He says he doesn't particularly look at points until mid-summer, and that right now he's just racing for wins and seeing how the team can do, but at the moment Lee Pulliam is atop the Southern National Motorsports Park rankings.
The two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion came into the Mom's the Bomb 320 twin-75 lap events second in SNMP points (fourth in national points) behind Tommy Lemons Jr. and just ahead of 2013 North Carolina state champion Deac McCaskill. Qualifying on the pole, Pulliam led the first 30 laps, eventually succumbing to last race winner David Garbo. Garbo held the lead for just ten laps before the Semora, NC driver rallied back, making a pass on Lap 41 to take the lead for good. A late rally by Garbo and McCaskill got both drivers within a few car lengths of Pulliam, but the checkered flag came too soon, leaving Garbo and McCaskill second and third respectively. Lemons and Mike Darne rounded out the top five.
By virtue of an eight car invert, Ryan Wilson took the pole for the second half of the twin-75s, but Late Model rookie Payton Ryan took over early with a three-wide pass off Turn 2 on the first lap. Ryan led the next 63 laps, holding off the field on a mid-race restart. As Ryan led, Garbo, McCaskill and Pulliam worked their way up from their mid-pack starting positions. By Lap 55, Pulliam had caught the Jonesville, LA driver. It would take another eight laps, but Pulliam made his move on Lap 64, using a bump-and-run past the rookie. The move also allowed McCaskill to slip by, with the reigning track champion holding onto second, while Ryan would once again settle for third, making it three of four qualifying races in which Ryan has finished in bronze position. Darne took fourth, while Myatt Snider finished fifth.
Pulliam takes over the SNMP Late Model Stock point lead by 12 points over McCaskill. Lemons Jr., leading the points coming into the night, suffered mechanical trouble in the second event, and drops to third as a result. Snider and Darne are fourth and fifth, respectively.
In Limited Late Models, Michael Fose started from the pole, and saw little challenge for the top spot. Point-leader Andrew Grady and Chris Chapman spent the bulk of the 50-lap event battling for second, with Chapman eventually taking the position on a Lap 34 restart. Chapman briefly challenged for the lead, but Fose was too strong, dominating the race and taking his first win of the 2014 season. Chapman held on for second, while Grady maintains his point lead by finishing third. Travis Greene finished fourth, while Haley Moody moves into second in points with her fifth place finish.
Gerald Benton and Robert Arch continued their Charger division early-season points battle, with Benton eventually getting the upper hand. Benton took the pole, but Arch took the lead early, hanging on for the first 19 laps. Benton took over on Lap 20, and quickly pulled away from the 2013 Charger champion, holding Arch back for the final 10 laps to pick up his third win in a row. Arch held onto second easily, while Jonathan Langley finished a season-best third.
Greg Barnette has returned to the form in the SNMP Street Stock division that he had been accustomed to. Unfortunately for Barnette, engine trouble was the order of the day, and Barnette exited the 25 lap event early. Gary Ledbetter Jr. took the pole and led all 25 laps, all while Kevin Benton tried to keep pace. Benton finished second, while Kyle Smith took third from a fifth place starting position.
In Ultimate Body Shop UCARs, Tyler Horne set the fast qualifying time, but had to start from the rear of the 16-car field. James Stroud took the early lead, while Horne slowly worked through the strong field. Horne caught Stroud, but ran out of time, with Stroud taking the victory. Lee Horner took third, his best finish on the season.
Billy Hall and Will Bristle swapped the lead three times in Legends, but a late race incident between the two gave Kenneth Tripp the late lead. Tripp held off a frantic charge by Brenton Irving to win, while Chris Stancil took third. In Bandolero action, Kade Lambert led his first laps of the season, but Blaise Brinkley led the second half of the 15 lap event to win, keeping his perfect season intact.
Racing returns to Southern National Motorsports Park on May 24 with the Memorial Day 290, featuring 100 laps from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stocks. Limited Late Models will take to the track for twin-35 lap events, with Chargers, Street Stocks, Ultimate Body Shop UCARs, Legends and Bandoleros all in action as well. Tickets are just $15 for adults, $12 for students 13-15 and both seniors and active military (with valid ID), $6 for kids 6-12, while children 5 and under are free. For more information, contact the SNMP track office at (919) 284-1114 or surf to www.snmpark.com.