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Looney Locks In Martinsville Pole

Joined By Pulliam On Front Row For Late Model Showcase
Matt Weaver, Special To NASCARHomeTracks.com
October 15, 2016 - 8:11pm

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The front row for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 has been set with Mike Looney and Lee Pulliam earning the right to lead the field to green on Sunday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

The duo bested a field of 71 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock teams and have become the only drivers officially guaranteed a spot in the 42-car starting field. The other 69 competitors will have to advance through a series of 25-lap heat races on Sunday just to make the 200-lap main event. 

Beyond the $1,000 Sunoco/Sparks Oil pole award payout, qualifying doesn't count as a victory but Looney and his Billy Martin Racing team celebrated regardless. 

"I can't believe this is real," Looney said. "This is a huge deal for a team of our size and our budget to beat a field of this size and this quality. Qualifying is one thing and racing is another but man I can't put it into words what this means. I really can't describe what this means."

The pole earns Looney and Pulliam security for the first 175 laps as they gets to bypass the heats and save their tires 25 laps of racing before the Lap 175 competition caution. Looney believes that will allow him to set the pace and manage his race better than the rest of the field.

"If you can beat these guys on Saturday, it's an unbelievable feeling because they're all fast," Looney said. "But beyond that, we don't have to run the heat race and are going to save 25 laps on our tires. That doesn't hurt. I say we need to just survive the first 175, put on four tires at tbe break and see how it plays out." 

After making several wholesale changes on his Kiker Motorsports No. 5, Pulliam was pleased with a runner-up qualifying effort and shared Looney's sense of relief. 

"We made some pretty big changes there before qualifying," Pulliam said. "That seemed to help the car. I know where we can be better. Hopefully we can get this thing just a tick better. So I'm happy about it. That's a big deal. We're in the show and on the front row. I couldn't be more tickled."

The biggest surprise in qualifying was 17-year-old Ryan Repko, whom posted the third-fastest time despite this being his first trip to NASCAR's oldest track. 

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

He ran within a split second of some of the biggest names in the discipline thanks to video games and social media.

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

The race is NASCAR's richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car event. The winner will take home $25,000 and the iconic grandfather clock trophy. The event begins at Noon ET with three 25-lap heat races and a 25-lap last chance race.

Each of these heats -- including the last chance race -- will take 10 cars to make up the 42-car starting lineup.

The complete qualifying results can be found below.

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

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Mike Looney has one of the two locked in spots for Sunday's Late Model Stock Car showcase at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway, by virtue of his pole-winning run Saturday. Chris Owens/Special To NASCARHomeTracks.com