Waltz Capitalizes While Others Struggle, Win No. 5 In The Books
Hampton, VA – Missing the full moon by just one day, Langley may have seen some left over “Full Moon” mojo as some very interesting events unfolded over the weekend. After a week of rain outs, Mother Nature was kind enough to give us one day to get some Late Model action in! This was supposed to be a double-header weekend for us with East Carolina Motor Speedway hosting their Whelen Night but, heavy rain storms in North Carolina forced track officials to pull the plug early. I know it has to be tough to make that decision but hind sight is the time and money the track saved the drivers and fans. We will have to wait another two weeks to see the cars work their way around the tricky tri-oval!
The day was just near perfect for racing, the sun was shinning, light breeze and pretty comfortable temperature, seventeen Late Model’s and a pretty decent showing in the support classes, only thing that wasn’t so great… the fact that I had to work until 4:00pm. So no practice for me, I got to the speedway right as the drivers meeting finished up and drivers were heading to their cars for qualifying. It was great to see some Langley Speedway veterans back in action as Danny Edwards, Jr had returned with his #26 machine! Also, long time Legends stand out Woody Howard was back in the saddle driving the Randy Sears #34 machine for the evening. While Brandon Atkinson finally made his debut along with the #7 machine of Michael Hardin. The Late Models got the normal scuff, green, white, checkered style qualifying where Greg Edwards edged out just a tad bit faster lap, talking 100th of a second faster to grab the Coors Light Pole Award for the nights 125 lap feature.
Pos. # Name: Time:
1. 97 Greg Edwards 15.921
2. 2 Matt Waltz 15.931
3. 11 Nick Smith 15.971
4. 03 Brenden Queen 16.082
5. 34 Woody Howard 16.113
6. 92 Casey Wyatt 16.117
7. 55 Mark Wertz 16.137
8. 38 Duane Shreeves 16.141
9. 90 Terry Carroll 16.145
10. 7 Michael Hardin 16.218
11. 77 Connor Hall(R) 16.235
12. 91 Justin Carroll 16.239
13. 26 Danny Edwards, Jr. 16.285
14. 15 Brandon Atkinson 16.320
15. 29 Robert Bruce 16.404
16. 67 J.T. Jackson 16.594
17. 56 Clayton Parrish N/A
When the green flag dropped it did not take long for things to heat up at the front of the pack. Edwards, Waltz and Smith wasted no time putting plenty of distance between them and the rest of the field! The top three remained side by side battling for the lead for the first four of one hundred and twenty-five circuits only to be halted by the spin of J.T. Jackson in turn three. A quick caution and out came the cone, Waltz, Queen, Wyatt, Hardin, D Edwards, and Atkinson all decided to take the cone and try their luck on the outside. It took Greg Edwards no time at all to put just about five cars between himself and Waltz as he looked to dominate yet another long race around Langley Speedway. Meanwhile Nick Smith seemed to be on the outside looking in as he was freight trained on the start getting pushed back as far as eight place before being able to fall in line.
An interesting battle was brewing a little farther back in the pack as Queen, Wertz, Shreeves and Wyatt all pretty much nose to tail battling for position 20 laps into the race. Just as Wyatt began to mount a charge past the #55 Dunkin Donuts machine the field was back under yellow as Wertz teammate Clayton Parrish spins all by his self right in front of us in turn one. Have to give the guy credit though, jumping in the car trying to learn a late model! Of course as anyone in the racing community would tell you cautions bread cautions, and they did on this night as it didn’t take long for another spin to happen in turn two. This time several cars were involved; both Carrolls, Atkinson, Hall, Edwards all involved, no one with what should have been race ending injuries. A lot of cars with cosmetic damage but for the most part all drivers returned to the track after seeking attention from their crews.
This was when things really started to get weird! Nick Smith had already run into issues and went a few laps down so he was not up in the front to assume his normal position. Waltz would take the cone and line up next to G. Edwards on the restart and would then take the lead on lap 34! Edwards not allowing Waltz to get to far away pulled up next to Waltz to try to take his position back. Coming out of turn two Edwards and Waltz would somehow touch wheels and it sent Edwards sliding the grass and around he would go in turn three to bring out another caution. “Matt and I touched wheels somehow on the back over there and messed the car up,” Edwards said after the race. “I went into three and it just ripped the wheel out of my hand.” Edwards was a little frustrated at the end of the night as he should be, he did tell me they were going to work on some stuff and come back strong!
With two of the series top competitors having trouble on the night this allowed for Waltz to dominate the rest of the field in route to his fifth victory on the season! This also allowed for some of the other competitors to shine their light and show their muscle. As the leaders would check out I must say some of the best racing on the year took place about middle of the pack! I would have to say the second best battle all night would have to go to the father son tandem of Terry & Justin Carroll. Thirty plus laps Justin held off his father, ON FATHERS DAY WEEKEND MIND YOU, both drivers racing clean but hard! Both running for a top ten finish would have their turn mixing it up with both Smith and Edwards as they did their part in running them clean for position. In the long run Terry would prevail and pass Justin, both went home with top ten finishes!
The final caution of the night came out for debris on the front stretch which allowed Howard and Queen to get one more shot at Waltz, allowed for Danny Edwards to gain his lap back, and guaranteed one exciting finish! Justin Carroll & Michael Hardin were the only two drivers to gamble and take the cone as the final restart of the night took place! Both Howard & Queen with a great start staying right on the bumper of Waltz, just not enough “go fast juice,” as K&N East driver Brandon Gdovic would say, and Waltz would again start to check out.
The battle for third is where everyone’s attention was drawn as Casey Wyatt yet again putting on one of the best displays of driving Langley has seen all year, of course credit has to go to his co-star Brenden “Butterbean” Queen for driving one hell of a race. The two remained side by side for just about the last ten laps of the race. Wyatt trying everything he can to move Brenden up a groove while Queen did everything in the book to pinch Wyatt down. Both drivers did their fair share of leaning while driving the wheels off their machine. Queen would hold on to take his first podium finish of the year, as well as post it best finish at Langley Speedway for 2014. Will say this, not sure what Queen was more excited about, his third place finish on the night, or the fact that he was up front mixing it up with names like Matt Waltz & Woody Howard!
I said it once before and I will say it again, Casey Wyatt this year has taught me a few things to me; 1) You never give up no matter what, 2) When something doesn’t work, try something completely off the wall, be different and succeed, 3) When his neon hello/green machine is on the track you better watch him because he is going to put on a show! Wyatt earned himself yet another top 5 finish (P4) on the evening in pretty familiar fashion, a clean, fun, side by side finish, only thing different this week… the car on the outside was Queen. I caught up with Wyatt at the end of the race to congratulate him on his finish and thank him for putting on one hell of a show, this is what he had to say, “I love racing with Bean, he run clean. There was a few times I was leaning on him and he was leaning on me but that’s real racing!”
Late Models will have this weekend off as the K&N Pro Series East rolls into town for the Visit Hampton Roads 175. The Late Models will return to action in two weeks, June 28th for Twin 75’s!
Pos. # Name: Laps:
1. 2 Matt Waltz 125
2. 34 Woody Howard 125
3. 03 Brenden Queen 125
4. 92 Casey Wyatt 125
5. 55 Mark Wertz 125
6. 90 Terry Carroll 125
7. 97 Greg Edwards 125
8. 91 Justin Carroll 125
9. 7 Michael Hardin 125
10. 26 Danny Edwards, Jr 125
11. 38 Duane Shreeves 124
12. 29 Robert Bruce 124
13. 77 Connor Hall(R) 124
14. 11 Nick Smith 121
15. 56 Clayton Parrish(R) 121
16. 15 Brandon Atkinson 72
17. 67 J.T. Jackson 22
Devon Courtney recorded his second victory on 2014 in the East Coast Synthetic Bandolero division after taking and holding onto the lead from lap 10 on. Zach Lightfoot put up one heck of a race as he bolted to the top spot by lap six, smoke trailing from his machine pretty bad! They do always say engines are the best right before they blow! It did not take long for officials to show Lightfoot the black flag for the smoke, however he would not pull into the pits until the caution flag waved over the field. This would allow Courtney to take back the top spot as he held off the field and found him self back in victory lane this season.
The UCARS were back in action again this week as Justin Fuller claimed the pole during his qualifying session but would spin a 4 on that god awful wheel. Inverting the top four spots put Fuller of course P4, Jesse Jones P3, Kevin Morgan P2, Courtney Shiflett P1. Does anyone remember the last time Shiflett started on the pole? If memory serves me right she missed a shift or something broke and it stacked the field up pretty good! Luckily that was not the case as she got off to what I would call a decent start! Kevin Morgan, with a tad bit more experience in this division, was able to motor around Shiflett and take the early lead while Jones moved up in the second spot.
The races first caution flag came out on lap 8 as the #7 machine of Ashten Mullet went for a spin in turn four! This like every caution brought out the cone where Fuller, who had slipped back to 5th decided to take advantage and lined up outside of Morgan. Not sure if Morgan just forgot what turn he was in but decided to mash the gas pretty much while he was still in turn three, Jimmy Walker – Langley Speedway race director – was not impressed and had a black flag waiting for him as he crossed the stripe the next lap. Ignoring the call from the tower Morgan did not give up the top spot and was shown the black flag with the yellow stripe indicating his car was not being scored that lap and the lead was handed over to Fuller. Caution number two comes out, Morgan is brought to the pits all is quote un quote well as Fuller would hold off the field on a third restart to capture the win. Jones, Shiflett, Matthews, Schafer round out the top five.
Super Streets had twin 20 lap races this evening as they continued their soap opera of a division. I say that kindly as the drama on the track causes for some grey action for the fans, and this year does not seem like to many race teams are tearing up to much equipment. Randy Akers and John Pereira would grab victories on the night! Akers would lead from flag to flag in the first race, while holding the lead for most of the second before a great pass from Pereira during the second race! Landon Abbott a previous winner on the year would run into some trouble during the first race getting a bad start and falling back into the field. Both races were surprisingly caution free, specially during race two as Pereira and Marchetti took it three wide at times working past slower cars!
The INEX Legends returned to the track where Chris Hildabrand not only put it on the pole but walked the dog on the rest of the field, taking the checkers half the track ahead of Gdovic & Jackson who had a pretty good battle all race. It is just hard to see such a fun class dwindle down like they have been. A division that used to put on some of the best racing of the night as now come down to seven cars taking the green flag, and its pretty much certain that one is always going to just walk away with it. Really hoping to see this division turn around and get some more cars out there to compete!
So every week there is a certain moment on the track where all I can yell is “D’oh!” This week that moment solely belongs to Kevin Morgan of the UCAR division. You jumped the restart, you had to of known you jumped the restart because of the position on the track you were in. You were given the black flag repeatedly… okay okay I get your not running for points in that division anymore so what does it really mayer right? So the yellow comes out, you have to come down pit road serve your penalty, your now a lap down because the tower stopped scoring you, you return to the end of the field and start beating and banging on the field! Come on, its one thing to be fast but let’s be a little more respectful! You were not running those cars for position or for points WHAT WAS THE DEAL?
I don’t care if there was talk around the garage that someone was out to get you, or that someone didn’t like you running in the series anymore! Or you came to the track to take someone out! Your out there running for fun, others are out they’re hunting a track and/or National Championship. Door slamming and running up on other guys bumpers is a little much! Go out there have your fun, let the other guys and gals have theres and let everyone take their cars home in one piece!
Action returns to Langley Speedway this weekend as the K&N Pro Series East returns for their 175 lap feature. Modifieds for 50, Grandstocks for 40, Pro Six for 30 and Karts for 20.