All of the big names in Late Model Stock Car racing turn out to Martinsville Speedway (VA) every year for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.  But even with all of those big names like Lee Pulliam, Matt Bowling, Tommy Lemons, and Peyton Sellers here, an underdog of sorts claimed the pole for Sunday’s 200-lap race.

 

Mike Looney, a two-time winner this year at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway, ripped off a lap of 20.323 seconds to win the pole.  Looney will share the front row with Pulliam, a former winner of this race.  Looney and Pulliam have the only guaranteed starting spots.  The remaining 69 cars will have to race their way into the feature through the heat races.

 

PFC ZR94 300x250“I had a feeling, but I didn’t dare think it,” Looney told Speed51.com powered by JEGS when asked if he thought he could win the pole.  “I thought it would be arrogant to think we’d have a chance at the pole.  It crossed my mind, but I didn’t want to think about it and jinx ourselves.”

 

While Looney told the media after qualifying that he doesn’t necessarily like the underdog moniker that his team has, he says its hard to disagree with it.

 

“If you looked at our check book you could call us underdogs all year long,” he said.  “I don’t feel like an underdog when I’m driving, but you can only be as good as your equipment.  I’m just fortunate I have really good equipment this year.  I’m really blessed.”

 

Ryan Repko was another driver that surprised many with his speed in qualifying.  The 17-year-old driver turned in the third-fastest lap in his first attempt at the ValleyStar Credit Union 300. His lap was a time of 20.354 seconds.

Pulliam, a two-time winner of this race, grabbed the second guaranteed starting spot. (Speed51.com photo)

Pulliam, a two-time winner of this race, grabbed the second guaranteed starting spot. (Speed51.com photo)

“It’s huge being close to the top of the board with all these big names here,” said Repko.

 

Repko said he learned how to drive Martinsville like any other 17-year-old kid: video games.

 

“I ran iRacing to try to get as much experience as I could,” Repko said.  “I also watched a lot of YouTube videos.”

 

One driver that has plenty of experience in Late Model Stocks at just about every one of their tracks is this year’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Matt Bowling.

 

When looking at the qualifying results, one would think that Bowling didn’t have the greatest run, but after being near the 21st position on the board for much of practice, Bowling’s qualifying time of 20.421 seconds was a pretty good one.  It put Bowling seventh of the 71 cars to take time.

 

“We were a little off in practice,” Bowling said.  “We just didn’t have the speed we needed.  We definitely freed it up for qualifying.  It was a whole lot better.  I’m pretty happy with that run.  We’ll see what happens.  I think we have a good piece for the race.”

 

Sunday’s on-track action begins with heat racing at noon ET.  Speed51.com will be live with Trackside Now coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET.

 

For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Centroid Machines and Five Star Race Car Bodies, click here.

 

-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

 

ValleyStar Credit Union 300

Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia

Qualifying Results

 

1 87 Mike Looney 20.323
2 5 Lee Pulliam 20.342
3 14 Ryan Repko 20.354
4 04 CE Faulk 20.383
5 08 Deac McCaskill 20.390
6 17A Stacey Puryear 20.392
7 83 Matt Bowling 20.421
8 27 Tommy Lemons Jr 20.428
9 88 Josh Berry 20.435
10 02 Brandon Butler 20.448
11 33 Macy Causey 20.456
12 01 Phillip Morris 20.460
13 12 Nick Smith 20.463
14 26A Danny Edwards 20.464
15 22 Trevor Noles 20.478
16 17 Ryan Millington 20.487
17 12B Bobby McCarty 20.501
18 15 Kres Van Dyke 20.502
19 2A Myatt Snider 20.507
20 97 Greg Edwards 20.518
21 1A Christian Eckes 20.524
22 63 Tyler Matthew 20.532
23 4C Annabeth   Barnes-Crum 20.534
24 4 Dylan Hall 20.536
25 57 Justin Carroll 20.541
26 03 Brenden Queen 20.546
27 24 Mason Diaz 20.546
28 50 Ross Dalton 20.552
29 73 Bruce Anderson 20.554
30 98 Stephan Parsons 20.555
31 4A Kyle Dudley 20.558
32 16 RD Smith 20.561
33 54 Michael Fose 20.568
34 20 Sam Yarbrough 20.574
35 21A Travis Swaim 20.581
36 99 Layne Riggs 20.590
37 50A Garrett Bunch 20.599
38 2 Brendan Pierce 20.602
39 51 Chris Chapman 20.608
40 01A GR Waldrop 20.616
41 98A BJ Mackey 20.617
42 21 Mike Darne 20.622
43 12C Ryan Wilson 20.623
44 12A Austin Thaxton 20.634
45 81B Patrick Coleman 20.636
46 5A Tyler English 20.642
47 18 Bradley   McCaskill 20.669
48 41 Haley Moody 20.686
49 18A Jason York 20.693
50 21B Jimmy Wallace 20.715
51 1 Jamie Sweeny 20.728
52 55 Mark Wertz 20.729
53 90 Terry Carroll 20.747
54 51A Kyle Plott 20.751
55 42 Mason Diaz 20.752
56 9 Brad Kurth 20.768
57 57A Jimmy Mullins 20.790
58 8 Thomas Scott 20.791
59 19 Cameron Bowen 20.795
60 7 Dylan Ward 20.806
61 29 Brandon Baker 20.819
62 81A Zack Clifton 20.828
63 81 Justin Johnson 20.873
64 38 Mark Kessee Jr 20.888
65 25 Derrick   Lancaster 20.901
66 26 Peyton Sellers 20.919
67 77 Trevor Ward 20.929
68 10 Keith Parker 20.931
69 4B John Moore 20.937
70 78 Ricky Gillespie 21.069
71 36 Mark Simpson 21.215

 

Underdog Surprises at Martinsville, Grabs Pole for ValleyStar 300