Waltz & Pulliam Mix Things Up at Langley Speedway

Pulliam.Waltz

Pulliam leading Matt Waltz in first twin race.

 

Hampton, VA – I am not going to lie, when the 2015 season got underway at Langley Speedway I figured it was going to be a runaway freight train with Greg Edwards sitting in the conductor’s chair. That’s the path we looked like we were going down once this season got underway with Edwards snatching up three wins just like that. However in the past two weeks we have seen four different winners pull into Dale Lemonds Victory Lane, Mark Wertz & Tyler Hughes shred the top spot two weeks ago May 9th, now two more drivers add their names to the win column in 2015 at Langley Speedway.

Lee Pulliam in just his second trip – third start – to the flat 4/10 mile track nestled in Hampton, Virginia found himself up against some pretty stout competition. All of your “Langley Regulars” of course were in attendance, Matt Waltz made his debut back to Langley, and Tommy Lemons brought his machine back into town. Both Mark Wertz and Tyler Hughes were looking to continue their success from the previous week, and both Connor Hall and Brenden Queen were hungry for their first victories of the year!

Nineteen cars took the green flag lead by the two-time national champion Lee Pulliam who earlier in the afternoon qualified his #5 Kiker Motorsports machine on the pole. Pulliam as a matter of fact was the only car to break into the 15 second lap times, 15.984 seconds (88.964 MPH). Waltz would have the pleasure of starting just to his outside for the first race of the evening. Brenden Queen would roll off third followed by Greg Edwards and Tyler Hughes to round out the top five.

Race one was nothing to shake a stick at if we are being honest, and that is what is to be expected on nights where you have a full field (in the eyes of NASCAR) and twin races. Or at least that’s what it should be in my opinion. I am not a driver myself but, I can only imagine race number one is a “save what we got” type cat and mouse game. Once the green flag was in the air Pulliam took control of things pretty quickly and never looked back. If he did he would have seen the car of Matt Waltz in his rearview for quite some time. Both incredibly smart racers seemed to actually be conserving a lot even though they were both running away from the rest of the field.

Looking deeper than just the top two this week well because we had some awesome racing all the way back to the tenth or twelfth spots! Queen was able to keep his car under him and hold onto the third spot for a while until he developed a pretty severe right rear tire issue that pushed him just outside the top five. Other cars that were mixing it up were the 8 of Hughes and 97 of Edwards – which go head and mark my words now we have not seen the end of these two…. 2015 track championship will either go back to the 97 crew or fall into the hands of Tyler Hughes. Things didn’t stop there either, we had three and four way battles as far back as the tenth and eleventh positions!

With slower traffic and rookies working very nicely with the faster cars, and the faster cars giving each other plenty of room to race Lee Pulliam would drive away and lead wire to wire in a caution free race to add Langley Speedway to his “Tracks I Have Won at Resume.”

Race number two on the evening was the night cap, after the sun had set and all the other divisions had their fun it was time to turn the heat back up! Pulliam would again start on the pole by the virtue of his win earlier in the evening. Waltz, Lemons, Hughes, and Edwards would make up the starting five in that order due to their finishing positions in the first race. Side note, Brenden Queen’s crew – aka The Flying Monkeys – found the “tire issue” I referred to above. The right rear had all but been destroyed, to the point it looked like we had did a solo wheel burnout… for thirty minutes straight. The tire was deemed defective by NASCAR officials, they were allowed to make the change, and they still had to give up his sixth place starting position in the second race.

Once the green flag was in the air it did not take long for that familiar two car to work the high line and take the lead from Pulliam. Lap two was when Waltz took the lead and well, it was pretty much all she wrote from then on! Tyler Hughes did however try to “ctrl-c & crtl-v” Waltz by tagging along on the outside to take the second position. That left Pulliam to fend off the likes of Lemons and Edwards! Matt Waltz had other plans by the way and that was get the heck out of dodge! He easily opened up a ten car lead over Hughes who had some kind of problem because he fell back from the second spot fighting tooth and nail to hold onto a top five!

Though the leader had opened up a pretty massive lead it did not take away from the racing that was happening all over the track. Pulliam and Lemons going nose to tail, something we have seen so many times at other tracks this time just happening in our back yard. Tyler Hughes and Greg Edwards fighting for the fourth spot. Brenden Queen working his fast machine back through the field and battling with Danny Edwards for position!

The evenings one and only caution came with fourteen laps to go when we found the #08 of Mike “Weedy” Weddell around with his rear tires floating in the run off ditch that is in turn two. A small bit of contact between some of the lapped cars as the leaders were working their way through caused the issue. No cars were damaged and it was a pretty short caution.

Waltz, once given the one to go signal, did just what I thought he would do… take the cone! Shoot why wouldn’t he as hooked up as that car is on the outside. Once we were back to green flag conditions Waltz and Lemons went to war! Oh, all while slowly walking away from the rest of the field. Waltz to the top, Lemons peeking his nose at every corner entry but it just was not enough to hold off the Waltz Engineered Sales Chevy as he drove to his first victory in 2015. Tommy Lemons Jr, Lee Pulliam, Tyler Hughes and Greg Edwards would finish out your top five.

Pulliam could not think his crew enough when we had a moment to chat with him during post race tech. Being able to grab a win a track just the second time out was something really special for the two time national champ. “We had a real good car there the first race and was able to put some distance on Matt Waltz there,” Pulliam told us. “Just haven’t run here a whole lot and didn’t really know what the track was going to do and just missed it a little bit on the handling there on the second race.” In two trips to Langley, Pulliam has one win, two seconds, and a third place finish. With an average like that you can almost bet we will see more of Pulliam this year.

Matt Waltz was grinning from ear to ear when we caught up to speak with him after the races, truly happy to be back home and in victory lane. “We had a really good car there in the first race but just got a little tight,” Waltz explained. “Made a little adjustment on her for the second one and it really worked out for us!” You could just see how excited Waltz was to be back in victory lane after taking home twelve trophies in 2014. I did ask Matt if the late race yellow, that helped create a great finish between he and Lemons, worried him at all and we just got a little chuckle followed by a simple “Nah…” Waltz was very confident in his car on the outside and that showed.

The Late Models will return to action in two weeks time on May 30th for Smithfield Night at the Races.

Race Results

Race #1:

1. #5 Lee Pulliam; 65
2. #2 Matt Waltz; 65
3. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr.; 65
4. #8 Tyler Hughes; 65
5. #97 Greg Edwards; 65
6. #03 Brenden Queen; 65
7. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.; 65
8. #90 Terry Carroll; 65
9. #92 Casey Wyatt; 65
10. #55 Mark Wertz; 65
11. #7 Michael Hardin; 65
12. #77 Connor Hall; 65
13. #91 Justin Carroll; 64
14. #01 G.R. Waldrop; 64
15. #77xBruce Livingston; 64
16. #33 Macy Causey; 62
17. #08 Mike Weddell; 42
18. #67 J.T. Jackson; 14
19. #97xCameron Bowen; 3.

Race #2:
1. #2 Matt Waltz; 65
2. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr.; 65
3. #5 Lee Pulliam; 65
4. #8 Tyler Hughes; 65
5. #03 Brenden Queen; 65
6. #97 Greg Edwards; 65
7. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.; 65
8. #55 Mark Wertz; 65
9. #92 Casey Wyatt; 65
10. #7 Michael Hardin; 65
11. #90 Terry Carroll; 65
12. #01 G.R. Waldrop; 64
13. #91 Justin Carroll; 64
14. #77 Connor Hall; 64
15. #77x Bruce Livingston; 64
16. #08 Mike Weddell; 62
17. #33 Macy Causey; 60
18. #67 J.T. Jackson; 6
19. #97x Cameron Bowen; 3

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