Edwards & Waltz Victorious In Langley Speedway Twin

IMG_4174Hampton, VA – Mother Nature wanted to cause havoc yet again this past weekend with the high threat of rain all around the region. So much so that other tracks pulled the plug early on their evening (South Boston, Caraway – Ace, Kingsport, Anderson all cancelled for Friday night). I personally figured with so many tracks canceling and the forecast for the Hampton Roads area literally showing only about a 4-10% chance of rain we would see a little more cars flocking to Langley Speedway. That wasn’t the case as the only driver to make the trip was the #58 of Tyler Ankrum (originally going to run at Caraway) and boy was that a good thing they made that trip.

Qualifying was the first order of business for thirteen Late Model Stock cars (Bruce Livingston electing to start in the rear). Current points leader Greg Edwards snatched the pole away from Matt Waltz with a 15.999 or about 88 mph. Edwards, though just barely, was the only car to break into the fifteen second lap times. Matt Waltz, a man on a mission to make up lost time during the Hampton Heat, clocked the second fastest time just five hundredth’s of s second slower. Connor Hall, current Rookie of the Year contender, also has turned up the wick in recent weeks posting the third fastest time. Mark Wertz and Brenden Queen were the final two guys to make up the ComServe/Verizon Wireless Late Model Stock Starting 5.

When the green flag waved on the first race Edwards and Waltz picked back up where they left off a few weeks ago. A side by side battle for the top spot down the back stretch with Edwards gaining the advantage by the time they got back to the stripe. The leaders, including a hard charging Connor Hall would break away to about a five car lead over the rest of the field. At one point Hall looked to put some pressure on the rear bumper of Waltz for the second spot. Looked like to me Hall used a little to much of his car and started to fall off. The most interesting battle on the track was between Justin Carroll and Michael Hardin battling side by side for a good portion of the race for the tenth spot.

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Edwards pulling into victory lane after race one

The most interesting story of the first race was young gun Tyler Ankrum. Missing all of practice while traveling from Caraway, Ankrum was the eleventh fast car during time trials, drove his way around some of the best drivers Langley Speedway has to offer. Either way, the checkered flag waved over the field and Greg Edwards picked up win number six on the season in a caution free race, while extending his points lead over Matt Waltz. Connor Hall would bring his ride home third in one of the best finishes for him on the season as things finally look to start going this young kids way. Brenden Queen, and Tyler Ankrum would finish out your top five in race one. Remember the finishing order turns around to become the starting order for race two.

Second 75 lap feature got underway as the sun went down with Greg Edwards was your pole sitter again. As the engines were fired word came down from the tower that Edwards had elected to start on the outside. The green flag was dropped but race director Jimmy Walker was not happy with what he saw, “Put it out! Let’s get that back. Full restart. 97 do not jump my flag man. Last warning!” The field was doubled up again for a complete restart which much better the second time around. Only took Edwards about two laps to secure the lead even though Waltz ran him hard on the inside.

Unlike the events from the first feature this was not a ride around and save your stuff kind of race. Waltz knew he had to make something happen, and make it happen he did. It was around lap ten or so when Waltz was able to power his #2 machine around Edwards to take control of the race, but you know Greg he did not let Waltz get away. Meanwhile, Danny Edwards Jr – who has really come on strong after an impressive run in the Hampton Heat – went to war with Brenden Queen and would eventually take away the third spot on the track. All while Wertz and Ankrum were trying to work by Connor Hall when the first caution of the night came out. A few lights had gone out on the back stretch and raised a bit of concern the drivers would not be able to see.

Wanted to mention just before the caution though we noticed that Waltz had started running the high line and it was working! As the green flag waved over the field it took just about a lap for Waltz to “clear” Edwards while both of them started to leave the field. Danny Edwards Jr and Brenden Queen would battle door to door which allowed for Ankrum to bring his #58 machine to the party. Matt Waltz still your leader at the halfway point but only by a bumper as Greg Edwards took his 97.3 The Eagle machine up the track and gave Waltz a little love tap, you know just to let him know he can run the high side too.

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Waltz & Ankrum battle with less than five to go.

The good ole bump and run was in full effect tonight as both Waltz and Edwards must have used it three times on each other as the two spent the next dozen plus laps exchanging the favor and running each other harder into the corners trying to get one to wash up. Mean while a few cars back young Tyler Ankrum went to work on previous Langley champion Danny Edwards Jr. Took only a few laps and Ankrum not only passed Edwards Jr but started to leave him in the dust. What he saw in front of him must have been like Christmas morning as the two leaders were either side by side or bumper to bumper.

With only fifteen laps to go both Waltz and Edwards were running the higher line with Waltz at the point. From our vantage point in turn four it look like every time the two rolled through four Edwards nose was tucked right under the rear bumper of Waltz. Each passing lap Ankrum was able to close in on the two as Edwards continued to try to respectfully move Waltz out of his line. The next pass around Edwards puts the bump-and-run on the leader again and this time it works. Waltz has to chase his car up the track, however because Edwards had to drive in deep to make that happen his car washed up as well which allowed Ankrum to dive down to the bottom past Edwards and to me looked like he crossed the line before Waltz.

Ankrum was able to battle side by side with race leader Matt Waltz for a few laps but was not able to keep it there as Waltz was able to pull to about a half car length lead. Spoke with Ankrum while his car went through tech about his run. “[I] saw them two slow way up and move up the track so I just dove in there” Ankrum says. “Coming out of two and under the 2 car and just washed up a little bit and he had such a good drive off the corner.” Either way in only three starts at Langley, where one of them he was forced out early, coming home with a 5th & 2nd place finish would be worth the six-hour drive in my book.

It was another half car back to Greg Edwards who looked like he may have used his car up trying to work on the bumper of Waltz. The checkered flag waved over the number 2 car for the ninth time this season as Matt Waltz claimed the victory in the second race practically voiding the points from Greg’s first win. Waltz was able to gain one point of leader Greg Edwards due to a third place finish in race number two. Tyler Ankrum, Greg Edwards, Danny Edwards Jr and Mark Wertz were those drivers who made up the top five for the final race of the evening.

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Almost running out of fingers in victory lane for Waltz Racing

 

Race #1:
1. #97 Greg Ewards
2. #2 Matt Waltz
3. #77 Connor Hall
4. #03 Brenden Queen
5. #58 Tyler Ankrum
6. #26 Danny Edwards, Jr
7. #55 Mark Wertz
8. #38 Duane Shreeves
9. #90 Terry Carroll
10. #91 Justin Carroll
11. #7 Michael Hardin
12. #6 Evan Horne
13. #77a Bruce Livingston
14. #92 Casey Wyatt

 

Race #2:
1. #2 Matt Waltz
2. #58 Tyler Ankrum
3. #97 Greg Edwards
4.  #26 Danny Edwards, Jr
5. #55 Mark Wertz
6. #77 Connor Hall
7. #38 Duane Shreeves
8. #90 Terry Carroll
9. #92 Casey Wyatt
10. #7 Michael Hardin
11. #03 Brenden Queen
12. #77a Bruce Livingston
13. #6 Evan Horne
14. #91 Justin Carroll

 

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