It’s officially official.
NASCAR on Thursday legitimately declared Lee Pulliam the 2017 Whelen All-American Series champion following a series of events this week that altered the suspected weekly series national standings.
“It was one of the best phone calls I have ever received,” Pulliam said. “It’s been a pretty long week, I tell you that. But it’s all been worth it.”
It was such a long week because Kern County Raceway announced on Tuesday that it had disqualified Ryan Vargas from one half of a twin-35 lap race on Saturday night. That gave Pulliam’s closest pursuer, Trevor Huddleston, one additional victory and two more overall than Pulliam.
Pulliam was unofficially scored the champion on Saturday night based on the known results from both Kern County and Langley Speedway in Virginia where the championship leader chose to close out his 2017 season.
But NASCAR never officially declared Pulliam the champion, citing standard operating procedure based on an audit of the races both he and Huddleston competed in this season.
The Sanctioning Body recalculated the points based on Huddleston’s disqualification and determined that Pulliam was first-place by three points over Huddleston.
NASCAR Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.
Pulliam finished with 19 wins, 36 top-5s and 43 top-10s. With the Vargas disqualification, Huddleston finished with 22 wins, 31 top-5s and 32 top-10s.
He now ties Philip Morris with four career national championships (2012-13, 2015 and 2017,) one behind the all-time record held by Larry Phillips.
“They’re all special in different ways,” Pulliam said. “This was particularly special to me because of the hard work that went into winning it. It wasn’t easy leaving Motor Mile, leaving South Boston, places I was accustom to winning. We really worked hard and tested a lot of stuff. I didn’t know how good we were until we got into the racing.
“We just kept on it and it all worked out. We had to beat some really big names to do it, so it was awesome.”
In addition, Pulliam claimed the South Carolina state title to go with his North Carolina (2014) and Virginia (2012-15) trophies. He’s finished in the top five in national points each of the last seven years. In that span, he’s won 155 of 290 NASCAR points races.
It’s worth noting that the southeast (Pulliam), California (Huddleston), Quebec (Steve Cote), Ontario (Gord Shepherd) and Midwest (Jacob Goede) were all represented in top-5.
The complete list of NASCAR national champions can be found below.
|2017||Lee Pulliam||Semora, N.C.|
|2016||Matt Bowling||Ridgeway, Va.|
|2015||Lee Pulliam||Semora, N.C.|
|2014||Anthony Anders||Greenville, S.C.|
|2013||Lee Pulliam||Semora, N.C.|
|2012||Lee Pulliam||Semora, N.C.|
|2011||Philip Morris||Ruckersville, Va.|
|2010||Keith Rocco||Wallingford, Conn.|
|2009||Philip Morris||Ruckersville, Va.|
|2008||Philip Morris||Ruckersville, Va.|
|2007||Steve Carlson||Black River Falls, Wisc.|
|2006||Philip Morris||Ruckersville, Va.|
|2005||Peyton Sellers||Danville, Va.|
|2004||Greg Pursley||Santa Clarita, Calif.|
|2003||Mark McFarland||Winchester, Va.|
|2002||Peter Daniels||Lebanon, N.H.|
|2001||Ted Christopher||Plainville, Conn.|
|2000||Gary Webb||Bluegrass, Iowa|
|1999||Jeff Leka||Buffalo, Ill.|
|1998||Ed Kosiski||Omaha, Neb.|
|1997||Dexter Canipe||Claremont, N.C.|
|1996||Larry Phillips||Springfield, Mo.|
|1995||Larry Phillips||Springfield, Mo.|
|1994||David Rogers||Orlando, Fla.|
|1993||Barry Beggarly||Pelham, N.C.|
|1992||Larry Phillips||Springfield, Mo.|
|1991||Larry Phillips||Springfield, Mo.|
|1990||Max Prestwood||Lenoir, N.C.|
|1989||Larry Phillips||Springfield, Mo.|
|1988||Robert Powell||Moncks Corner, S.C.|
|1987||Roger Dolan||Lisbon, Iowa|
|1986||Joe Kosiski||Omaha, Neb.|
|1985||Doug McCoun||Prunedale, Calif.|
|1984||David Into||Hardeeville, S.C.|
|1983||Mike Alexander||Franklin, Tenn.|
|1982||Tom Hearst||Muscatine, Iowa|