Not so fast on Lee Pulliam’s apparent fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship…
The 29-year-old seemingly clinched the NASCAR Weekly Series crown on Saturday night at Langley Speedway in Virginia but a disqualification in California threatened to change the dynamic of the expected final standings typically released on Thursdays.
Kern County Raceway announced the disqualification of Ryan Vargas on Tuesday, two days after he won the first of two 35-lap Super Late Models features at the state-of-the-art California short track.
Track general manager Larry Collins said Vargas was found to have a 16 to 18-volt ignition system when track rules called for a 12-volt system. As a result, Trevor Huddleston (second in the NASCAR national standings) was declared the winner, and combined with his victory in the second 35-lapper, swept the night in California.
“In post-race tech, we pulled and inspected; carburetors, shocks, rear gears, and checked voltage on the top five cars from the second Late Model main event,” Collins said in an email to Short Track Scene. “The No. 23 (Vargas) was found to have a 16 volt system when the rules call for a 12-volt system.”
When asked about the impact this seemingly could have on the national championship, Collins said this wasn’t a targeted inspection.
“I’ve been in this business my entire life, and the least favorite part of the job is to disqualify anyone for a rules infraction,” Collins said. “But it’s a responsibility you have to all the teams that compete, that the rules in place are enforced equitably and fairly for everyone.”
To understand why this is important, here is refresher on how the NASCAR national champion is determined.
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 has 22 wins, 31 top-5s and 32 top-10s.
Now all eyes are on NASCAR as it audits the results from the 2017 season and calculates the official final standings for the 2017 season.