Charlotte, N.C. (October 27, 2014) - Dalton Sargeant and the No. 54 Lee Pulliam Performance team achieved a few firsts this past Saturday for ‘Championship Night’ at Orange County Speedway in the Late Model Division. It was the first time Sargeant had visited victory lane and first pole award on an oval track in stock car competition for the 16-year old rookie driver. It was also the first late model win and pole award for 2-time NASCAR Champion Lee Pulliam as a crew chief and owner. Sargeant has one previous late model victory coming at the famed 2.25-mile road course of Virginia International Raceway in August earlier this season. The Boca Raton, FL native will conclude his 2014 late model stock car season with two wins, and 23 top-10 finishes at 10 different race tracks.
Saturday, October 25 Dalton Sargeant and the No. 54 Lee Pulliam Performance team arrived at Orange County Speedway with no prior experience with the high-banked race track. The rookie driver only had one 12-minute practice session to get acclimated with “The Fastest 3/8-mile race track in America” but was unfazed and set the 2nd-fastest lap in the session. Sargeant then earned his very first pole award on an oval in stock car competition with a time of 14.33 seconds, beating second place by a mere one-hundredth of a second. As the green flag flew on the first of two 50-lap features, Sargeant started from the pole position and immediately began opening up a sizable lead. The race was slowed by three cautions, as Sargeant had to defend his lead on every restart from a veteran stock-car driver in the No. 44 of Justin Johnson. The No. 54 of Sargeant led all 50 laps to capture his first career win on an oval in stock car competition. With an invert of three, the No. 54 started in the third position for the second 50-lap feature. After dropping to the fourth position on the initial start, Sargeant came back to battle for the lead, but ultimately finished in the third position.
“Its really a good feeling to finally get this monkey off my back and get the first oval win in the books. It took a complete team effort and I cant thank Lee Pulliam and everyone at Lee Pulliam Performance for working really hard throughout the weekend. We actually blew up an engine really early in practice on Friday, went back to the shop and put a different engine in overnight. It just goes to show how hard these guys work, they definitely don’t ever give up. We came back Saturday and the car was perfect right off the transporter in practice, my crew chief Lee Pulliam made very small adjustments and we went to qualifying. I felt like we had a really good lap in qualifying, I was able to drive it pretty much anyway I wanted to and it had a lot of grip and barely got the pole. My first pole is special as I’ve struggled to qualify in the past, its something we’ve put some effort into working on and it feels really good to see some of those results. The car’s handling transferred right into the first race as I could really utilize the high line, up against the wall to make good time. We’ve been working really hard for this first win on an oval and I feel like we’ve come close a few times before this weekend, it makes it a really special night. Hopefully that first win is the toughest to get because it was sure tough some nights, especially trying to learn how to drive a late model and not to mention how to drive on an oval. I hope this win opens the door for more and the momentum we currently have continues into the final races of 2014 and on into 2015.”
The next event for Dalton Sargeant will come on November 1 at Caraway Speedway for the North-South Shootout with the PASS South Super Late Model Series.