NASCAR Late Model 300 presented by Danville Toyota: Morris Edges Pulliam In SBS Thriller
SOUTH BOSTON, VA. -Philip Morris fended off Lee Pulliam in a two-lap dash to the finish to win the NASCAR Late Model 300 Presented By Danville Toyota here Saturday at South Boston Speedway.
Morris took home $10,500 for his day's work, taking the $10,000 first prize and a $500 Halfway Leader Award for being the race leader at the halfway mark.
The win was Morris' second win of the season at South Boston Speedway. It also put Morris on top in career NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division race wins at South Boston Speedway.
The win was Morris' 35th career Late Model Stock Car Division race win. His win allowed him to surpass the 34-win mark set by former South Boston Speedway NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division champions Barry Beggarly and David Blankenship.
Morris, of Ruckersville, Va., took the lead from pole winner Pulliam on lap 40 and held it for the next 253 laps. The former South Boston Speedway and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion dominated most of the race, only to see two late caution periods set up a dramatic battle for the win.
The first came with 13 laps to go when Morris and Brandon Dean made contact as Morris was attempting lap Dean. Dean's car spun and crashed into the second turn wall with Scott Turlington and Terry Carroll also spinning in the first turn.
That allowed Pulliam to close up on Morris and start beside him on the outside on the ensuing double-file restart with seven laps to go.
Pulliam grabbed the lead with six laps to go as the pair raced side-by-side, only to have Morris surge past him just before a spin by Natalie Sather brought out the caution flag with six laps to go.
Another double-file restart with two laps to go set the stage for a dramatic finish which saw Pulliam inch in front with one lap to go. Morris made another surge on the final lap and grabbed the lead in the wake of contact between the two cars.
Morris edged Pulliam at the line by .090 second, or about a car length.
Eddie Johnson of Midlothian, Va., last year's race winner, almost pulled off another miracle, driving from his 28th starting position to finish third. Stacy Puryear of South Boston, Va. and David Latour of Advance, N.C. rounded out the top five finishers.
Mark Wertz of Virginia Beach, Va., Dennis Holdren of Roanoke, Va., Sather, Tommy Lemons of Troy, N.C. and Michael Hardin of Pomfret, Md. rounded out the top ten finishers.
Morris led three times for a total of 259 laps. Pulliam, who took home $6,500 for his efforts, led three times for 41 laps.
Mark McFarland of Mooresville, N.C. and Bruce Anderson of South Boston, Va. won the two 25-lap qualifying heat races that preceded the day's 300-lap feature race.
Morris averaged 52.154 mph in the race that was slowed by seven caution flags and two red flags.