Shawn Balluzzo Opens Up, Talks About His Journey At The Track
Hampton, VA – Shawn Balluzzo to some is just that guy they can’t stand who kept winning modified races out at Langley Speedway, to others he is a man who works his tail off for his business, his family, and his crew. To me, the Balluzzos are like a second family, Shawn is the husband to one of the woman who stepped up and into my life when I lost my mother and the father to three beautiful young woman, one whom is like the little sister I never had along with a son who probably was my brother in some other form of life!
Balluzzo, a 57, soon to be 58, native of Niagara Falls, New York got his start in racing back in 1985 in a series called one-on-ones. This would be something similar to Langley Speedway’s Wacky Wednesdays where you take your street car and race it on a track with other peoples street cars. It did not take long for Balluzzo to make his move up the racing totem pole as he was in a Late Model the following year. “Well actually the end of ’85 and it was at Martinsville,” Balluzzo explains. “Back when Martinsville was a spring and a fall race!”
Spending most of his career racing Late Models with crew chief David Oshman, I asked Shawn how many tracks he has raced at over the years, he kind of chuckled and asked if I really wanted a list. “Almost every race track from Manassas down to Volusla County and over to Five Flags,” Shawn explained in a way to help save time and typing.
Balluzzo was approached by then car owner John Bradley towards the end of 2005 about running his modified, back then the mods were not a regular mainstay at Langley Speedway. Balluzzo had been running in the Late Model division as well when Bradley approached him about the ride. 2006 was his first year running the mods and the start of a championship run like no other! Balluzzo went on to win the ’06 & ’07 track championships for car owner John Bradley.
Balluzzo was unable to make it a “threepeat” in 2008 as Joe Scarbrough came into town to mix things up a bit! Balluzzo and his crew sure did their homework that season as they returned to the track in 2009 with Olympic Gold on their mind (meaning they wanted nothing other that first place). Gold is what the team wanted and gold is what the team got, Balluzzo would go on to win the next four, thats right four track championships (09, 10, 11, 12) in the modified division bringing is total track championships in one division to a very impressive six! Only one other driver in Langley Speedway history has more and that is Phil Warren.
Balluzzo’s crew came into 2013 wanting to tie Warren’s record and was going to do everything he could to make it happen. Low and behold 2013 was not the year for Shawn Balluzzo! Things were not looking all that great for Balluzzo as Bradley, Balluzzo’s car owner for the first six titles decided to get out of modified racing, leaving Balluzzo to fend for himself. Balluzzo would partner with Gene Nichols to buy what they called an “inexpensive antique.” That was not all for Balluzzo in 2013 as he would suffer a slight heart attack in late June of that year which would require surgery and would sideline the defending champ and take him out of the running for number seven.
To make a long story short Balluzzo’s ride was completely destroyed towards the end of the 2013 season, his first race back in the car after doctors cleared him to race. Balluzzo and Nichols reached out to Bobby Creech, well known for building Late Model chasis, to build a modified car that would put Balluzzo back in victory lane and that is what they did. Half way through the 2014 Balluzzo has visited victory lane four times and secured the top spot in the largest field of Mods I have seen in years.
Balluzzo and crew will look to continue their dominance in this division by winning races each week. By accomplishing these smaller goals it will help them to their main goal. Pulling even with one of the Langley Speedwat legends, Phil Warren and his 7 track championships. Balluzzo will return to the track this weekend July 5th for a 50 lap feature to be followed with fireworks.
Check out our exclusive interview with Balluzzo by following this link –>#48 Shawn Balluzzo – Modified