MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 8, 2011) – Philip Morris keeps finding a way to outdo himself.
The veteran Virginia driver set a track record Saturday in qualifying for Sunday’s Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway, adding to a season of amazing success, which includes 20 victories, a track championship and his fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
“This year has been surreal,” said Morris, who is also the defending Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 champion. “It has been a blur of victories.”
There was never much doubt Saturday that Morris was going to be the class of qualifying after he led both morning practice sessions.
Morris toured the .526-mile Martinsville oval in 20.165 seconds (93.905 mph) to shatter the old Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 Late Model Stock car record of 20.216 seconds (93.668) set by Davin Scites in 2008. By winning the pole, Morris picked up the $1,000 Sparks Oil Pole Award.
“I had been looking for that lap all day long,” Morris said of his qualifying lap. “A lot of preparation went into the car. I drove way deep in the corner and it felt a little like the pole and when I looked up and saw it on the scoreboard, I was the happiest guy in Martinsville.”
Matt McCall was fairly happy, too, nailing down the second starting position with a lap of 20.347 seconds (93.065).
“We got waxed by two-tenths of a second,” McCall said chuckling. “We had a good lap, but Philip had an awesome lap.”
Last year’s pole winner, Lee Pulliam, earned the third starting spot (20.365, 92.983 mph) followed by Scites (20.381, 92.910) and Kenny Forbes (20.397, 92.937).
The top five qualifiers were in Chevrolets.
Rounding out the top 10 were B.J. Mackey, Brandon Butler, former winner Frank Deiny Jr., Josh Berry and Ryan Reed.
Only the top 22 positions for Sunday’s 42-car field were determined in Saturday’s qualifying. The remaining 20 spots will be filled through four 25-lap heat races beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The top five finishers from each heat race transfer to the 200-lap feature.
Tickets are $20 for adults and children 12-and-under are free for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.
Fan gates will open at 9 a.m. Sunday.