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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) hit the banks of Myrtle Beach Speedway on Friday in preparation for Saturday’s 2nd annual IceBreaker that will be held on Saturday.
Drivers from all over the East Coast have traveled to the Palmetto State this weekend to try and win the prestigious event. The IceBreaker is a lock-in to the Myrtle Beach 400, and the winner of Saturday’s event will take home a $5,000 purse. On Friday, more than 20 drivers took to the track as Myrtle Beach Speedway hosted five NWAAS practice sessions.
Lee Pulliam, 2013 Myrtle Beach 400 winner, was very strong throughout practice on Friday. The Virginia native didn’t clock a lap in opening practice, but in the second session, he ran a lap of 20.670 and topped the speed chart. Pulliam followed the effort up by winning the third round of practice after running a lap of 20.697. In the fourth session, he was third, and in the final session, Pulliam clocked the sixth fastest lap.
“I think that the car has been pretty good,” Pulliam said. “We have been working our butts off on it. We’ve tried a lot of stuff, and we’re still trying stuff.”
Back in November, Pulliam, who finished third in the Myrtle Beach 400, had a prime seat if the JR Motorsports drivers of Christian Eckes and Josh Berry didn’t make it to the finish line during their thrilling photo finish. Despite only racing at Myrtle Beach Speedway a few times a year, Pulliam intends on performing well and contending for the win on Saturday.
“This place is just tough, and so we don’t come here but twice a year, so it makes it tough on us,” Pulliam said. “We don’t have a big notebook here, but we had a lot of speed, and the car is driving good, which is the main thing. I feel good about it. As far as our expectations, we don’t leave the shop unless we’re planning on trying to win the race.”
Myatt Snider is also a former Myrtle Beach Speedway winner, who was fast during Friday’s practice sessions. The 2015 Myrtle Beach 400 winner started off the day slow, only clocking the 16th fastest lap, but he was runner-up during the second and fourth rounds of practice. Snider finished out the afternoon eighth on the speed chart during the final session.
“We’ve been really fast,” Snider said. “Brandon Grosso (Cunningham Motorsports teammate) has been doing really well too, so I think we will both be good in the race, and I just feel good about going into it, and I’m glad to have Louisiana Hot Sauce on the car. I’m feeling pretty good about it.”
The IceBreaker that’s only in its second year bring a lot of momentum and excitement to the local South Carolina racing community. Being so early in the season, drivers are able to get a jump start on the 2017 season and in a big way, too. With a stout field, drivers are able to get an early reading on where they stack up against the competition. Winning the IceBreaker also ensures a big check and having a lock into the biggest race that Myrtle Beach Speedway hosts.
“It brings a lot of people out before the season really gets going,” said weekly Myrtle Beach Speedway competitor, Sam Yarbrough said. “You can see where you are and the gains that you’ve made during the off-season, how you stack up against the competition. There’s a lot of great competition here, a lot of great drivers from all over the Southeast and the North as well, so it’s a great event to really get the ball rolling for the season.”
Tickets to Saturday’s IceBreaker are only $15 for grandstand admission. Kids 12-years old and younger enter the gates for free, and the speedway also has discounts for locals, military and seniors.
Grandstands will open at noon on Saturday, and fans will be able to watch qualifying for all of the divisions competing at the track this weekend. Racing is set to begin at roughly 1:45 p.m. The Vintage cars will compete first, followed by the Mini Stocks, Chargers, Modifieds and then the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Practice No. 1 Top-Five Results:
1.) #11 Lucas Williams | 20.867 seconds
2.) #16 Colby Howard | 21.052 seconds
3.) #02 Justin Milliken | 21.082 seconds
4.) #61 Justin Hicks | 21.104 seconds
5.) #32G Brandon Grosso | 21.106 seconds
Practice No. 2 Top-Five Results:
1.) #5 Lee Pulliam | 20.670 seconds
2.) #2 Myatt Snider | 20.922 seconds
3.) #5C Tyler English | 21.014 seconds
4.) #16 Colby Howard | 21.121 seconds
5.) #61 Justin Hicks | 21.163 seconds
Practice No. 3 Top-Five Results:
1.) #5 Lee Pulliam | 20.697 seconds
2.) #95 Chad McCumbee | 20.719 seconds
3.) #27 Tommy Lemons Jr. | 20.909 seconds
4.) #16 Colby Howard | 20.953 seconds
5.) #8 Tyler Hughes | 20.981 seconds
Practice No. 4 Top-Five Results:
1.) #30 Brian Vause | 20.787 seconds
2.) #2 Myatt Snider | 20.901 seconds
3.) #5 Lee Pulliam | 20.940 seconds
4.) #83 Jeremy McDowell | 20.970 seconds
5.) #61 Justin Hicks | 21.029 seconds
Practice No. 5 Top-Five Results:
1.) #60 RA Brown | 20.984 seconds
2.) #61 Justin Hicks | 21.003 seconds
3.) #83 Jeremy McDowell | 21.029 seconds
4.) #32G Brandon Grosso | 21.033 seconds
5.) #32 Jerry Miracle | 21.053 seconds
Myatt Snider (2) was among the fastest in Friday's practice sessions for the Late Model Division at South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Speedway. Hunter Thomas, TheFourthTurn.com