Sam Yarbrough in victory lane following the 75-lap Late Model Stock Car race at Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 17, 2018. He's pictured with his wife Emily and his youngest daughter. Hunter Thomas Photo

Special to by Hunter Thomas/

Sam Yarbrough capitalized on a late-race restart to outrun Justin Milliken for the win in Saturday night’s Performance Plus 300 at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Justin Milliken started on the pole with Virginia’s Philip Morris alongside him. Not long after the green flag flew, Myrtle Beach’s Bryant Barnhill jumped out to an enormous lead. It looked as if Barnhill was going to run away with the win, but a mid-race caution bunched the field back up, and the race took on a whole new life.

In the closing laps of Saturday’s Performance Plus 300, it was Milliken leading the way; however, Yarbrough was right on his back bumper doing everything that he could to get by the Shallotte, North Carolina native. With just two laps to go, David Roberts crashed hard on the front stretch, setting the field up for a green-white-checkered finish.

On the final restart of the night, Milliken, who started on the inside of the front row, spun his tires, allowing for Yarbrough to drive to the lead. Yarbrough held on for the win with Milliken finishing just behind him in second.

“It has been a long time coming,” Yarbrough said. “It’s been a, I wouldn’t say disappointing, but it has been a rough last couple of seasons. We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are now, and it feels great to win again. A lot of great competition out here, especially this weekend. You know, with the IceBreaker and the Myrtle Beach 400, there are good cars coming from everywhere. If we can keep making progress and some steps in the right direction, I feel like we’re going to be able to compete in every race for, you know, at least until they switch up everything again.”

The battle up front between Yarbrough and Milliken resembled past years when the two local racers would go head-to-head for victories. Since Myrtle Beach Speedway has continued to build its special events and implement the bracket-style points system, more drivers from Virginia, North Carolina and other states have been competing at the NASCAR Home Track on a regular basis. Following the exciting finish on Saturday night, Yarbrough talked about how fun it was to race Milliken for the win.

“I thought it was exciting, you know,” Yarbrough said. “He’s a helluva driver. He’s out there giving it everything that he’s got, and that was a lot of fun racing. We were both slipping and sliding. I was able to pester him just enough to where he got his rear tires a little hot. It was just a matter of finding the right spot to get alongside of him, and I thought that I could get the job done.”

Milliken entered the weekend coming off a third-place finish back in February in the IceBreaker, the season opener for Myrtle Beach Speedway. Saturday’s runner-up performance was Milliken’s second consecutive top-three finish this year. Milliken was strong all race long, but in the end, he just didn’t have enough grip to hold off Yarbrough.

“Anytime you can out qualify Philip Morris anywhere, it’s got to be a pretty good day,” Milliken said. “We just used a little too much right rear up. It just got way too loose getting in, and then I couldn’t roll the middle quite as good as Sam. We probably burnt up a little too much trying to run Matt (Cox) and Bryant (Barnhill) back down, and it just bit us, and that late race caution, I spun the right rear real bad, and I just didn’t have anything.”

Tommy Lemons Jr. and Ryan Glenski finished fourth and fifth respectively. Barnhill finished sixth, followed by Morris, Trevor Rizzo, Lucas Williams and RA Brown.

1. 20 Sam Yarbrough
2. 02 Justin Milliken
3. 51 Matt Cox
4. 27 Tommy Lemons Jr.
5. 28 Ryan Glenski
6. 01 Philip Morris
7. 17 Bryant Barnhill
8. 8 Trevor Rizzo
9. 11 Ed Williams
10. 10 Lucas Williams
11. 60 RA Brown
12. 70 Stuart Ricks
13. 12 Blaise Brinkley
14. 63 Chris Throckmorton
15. 24 Craig Stallard
16. 2 Clay Thomas
17. 9 Devin Dodson
18. 15 Bob Saville
19. 18 David Roberts
20. 55 Travis Powell
21. 96 Sam Scarpelli
22. 98 Kevin Parsons
23. 61 Justin Hicks
24. 46 Thad Moffitt
25. 83 Jeremy McDowell
26. 81 Adam Murray DNS