was much cooler temps. Race fans weren’t at all discouraged either before a packed house, saw twenty eight Late Models battle for two hundred laps and a five thousand dollar payday for the winner.

The evening’s race action began with qualifying as twenty eight Late Models took time. Phillip Morris was back at South Boston Speedway in a big way by claiming the pole for the race with a lap time at 15.769 seconds or 91.3 mph around the 4/10s mile oval. K&N East regular Kaz Grala would start to the outside of the pole sitter with Lee Pulliam, Deac McCaskill and Langley Speedway regular Matt Waltz made up a very impressive five best. Others clocking in fast were SOBO regulars Austin Thaxton and Peyton Sellers as was the likes of CE Falk, Josh Oakley and Bruce Anderson. Notably, all these competitors are some of the very best in the Mid-Atlantic and what you will likely see at Martinsville this year. No doubt there was a championship appeal to the racing at South Boston Speedway.

Green flag racing began in fine fashion with Morris on display showing the muscle built for his ride securing the lead. Pulliam would follow taking the two spot from Grala as the rest of the field would jockey a bit before going single file. Several laps into the event saw Morris sporting a ten car length lead as many of the leaders choose to ride a bit anticipating the races first caution in hopes of saving on the tires. CE Falk and Josh Oakley were some of the early movers in the race but back up front, it was all Morris. The race’s first caution waved for the spinning ride of Mark Keesee Jr and just like that, Morris’ lead was all gone. Back to green flag racing and back to another strong restart for race leader Phillip Morris.

At this point, Peyton Sellers and Josh Oakley were positioning themselves within the top five but not for another caution on lap forty four would bunch up the field. Back to green flag racing once again and this time Pulliam went to the high side of Morris to see how he stood against the race leader. After a brief side by side battle, Morris once again secured the point leaving Pulliam to get back in line in second. After a few more cautions before the race reached halfway, only once did Morris give up the lead briefly to Peyton Sellers, otherwise Morris was the man at the halfway. The field was inverted by five spots to start the final half of the race giving Austin Thaxton the lead. Back to the green and wasting no time was three time event winner Lee Pulliam making quick work of Thaxton.

Making some moves towards the front was the 2014 DHSTS race standout Matt Waltz showing third on the grid. But his efforts came to a halt after a shove in the rear from Morris sending Waltz into the wall and forcing the retirement of that ride from the race. Back up front, clean air was proving to be the key and it was best when out front as Pulliam had a sizable lead as Thaxton gave chase.  After a couple of cautions, one for the expired motor of Brandon Gdovic and the other for the spin of Dusty Ellington, business picked up for the leaders as Peyton Sellers on lap one thirty seven motored by Pulliam for the lead. But just as soon as Pulliam regrouped, he would go after Sellers and retake the lead on lap one forty two. Two more cautions to the race ensued which created a green white checkered finish to the event.

Peyton Sellers would have his shots at the leader but Pulliam was not to be denied. For the fourth straight year of this event, Lee Pulliam wins at South Boston Speedway. Gaz Grala was able to get by Sellers for second leaving Sellers third, Josh Oakley fourth and Timothy Peters fifth in the twenty eight car field. Just a thought to tonight’s racing, nearly everyone who’s anyone in the NWAAS Late Model division was there at SOBO for this event. Yes, there were some who didn’t make it but what made this race great was we just may have had a preview for Martinsville 2014. It reassures that the excitement and competition in Late Model racing burns as bright and hot as ever. You the fans, can only benefit and local short tracks around the nation are the best places to be.

Race Results

1. #5 Lee Pulliam
2. #31 Kaz Grala
3. #99 Peyton Sellers
4. #8 Josh Oakley
5. #17 Timothy Peters
6. #08 Deac McCaskill
7. #3 Phillip Morris
8. #73 Bruce Anderson
9. #83 Matt Bowling
10. #02 Austin Thaxton
11. #12 Dennis Holdren
12. #40 CE Falk
13. #2 Myatt Snider
14. #36 Chris Johnson
15. #7 Michael Maresca
16. #74 Ronald Hill
17. #38 Mark Keesee Jr
18. #58 Tyler Ankrum
19. #14 Dusty Ellington
20. #46 Brandon Gdovic
21. #2 Matt Waltz
22. #01 Dustin Storm
23. #77 Blake Stallings
24. #4 Nick Lietz
25. #34 Greg Edwards
26. #57 Eddie Johnson
27. #03 Brenden Queen
28. #1 Lin O’Niell