In a qualifying session that ended up turning into a race against Mother Nature, four-time Whelen All-American Series champion Philip Morris posted a blistering time of 15.584 as the rain closed in, which earned him the pole for tonight’s tentatively scheduled Hampton Heat 200.

Although Morris was one of the faster cars during Friday’s practice session, he was initially unable to carry over that speed on Saturday, as he was only able to post the 17th fastest time in the only Late Model practice session of the day. The driver that Morris and the rest of the field would have to chase would be Thunder Road-Harley Davidson 200 winner Peyton Sellers, who paced final LMSC practice with a time of 15.830.

The ensuing qualifying session had many similarities to practice, as Sellers rocketed to the top of the charts with a 15.734, knocking off CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour points leader Bobby McCarty, who was third in the earlier session. Sellers appeared to be comfortable with that lap, but the former Hampton Heat winner still had to wait out a few more strong cars before officially claiming the pole.

Morris was finally able to take to the track with only five cars remaining to make a lap in qualifying, and proceeded to obliterate Sellers’ time in one lap by posting a pole run of 15.584. Morris and the final few cars were able to complete the session just in the nick of time, as a large thunderstorm cell engulfed the track only seconds after Mark Wertz’ 12th place run completed the session.

Morris finds himself in a good position to take the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown points lead away from Sellers, who obtained the position after rebounding from a flat tire and holding off Morris over the final 20 laps to take the checkered flag first at South Boston. Morris has never won the Hampton Heat during his long and successful Late Model career, and will look to check another prestigious short track victory off his list when the green flag drops later this evening.

Sellers’ quick lap held up for a starting position on the outside of the front row, while McCarty will line up on the inside of Row 2 behind Morris. Rounding out the Top 5 would be McCarty’s teammate Brandon Pierce, and 2016 Whelen All-American Series champion Matt Bowling.

Late Model Qualifying Results:

1. 01 Philip Morris- 15.584
2. 26s Peyton Sellers- 15.734
3. 22m Bobby McCarty- 15.747
4. 2 Brandon Pierce- 15.760
5. 83 Matt Bowling- 15.760
6. 03 Brenden Queen- 15.761
7. 26e Danny Edwards- 15.765
8. 8 Tyler Hughes- 15.769
9. 36 Chris Johnson- 15.802
10. 02 CE Falk III- 15.802
11. 8s Thomas Scott- 15.812
12. 55 Mark Wertz- 15.818
13. 41 Woody Howard- 15.834
14. 7 Justin T. Carroll- 15.835
15. 24 Colin Garrett- 15.845
16. 22c Grayson Cullather- 15.850
17. 50 Garrett Bunch- 15.852
18. 97 Greg Edwards- 15.857
19. 77 Connor Hall- 15.867
20. 4s Duane Shreeves- 15.907
21. 12t Austin Thaxton- 15.909
22. 19 Cameron Bowen- 15.911
23. 25 Craig Eastep- 15.916
24. 90 Terry Carroll- 15.930
25. 92 Casey Wyatt- 15.960
26. 91 Justin S. Carroll- 16.011
27. 4p Tim Phipps- 16.068
28. 12s Nick Smith- 16.073
29. 88 Thomas Marks- 16.198
30. 10 Maddy Ryan Mulligan- 16.286
31. 9 Rodney Boyd- 16.336