Martinsville Harris wins Taco Bell 300 pole

Martinsville, VA---Chad Harris stood head, shoulders and foot above 116 other NASCAR Late Model Stock Car drivers Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, winning the pole position for the division's richest race of the season, the $91,095 Taco Bell...

Martinsville, VA---Chad Harris stood head, shoulders and foot above 116 other NASCAR Late Model Stock Car drivers Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, winning the pole position for the division's richest race of the season, the $91,095 Taco Bell 300 Sunday.

The Stuarts Draft, VA driver put a Chevrolet in the top spot with a fast lap of 87.862 miles per hour to win $1,000 from Chatlee Boats and Marine. His speed did not break the Taco Bell 300 record of 89.876 miles per hour held by Ronnie Thomas of Christiansburg, VA.

Taking the outside pole was Philip Morris of Ruckersville, VA at 87.821 followed by Richard Landreth, Jr. of Pine Hall, NC, Tony McGuire of Roanoke, VA and William Godsey of Charles City, VA.

Only .185 seconds and .748 miles per hour separated the top 20 qualifiers who are assured starting positions for Sunday's 200-lap feature that pays $15,000 to the winner on the .526 mile track.

Completing the top ten were David Triplett, Jr. of Durham, NC, Brad Brinkley of Sanford, NC, Rodney Sawyers of Ridgeway, VA, defending race champion Robert Powell of Goose Creek, SC and Butch Hamlet of Bassett, VA, who drives the Taco Bell Chevrolet.

"With the history of Martinsville, this is a dream come true," Harris said. "I've been coming here since I was a little kid watching the Winston Cup guys. We were shooting for the pole but we would have been happy just to make the top 20.

"This is the crown jewel for Late Models and all the top drivers are here."

Harris, who ran at New River Valley Speedway this season, had eight wins in 19 starts and finished in the top five 18 times and in the top ten all 19 races.

The remainder of the 42-car starting field will be decided at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in four 25-lap qualifying races with only the top five finishers in each race advancing to the feature. There will be two provisional starting spots available.

The race will be stopped at lap 100 with the leader receiving $5,000 and the BB&T trophy. There will be a ten-minute pit stop and crews may work on the cars and change any two tires.

A number, to be determined, of the top cars will be inverted for the restart. At lap 190, the caution flag will be displayed and cars will be lined up single file for ten green flag laps to the finish.

All seats are unreserved and are $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 and are available at the speedway.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Richard Landreth , Philip Morris