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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For most NASCAR drivers, a 2014 résumé with 25 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins, a track crown at Motor Mile Speedway and Virginia state title would be something to be ecstatic about, but then again, most drivers aren’t Lee Pulliam.
Pulliam, who was the two-time defending NWAAS champion, finished in the top three in the final national standings for the fourth consecutive year. This time, however, Pulliam came up 12 points shy of what could have been a record-setting third straight national title.
“We had a phenomenal year getting 25 wins at four different tracks,” Pulliam said. “We came up just a little short of the national title, but I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.”
Pulliam is always looking for an advantage and opportunity to get better and despite coming off two straight national championships with his family-owned team. The 26 year-old driver decided to join forces with car owners Travis and Eddie Kiker in 2014 and the new partnership provided immediate results.
Pulliam and the Kikers first teamed up last November to compete in the Myrtle Beach 400 and they won the race right out of the box. The Kikers, who previously fielded cars for veteran late model drivers Frank Deiny Jr. and Brandon Dean, picked up the track championship at Motor Mile and the Virginia state title with Pulliam behind the wheel in their first full season together.
“After the end of the regular season last year, I talked with Travis and Eddie and we decided to go down and run the race in Myrtle Beach and see how we did and we wound up winning,” Pulliam added. “After we won that race we decided to partner up for this season and the results speak for themselves.”
Pulliam picked six wins en route to his third consecutive track championship at Motor Mile in Radford, Virginia. In addition to racing at Motor Mile, Pulliam also competed at South Boston Speedway in Virginia and North Carolina ovals Caraway Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park.
While the partnership with new car owners has been successful on the track, he is quick to credit his family who helped him get his career off the ground.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of my family – especially my mom (Debra) and dad (Stuart),” Pulliam said. “We have had an unbelievable run since we started racing years ago in a limited late model. I would put our current run up against anyone in the country and it all started with my parents and a lot of good people believing in me.”
How good a stretch has it been since 2011 for the Semora, North Carolina native? How does over 100 wins (97 in NWAAS sanctioned events) with a third place finish in the final standings (2011), and back-to-back national titles (2012 & 2013) in addition to this year’s runner-up finish.
Along with his success on the track, Pulliam has also ventured into the business side of racing, opening Lee Pulliam Performance. Pulliam prepares his cars out of the shop along with cars for drivers Dalton Sargeant and Rusty Skews, and also fielded a car last spring for Matt Kenseth to race in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Challenge at South Boston.
“We have a dedicated group of guys who help me with the cars here at the shop,” Pulliam said. “We built this shop on my grandmother’s farm. She (Muriel Dawson) passed away last year and was always one of my biggest supporters and she always believed in me. I wish she was here to see what we have accomplished so far.”
Crew chief Winston Brooks and crewman Chris Crosby work on all the cars in the shop with Pulliam, and when he isn’t racing, he’s at the track working with drivers who compete in cars prepared by the two-time NWAAS champion and his staff.
“I have to pinch myself with how things have gone for me in my career over the past four years,” Pulliam said. “It is a dream come true for me and we’re not finished. We plan on coming back next year and going after more championships. We want to win another track, state and national title.”
Pulliam will be recognized alongside champions from each of the 58 NASCAR-sanctioned tracks at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Dec. 12 in the Charlotte (North Carolina) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Lee Pulliam finished second in the final standings in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this season.