Record-Setter Lee Pulliam a Dominant Force as Driver, Car Owner in Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway

When it comes to the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway one name instantly comes to mind – Lee Pulliam.

The Alton, Virginia resident is a dominant figure, having won the race a record six straight years (2011-2016) and having won the race in 2022 as a car owner. Three of Pulliam’s victories came during the first three years that the event has been held under the sponsorship of Danville, Virginia-based Thunder Road Harley-Davidson.

That record is one that will likely stand for a long while.

“It is a streak that’s very special for me,” Pulliam remarked. “In hindsight looking back, it was a pretty incredible feat. It’s kind of crazy to think six straight years you won one of the biggest crown jewel events in Late Model Stock racing.”

Many people want to know the secret to Pulliam’s ability to compile that streak. As it turns out, it was pretty simple.

“You’ve just got to be smart,” Pulliam explained. “I always tried to put myself in a good situation when I raced. In those big races, it’s a thing of survival, knowing when to go, knowing where to be at certain stages, knowing what to do to make your car better as the night goes on, how to move around on the track, and then just the fire to get it done. It’s a ‘I’m not going to lose’ attitude.”

Pulliam’s success in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 extends beyond his time behind the wheel. He won the event as a car owner in 2022 when Corey Heim edged Jacob Borst by a foot when they crashed and took the checkered flag sliding sideways across the finish line.

“That was a cool feeling,” Pulliam said of that victory which gave him seven career wins in the event. “It was bittersweet because we got wrecked crossing the finish line. It was one of those wins that I enjoyed the heck out of it, but at the same token, I knew my car was torn all to pieces.”

Success continued for Pulliam last season when his driver, Brendan “Butterbean” Queen, finished second after having won the pole and led the most laps. When asked what advice he will give Queen in the June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway Pulliam said “he and I will communicate what we need to do throughout the night. It’s not one thing you can do to win these races. As the race evolves you have to see who you’re racing against and how they’re performing.

“It’s like playing chess,” he added. “You can’t do the same thing every single time. It’s a constantly changing game.”

Based on his recent success at South Boston Speedway and the performance of Pulliam’s race team, Queen is considered as one of the top contenders to take the win in the 200-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division race that serves as the opening race of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown and pays $10,000 to win.

The Chesapeake, Virginia resident is second in the zMax CARS Tour Late Model Stock point standings and has two wins, two pole wins, and four Top-5 finishes in eight starts. He was the runner-up in the 2023 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200, and finished fourth in the 2023 CARS Tour race at South Boston Speedway.  He enters the race fresh off of having won the Cars Tour race on June 15 at Dominion Raceway.

“I’m always excited to get back to South Boston Speedway for any race, but especially the ‘200,’ Queen remarked. “It’s one I always have circled every year. It’s a crown jewel Late Model race. Winning this race would be one of the biggest wins for me just because I’ve never won at South Boston Speedway. This race and Martinsville are pretty much the only crown jewel races I haven’t won, so it would be right up there of one of my biggest wins just because of the prestige of it and South Boston Speedway is a track I’ve wanted to win at for a long time.”

Queen is facing a critical weekend as he will be making his second career start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota on Friday night, June 28 at Nashville Superspeedway. He will fly back to compete in the Saturday night, June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway for Pulliam’s team.

“This is the moment you live for and dream of doing, getting this opportunity to go run the truck,” said Queen who finished fourth in the truck in his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at North Wilkesboro Speedway earlier this season. “I’m super excited to be able to try to pull off the double. It’s a big deal for me. The truck race is obviously very, very important, having that opportunity to try to prove I belong in the next upper series. I’m a short track guy at heart so getting to fly back and have another race on Saturday with my Lee Pulliam Performance team will be an exciting weekend.”

Lee Pulliam Performance will also be fielding a car for an up-and-coming driver, Isabella Robusto in the June 29 Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200.

“She’s definitely got a lot of fire and passion,” Pulliam said. “She wants to prove she belongs. She’s trying to move along too, and she is also racing an ARCA car. Both of my drivers have a bright future.”

Looking ahead to the June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway Pulliam noted, “It’s going to be a heck of a show. If you’re a race fan you’re not going to want to miss it.”

The June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 is South Boston Speedway’s premier showcase event for the Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division with the best-of-the-best of the country’s Late Model Stock Car Division competing in the 200-lap race that pays $10,000 to win.

In addition to the 200-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division race fans will see a 40-lap race for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 20-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division and a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division rounding out the four-race card.

A colorful Fourth of July fireworks show will be held immediately following the final race of the night and special patriotic festivities are slated during pre-race ceremonies. Fans will also be treated to a driver autograph session that is scheduled as part of the event’s festivities.

Fans can watch the on-track action free from the track’s spectator areas on Friday, June 28 during Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 Practice Day.

Advance adult general admission tickets are priced at $20 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, or by calling the speedway office at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.

Tickets at the gate on race day will be $25 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $20 each at the gate on race day.

The June 29 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 event schedule has frontstretch grandstand gates and competitor registration and pit gates opening at 10 a.m. Rotating practice sessions for the four racing divisions will run from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division group qualifying will begin at 4:15 p.m. A driver autograph session will be held from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the first race of the night will get the green flag at 7 p.m.

Fans and competitors can find the latest updates and information about the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 and all South Boston Speedway events on the speedway’s website and through the track’s social media channels. Information may also be obtained by phoning the speedway at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.