Waltz Looks to Bounce Back After Interesting Hampton Heat
Newport News, VA – Well it has been just about two weeks since the completion of the 7th running of the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway. The largest race in its seven-year history, the longest event in my twelve or so years at the track, let’s be honest maybe the most controversial race of the season and much, much more! The entire day was a blast for myself, getting to the speedway at eight in the morning, working alongside of Race22, not leaving until ten minutes till four in the morning. The whole experience was a blast for me. I can’t say the same for some others however. For those in attendance some cars got torn up (to be expected a bit, with so many cars on such a little track), some interesting calls were made, and huge swing in the points.
Matt Waltz entered the Hampton Heat only a few points behind current point leader Greg Edwards. Sitting second in points, Waltz however has the most wins on the season at eight! What one could say made matters worse, Waltz was the car to beat all day in Friday’s practice as well as the two-hour practice session that day. Waltz was able to claim the pole for the event and actually set a pretty blistering pace on the field with names like Smith, McCaskill, Falk all trying to play catch up.
It wasn’t until the mass confusion at the half way break that sealed the fates for both Matt Waltz and Nick Smith, who by the way were not able to finish the race. I was able to catch up with Waltz after everyone had time to cool down and reflect from that evening to see if his team would run what was left of Langley’s schedule. “Yeah we will be back at Langley, but I just think it was a stupid call,” Waltz said. “They weren’t counting laps anymore and they didn’t even stop the race at the right time so they messed up too. They stopped it at like 102. So I think they should have just put us back.”
**The yellow flag was waved on lap 103 for the halfway mark, laps were counted up to lap 106 when the field was brought down pit road**
Folks that was just the catalyst for a bad evening turned worse! Myself and my partner were not able to see what caused the damaged to the nose of Waltz but his hood looked like the front end of a crash dummy car! However, this was not what ended the night for the Waltz Racing crew, it was actually contact made with another car while under caution. Lap 175 was when Waltz made some pretty hard contact with the #21 of Mackena Bell, pretty much driving over top of the car. Fortunately for us Waltz shared what happened.
“I just couldn’t see anything,” Waltz explained, referring to the amount of damage done to the front end of the car. “Supposedly they came down the track. My spotter said I was good to pull up.”
When it came time for results to be released we found our #2 machine P26 on the night, besides the long hours spent getting the car ready, out lasting two rain storms, and fighting back after an interesting turn of events at half time, not only did the crew take home a damaged car but was only awarded ONE single point. Meanwhile points leader Greg Edwards piloted his 97.3 The Eagle machine to a third place finish and collecting 24 points to add to his bank. I will say this out of the three 200 lap races Matt Waltz has competed in this year he is only 1 for 3 in finishes (Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown – P2 // South Boston 200 – P21 OUT // Hampton Heat 200 – P26 ACCIDENT)
We asked Matt if he felt the Hampton Heat put the breaks on his shot at a championship and if this means he will travel more hunting as many national points as he can.
“Probably but I’m not too worried about it,” Waltz admitted. “I like winnin’ races more than being conservative and just goin after the championship at this point.” No better way to prove that statement than adding two more races to the win column this weekend as Langley Speedway will host twin 75 lap events for the Late Model Stock Cars this Saturday, green flag set to wave for the first race at 7:00 pm.
“We are really trying to put some effort into finding sponsors to race more,” said Waltz about hunting national points. “It’s tough to race out-of-town a whole lot on a limited budget. I would love to take my 2 car out-of-town though. I’ve put thousands of hours in that thing making sure it’s 100% and I wish I could see how we stood up against the guys at other racetrack considering we’ve run well with the 0 car out there.”
After speaking with Matt it looks as if though the mind-set is that these things are in the past and lets focus on whats in front of us. From the sounds of it, doesn’t seem like to many things are going to be in front of that two car this weekend other than the pace truck! I also want to take this time to give you a little sneak peek into this weekends Driver Series interview, I will give you a hint, as of August 4th this driver sits 30th in the National standings and may have been mentioned a few times in this story. Make sure to tune in this Saturday!
All photos in this story proudly brought to you by our sponsor, Erin Goodman Photography. For more action shots visit her album –>http://goo.gl/CcIQOS