Balluzzo & Babb Split First Twin Night At Langley Speedway

 

Balluzzo.Babb WinHampton, VA – With the Late Models off this past weekend all eyes turned to the modified division. 2014 track champion Shawn Balluzzo had won the previous two features with the chance to take home two more trophies. First time of the 2015 season the IMCA style modifieds had twin races as well as a brand new winner! The pole was set earlier in the afternoon with a time of 16.321 (88.23 MPH), a time that really came out of nowhere from the #48 car, seeing’s how he only ran a 16.6 in the first lap.

Robbie Babb, who in my opinion has really been the Achilles Heel to Balluzzo over the years had the pole for a while but would have to start second on the night. Semi rookie – I call him semi rookie because he ran just enough races last year to take away his rookie stripe – had the third fastest time during time trials. Evan Horne and Darrell Vance would end up rounding out your Larry King Law Starting Five!

I saw things going one of two ways, 1. The first race is a bore and drivers save their stuff for the second race, or 2. All hell breaks loose, as drivers know they only have thirty laps to get their work done. I was right in my first guess! Race number one for the lack of better terms was a bit of a snooze fest. Balluzzo and Babb jumped out to a pretty decent lead and would play cat and mouse with each other. Maybe just trying to see what the car would do under certain situations, maybe even trying to make the other burn their equipment up. Jon Largena completed all thirty laps in the third spot, slowly losing ground on the leaders but at the same time pulling away from the rest of the pack. We had a few swaps of the fifth spot on the track between a few drivers but other than that, Balluzzo would drive away to lead wire to wire in a caution free feature.

With the second race being later that evening and drivers with a chance to make some changes to their cars could almost set up a much more exciting race, right? Well partially, if by exciting you mean wrecks… well more so just one wreck. Now I know some fans love to see the cars get tangled up and sliding around into the walls. Me personally I hate to see a bunch of cars get wadded up because that creates a higher risk of some of the under funded teams not being able to make it back by the next race.

As always the starting line-up for the second race is determined by the finishing order from the first. With that being said Balluzzo again would start from the pole followed by Robbie Babb, Jon Largena, Bobby Gery, and Darrell Vance. Only car not returning to the action was the #5 of Andrew Fortin, far as we knew from upstairs it was due to mechanical issues.

Now this was the race where it didn’t take long for things to get really crazy. Not even able to get a lap in we had cars air born… that’s right flying through the air. Check out the video below that was uploaded from the #1 Donnie Holston in-car camera. Holston, Harrell, McPherson were all cars that were involved in the melee and would, in the end, take them out of the competition.

With safety and clean up complete we were able to get back to green flag racing. Right before we went back green we tuned into team communications of the #48 car and heard they thought sitting there in turn one so long the tires were flat spotted. It was very clear that something had gone away on his machine has Babb was having a much easier time peaking his nose on the inside – not to mention making a pass on the outside for the lead just after the rest of the field started wrecking behind them.

Babb would eventually take the lead from Balluzzo on lap four and never look back. Balluzzo would stay about two cars back the entire rest of the race. Able to close the gap slightly as they worked around the slower cars that were left. The best battle for position would be for the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Jon Largena would again able to put a good amount of distance on him and the rest of the field just not able to mount a strong enough charge to close the gap between he and Balluzzo. Evan Horne and Darrell Vance would spend a good amount of laps putting on some nice racing but it was the youngster that would prevail and grab the fourth spot. Vance was able to hang on and grab two top five finishes on the evening. Something must have just gone south on the #60 of Gery’s car causing him to have to settle with a sixth place finish!

 

Race #1

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 30
  2. #44 Robbie Babb; 30
  3. #4 Jon Largena; 30
  4. #60 Bobby Gery; 30
  5. #87 Darrell Vance; 30
  6. #6 Evan Horne; 30
  7. #1 Donnie Holston; 30
  8. #95 Danny Harrell; 30
  9. #83 Scott Lawrence; 30
  10. #16 Eric McPherson; 29
  11. #88 Jack Sharkey; 29
  12. #14 Sunny Hobbs-Voelker; 28
  13. #5 Andrew Fortin; 5

 

Race #2

  1. #44 Robbie Babb; 30
  2. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 30
  3. #4 Jon Largena; 30
  4. #6 Evan Horne; 30
  5. #87 Darrell Vance; 30
  6. #60 Bobby Gery; 30
  7. #88 Jack Sharkey; 30
  8. #14 Sunny Hobbs-Voelker; 29
  9. #83 Scott Lawrence; 29
  10. #1 Donnie Holston; 0
  11. #95 Danny Harrell; 0
  12. #16 Eric McPherson; 0

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