Pulliam Takes Aim At Martinsville
National Champ’s Next Goal: Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The newly crowned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion has one more mighty goal on his 2013 racing calendar – a victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Lee Pulliam, coming off his second straight NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship, will compete in the post-season Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 for NASCAR Late Models at Martinsville on Oct. 6. Eighty-seven cars were on hand for a test session on Sept. 25.
The race day includes four 20-lap qualifying races, a 20-lap last chance race, and the 42-car, 200-lap main event. Practice is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5.
“We’ve been testing our car for Martinsville at Motor Mile,” Pulliam said. “We’re experimenting, just trying to find that little bit extra in the car.”
A constant goal-setter, Pulliam, who won the Martinsville event in 2011, is on a quest.
“The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion hasn’t won Martinsville in their championship year,” Pulliam said. “We’d like to win it as national champions. It’s the race everybody wants to win.”
Five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champions have won the fall classic at Martinsville.
Four-time national champion (2006, 2008-09, 2011) Philip Morris of Ruckersville, Va., is the defending champion of the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 with Pulliam in second. Morris also won in 2010 and 2000. Barry Beggarly of Pelham, N.C., the series’ 1993 national champion, has three Martinsville late model wins prior to the modern era autumn event. Dexter Canipe of Claremont, N.C., the 1997 national champion, won the 300 in 1998 and the 1988 national champion, Robert Powell of Moncks Corner, S.C., took the checkered flag in 1999.
The race has a lot of history and prestige. The winner receives the traditional Martinsville grandfather clock in addition to the winner’s share of the purse.
Pulliam, 25, of Semora, N.C., never mentioned prize money in discussing his desire to win at Martinsville next month.
“We want to try to get another (grandfather) clock,” Pulliam said. “Standing on the winner’s stage with that clock is what made Martinsville my biggest win.”
“For late model drivers, Martinsville is our Daytona 500,” Pulliam said. “Everybody wants to win it.”