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Josh Berry, JR Motorsports capture Martinsville 300 pole

MIKE NEFF

Josh Berry in the JR Motorsports No. 88 will lead the field to green on Saturday night for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

Posting a track record 19.927 second lap, Berry became the first pole winner of the prestigious Late Model Stock race to enter a sub 20-second lap at the famed Virginia half-mile. Overall, seven drivers broke the 20.100 track record established by Stacy Puryear in 2018.

But only Berry and Layne Riggs broke the 20-second mark.

“I believe that might be a new track record here too,” Berry said. “What an unbelievable job all these guys have done since we’ve been here.  We had a great test last week.  We had an okay practice today.  We definitely got going better there at the end and we knew we had some left from our mock run.  We just had to fine tune it a little bit.”

Berry also collected $5,000 for winning positing the fastest lap.

Riggs backed-up his practice speed with an equally as impressive lap. The multi-time CARS Tour race winner came close to winning the ValleyStar 300 in his Martinsville debut last season before a crash relegated him to 25th.

“This race would mean everything for me,” Riggs said. “I’m not really a veteran but I’ve been around a couple of years. This is my second-ever race at Martinsville Speedway. We had a pretty good piece last year and I feel the same this year. You can’t say I’m the winningest driver there is, so something like this would make it all worth it.”

READ MORE: Complete Late Model Stock Car coverage

While Berry and Riggs will celebrate with a front row seat to start the race, everyone inside the top-20 had something to celebrate as they were all locked-into the main event.

Everyone else will be entered into a pair of 50-lap heat races that will take 10 drivers each to make up the field of 40 that will compete in Saturday night’s 200 lapper.

These races tend to produce carnage and chaos and it was something that defending winner CE Falk was relieved to have avoided with a 20th-place qualifying effort — the last driver to make the race on speed.

“I am so happy to not have to be in a last chance race,” Falk said. “We have a lot of work to do in that two hour session tomorrow but there are a lot of things that could have gone wrong if we were in the last chance race.”

Matt Leicht was the first driver to not make it in on time and is aware of what this means moving forward.

“I think I have a car that can win,” Leicht said. “It’s going to take a lot of luck. Everybody has to have luck to get around this place and not get wrecked.  Last year, we got killed. We’re just going to keep our wheels and fenders on it and be there at the end.”

Heat racing starts at 3 p.m. The main event starts at 7 p.m. The 200-lapper will air live on FansChoice.TV and the Motor Racing Network.

  1. Josh Berry – 19.927
  2. Layne Riggs – 19.959
  3. Bobby McCarty – 20.011
  4. Peyton Sellers – 20.04
  5. Lee Pulliam – 20.06
  6. Dustin Rumley – 20.079
  7. Bubba Pollard – 20.083
  8. Trevor Noles – 20.1
  9. Tommy Lemons, Jr. – 20.111
  10. Justin Carroll – 20.116
  11. Chad McCumbee – 20.118
  12. Trey Crews – 20.12
  13. Travis Swaim – 20.145
  14. Taylor Gray – 20.146
  15. Timothy Peters – 20.146
  16. Jason York – 20.159
  17. Dexter Canipe, Jr. – 20.163
  18. Ryan Wilson – 20.166
  19. Craig Moore – 20.171
  20. C.E. Falk, III – 20.188
  21. Matt Leicht – 20.202
  22. Brennan Poole – 20.206
  23. Kres VanDyke – 20.213
  24. Jonathan Findley – 20.217
  25. Jake Crum – 20.219
  26. Jeff Oakley – 20.222
  27. Mike Looney – 20.227
  28. Sammy Smith – 20.233
  29. Steve Zacharias – 20.239
  30. Brenden Queen – 20.239
  31. Colin Garrett – 20.25
  32. Derrick Lancaster – 20.258
  33. Davin Scites – 20.266
  34. Jamey Caudill – 20.266
  35. Mike Darne – 20.269
  36. Stacy Puryear – 20.277
  37. Bruce Anderson – 20.278
  38. Kevin Leicht – 20.28
  39. Matt Waltz – 20.292
  40. Austin Thaxton – 20.305
  41. Brandon Clements – 20.34
  42. Brandon Pierce – 20.358
  43. Lucas Williams – 20.373
  44. Trevor Ward – 20.382
  45. Jacob Heafner – 20.384
  46. Nik Williams – 20.387
  47. B.J. Mackey – 20.392
  48. Tyler Matthews – 20.44
  49. Kyle Dudley – 20.445
  50. Camden Gullie – 20.446
  51. Zack Clifton – 20.457
  52. Chase Dixon – 20.469
  53. Justin Hicks – 20.482
  54. Grayson Cullather – 20.495
  55. Jimmy Wallace – 20.519
  56. Jason Barnes – 20.526
  57. Annabeth Barnes Crum – 20.55
  58. G.R. Waldrop – 20.629
  59. Owen Smith – 20.668
  60. Eric Winslow – 20.688
  61. Kyle Southern – 20.689
  62. Dylan Ward – 20.754
  63. James Sweeny – 20.878
  64. Bobby Gillespie – 21.21
  65. Mack Tatum – 21.547
  66. Amber Lynn – 21.913

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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