NASCAR Whelen All-American Series’ Pulliam, Tillison Jr. and Holdaway Honored In Charlotteby Hunter Thomas December 12, 2015 0 comments
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The stars of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series were honored on Friday night in Uptown Charlotte during the annual awards banquet at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Lee Pulliam, Semora, North Carolina native was presented his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title in the past five years on Friday night. The 27-year old is now just one championship away from tying Larry Phillips and Phillip Morris as the only drivers to win four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national championships.
“I’m standing on this stage in front of thousands of people with this airing live across the world. Five straight years in the top-three in the nation, and three of those years as national champion. We all need dreams. We all need heroes. As a kid, I dreamed of this. I lived, and I breathed it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always easy. I’ve had plenty of struggles along the way to get to this point, but you know what they told me: ‘Anything worth having is worth fighting for’.
“So what I’m telling you is that I hope that there’s some little boy or little girl out here watching this with a dream just like me. You can achieve anything in life if you put your mind to it.”
Between seven tracks and out of 51 starts throughout the 2015 season, Pulliam won 29 races, captured 46 top-five and 48 top-10 finishes. He even won the track championship at Motor Mile Speedway. The driver of the No. 5 Kiker Tree Services Chevrolet also wrapped up his fourth NASCAR Whelen All American Series Virginia title, as well.
“I wouldn’t be here today without so many people being behind me,” Pulliam said. “I would like to start off by thanking my car owners, Travis and Eddie Kiker. I raced for years against them, while they had some other drivers piloting their cars, and boy did we have some battles. When they came to me and asked me if I would be interested in taking care of their equipment and running it out of my shop, I was floored.”
Just prior to Pulliam’s championship speech, his father, Stuart received the Lunati Crew Chief Award, car owners, Eddie and Travis Kiker received the Lincoln Electric Car Owner Award and NASCAR president, Mike Helton presented Lee Pulliam’s wife, LeAnne with a special gift. While on stage Friday night, he also announced that he and LeAnne would be expecting their first child, as well.
Thomas Tillison Jr. finished second in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I standings. He earned 15 wins, 25 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes out of 29 starts. The 2015 season marked the first year that Tillison Jr. was a Division I license holder. With the runner-up finish in the standings, he became the series’ all-time highest finishing rookie. Tillison Jr. was the series’ Oklahoma champion, and he also won the championship at dirt tack, Salina Highbanks Speedway.
“What a season,” Tillison Jr. said. “What an event, what a year it has been. To start out the season I didn’t know much about the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, but look at us now. I feel so very blessed to be on stage near the top after a year of competing with such an amazingly talented group of drivers, owners and crews. I have to thank God first and foremost. Through my relationship with Him from a very young age, I always understood that anything was possible through him. He is the foundation of everything positive that comes from me and what I do.”
Finishing third in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I standings was Canadian driver, Taylor Holdaway. In 22 races, Holdaway captured 12 wins, 21 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes. He not only became the highest finishing Canadian in the series’ history, but he also won the Ontario championship and the Sunset Speedway track championship.
“This was my first year racing fulltime for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points, and the intensity that it added is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” Holdaway said.
Other champions recognized throughout the night included: Division II, Kyle Purvis; Division III, Patrick Thomas; Division IV, Grant Brown; and Division V, Jack Kirby.
NASCAR also recognized the individual track champions, as well.
The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday night. You can watch a live streaming of the event on FansChoice.TV, starting with a Red Carpet Special at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the awards ceremony at 6 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: LeAnne Pulliam