Balluzzo Wins Race One In Interesting Fashion

IMG_0276Hampton, VA – Maybe not the way he wanted things to go down this past weekend but in the world of racing, a win is a win. Balluzzo had been at the top of the speed charts all day in practice along with previous Langley Speedway modified champion Robbie Babb. The two have had there fair share of close races and well why not keep that true on opening night.

When it was time to roll through qualifying Babb was able to claim the battle early, posting a quick time of 16.092 (89.485 mph) seconds around the tricky flat track. Balluzzo would have to settle for the second spot on the grid, clocking a time just seven hundredths of a second slower than Babb. Matt Slye – who we kicked off this season of the Driver Series with – found him self in the starting five P3, followed by Wayne Hartley & Jon Largena (R).

It was music to my hears when these bad boys fired their engines. Just something about the low rumble and the sleek look most of the teams have elected to go with on the bodies that really makes these cars look “mean.” Of course mean being in a good way!

When the green flag was displayed to the field Babb wasted no time what so ever claiming the lead as his own and started to put some distance between him and the pack. Well, with the expectation of Balluzzo. One thing for certain during this race the biggest lead Babb had over the 48 machine was no more than five cars and that’s being generous. The rest of the field on the other hand was not so lucky. The top two were on just a bad break away the saying “the leaders are in a new zip code” to a whole new meaning.

Thought we were going to end up with a caution about a quarter of the way through the feature. Eric McPherson had slowed way up down the backstretch and was looking like he was not going to be able to make it down pit road. Thankfully race director Jimmie Walker was able to have some restrain with the yellow flag because McPherson did make it down pit road, to the attention of his crew and back out to the speedway.

Everything was looking great for Babb to start off his 2015 season the right way until we got within five laps to go. The leaders were closing in on the lap cars of Sharkey & Horne and quickly I might add. The two back markers, who were racing for position, happened to go door to door at the worst time in the race! Sharkey being the veteran realizes this may not be the smartest move and appeared to back it down just a bit to help the leaders by. Horne on the other hand did not do the same and in my opinion, cost the leader the race.

Babb would have issues getting around the lap machine coming out of four and would have to chase his ride down to the inside apron handing the lead over to Balluzzo – who by the way never got more than four to five cars off the back bumper of Babb all night. That was the mistake Balluzzo had been waiting for all night and he did not hesitate to capitalize on it. Babb was able to regroup, just not fast enough which allowed Balluzzo to take home the win.

“We were the exact same,” Balluzzo said of Babb in victory lane. “He would make a mistake I would make a mistake. He ran a great race that’s for sure, we are just so happy to be here.” Balluzzo made it pretty clear in victory lane his intentions for 2015 – Win! He has told us through the off season that he will certainly go for the record breaking 8th Modified Division title but he also let us know he means business this year. “We are going to run Langley, South Boston, East Carolina. We want the [Div II] National Championship.”

The mods will not hit the pavement again at Langley Speedway for an entire month, May 2nd is their next night out on the town. However, the division will have a 50-lap feature April 11 at South Boston Speedway & will run two 20-lap features at East Carolina April 18th.

 

Larry King Law Modifieds
OFFICIAL Results

Pos. #       Driver                 Laps

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 50
  2. #44 Robbie Babb; 50
  3. #33 Matt Slye; 50
  4. #4 Jon Largena; 50
  5. #95 Danny Harrell; 50
  6. #6 Evan Horne; 50
  7. #1 Donnie Holston; 49
  8. #87 Darrell Vance; 49
  9. #83 Scott Lawrence; 49
  10. #88 Jack Sharkey; 48
  11. #16 Eric McPherson; 40
  12. #51 Tony Steele; 38
  13. #5 Andrew Fortin; 32
  14. #37 Wayne Hartley; DQ

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