One phone call changed it all for Lee Pulliam. 

The 25-year-old two-time NASCAR Whelen All American Series champion announced in late 2013 that he would leave his family-owned Pulliam Motorsports Late Model Stock Car team for an alliance with Kiker Motorsports that began with a win in his first start at the 2013 Myrtle Beach 400 and would continue through 2014.

However, the changes didn’t end there.  Pulliam received a call from long-time JR Motorsports crew chief Bruce Cook, now working for Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team, that would once again change his 2014 plans completely.  That call led to Pulliam landing a full-time K&N East ride for the 2014 season.

“Bruce Cook called me up,” said Pulliam.  “I met him a couple years ago at JR Motorsports and he called me up and said they had a ride open and my name had come up in the discussions of people that they would be interested in putting in it.  He wanted to know if I’d be interested in it.  And of course I was extremely excited about it. 

“I knew from previous experience and following the K&N Series that Hattori had really good stuff with Brett Moffitt and Sergio Pena,” said Pulliam.  “I was pretty excited about it to say the least, not only about the opportunity with HRE but for who I would have the opportunity to work with as well.”

The next step for Pulliam was to check out the program by paying a visit to the HRE facility in Mooresville, North Carolina.

“I went down to Charlotte,” said Pulliam.  “And I met all the guys there, Bruce (Cook) and Randy Goss, who will be crew chiefing me.  Everybody was just super nice and it seemed like they had a good program going on.  So I was floored to say the least.”

Pulliam will have a wealth of NASCAR experience on his side at HRE.  In addition to Cook, Pulliam will also have Randy Goss, another former NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series crew chief, who will hold the reins of the at-track operations.

As for the back-to-back NWAAS champion’s Late Model plans? Don’t worry, Pulliam will still spend his free time chasing victories as he did in recent seasons.  Pulliam will now also bring support from HRE and Bruce Cook for his Late Model ventures to further the HRE team-building efforts.

“I plan on running Late Model races on the off weekends as the schedule permits,” said Pulliam.  “Hattori wants to be a part of that too.  I think Bruce is going to come to a lot of the Late Model races with me so we can all grow together.  We all want to learn each other better and get acclimated with the crew chiefs and the car.  We’re just figuring out what we will all like and how we will operate at different venues.”

The first NKNPSE event of the 2014 season, the New Smyrna 150, will take place at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on Sunday, February 16.

Climbing the Ladder: Lee Pulliam
NWAAS Champ Takes the Next Step into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with HRE
By Ally Fulson, Speed51.com Deep South Editor - Twitter: @allyfulson