Edwards Bounces Back And Goes Two For Two At Langley Speedway

LMSC #97 Greg Edwards.12

Edwards captures win number four at Langley Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

 

Hampton, VA – Winning at Langley Speedway this year, has not been something that has come easy for anyone this season! In the seven LMSC starts this season we have had the pleasure of crowning five different winners – only one of those drivers is able to call himself a repeat winner and that is the man pictured above, Greg Edwards. Piloting his 97.3 The Eagle machine to back-to-back victories with yet again a stack house so to speak.

Matt Waltz – taking the weekend off from the exclusive CARS Tour to mix it up again in his back yard with some of the greats – would actually qualify his Waltz Engineered Sales Chevy on the pole with a blistering time of 15.957 (90.243 MPH). I honestly didn’t expect to see times even down in the 15s because of how hot it was but he was able to find the speed and make it work. Danny Edwards, Jr and Matt Bowling, yup that’s right Matt Bowling was back in town, were the only other cars to crack the sub 16 second lap time during qualifying posting the second and third fastest times respectfully. Brenden Queen, and believe it or not, Greg Edwards finished out the starting five.

 

Rhonnda Claiborne Starting 5;
P1 #2 Matt Waltz 15.957
P2 #26 Danny Edwards 15.977
P3 #83 Matt Bowling 15.989
P4 #03 Brenden Queen 16.024
P5 #97 Greg Edwards 16.025

The first race of the double header was the second race of the evening’s program and like in the past since daylight savings time, the first was in the daylight. Well, okay it was more like dusk, either way it was still pretty warm so I am sure the track was going to be slick. Slick or not it did not faze Matt Waltz and that #2 car at the start of the race.

Once the green flag was displayed to the field you would have thought they strapped a rocket to the top of Waltz’s car. Clearing the field on the exit of turn two Waltz started early on creating some distance between himself and the rest of the field. It might have helped that from second to about the seventh spot they were all battling for pretty much the same piece of real estate! Matt Bowling, another driver that was off to a good start was able to clear the 26 of Edwards Jr and set his sights on the leader.

Some pretty good fighting for position and track position were going as far back as the sixth and seventh position. Really just a true testament on the sheer level of talent Langley Speedway has been so fortunate to witness this year. Points leader Greg Edwards had started to really make a charge through the field climbing right to the back bumper of Matt Bowling for the second spot just as we clicked off the 20th lap of a 65-lap feature. His run would be halted by the nights first caution due to some trouble down in turn two.

Now because of where I was for the race I couldn’t see what happened however I did end up seeing the #08 of Weddell facing the wrong way. Something I am sure everyone in that field wanted to see except for Weddy himself and well you guessed it, Matt Waltz! By this time it was very clear that it was going to be a battle between the top half of the top five and the lower half of the top five. Don’t think I am discounting the quality of racing by any means because it was just as intense for sixth as it was fighting for the second position.

LMSC Field2

With the cone rule in effect, it allowed for the Edwards “bros” [hope that’s okay to call them that, sounds pretty in my head!] to jump to the outside and effectively battle for the lead on the restart. Waltz was not able to clear his outside so easy this time, dealing with Greg Edwards all down the back stretch till he tucked in nice and tight in turn three. This set up an awesome three-way battle between Danny Edwards, Matt Bowling, Lee Pulliam, and even throw Tyler Hughes in the mix.

Now in a matter of a few quick laps somehow Connor Hall had managed to get some pretty hefty front-end damage, he would pull his machine down pit road. The very next lap Danny Edwards Jr pulled his ride to the attention of his crew, we found out later a plug wire was damaged and that’s what took him out of contention race one. Well, through all of that commotion with cars on and off pit road, somewhere in between there Greg Edwards got around Matt Waltz for the lead and never really looked back.

Once Edwards got into clean air no one really had anything for him, not to mention you could tell something just wasn’t right on the two car. We caught up with Matt later that evening, “It just got really tight on us there at the end,” said Waltz. “The guys ended up finding a hole in the right rear tire that was causing it to go down. Hard to say if that’s what caused it to get tight thought.”

Bowling would do a fine job to hold off the likes of Pulliam to grab a podium finish in his first time back to the flat track in 2015, Pulliam and Hughes would round out the top five as well as creating the starting line up for race number two.

Much later in the even after the sun had gone down it was time to fire the ole engines back up for another 65-lap dance around Langley field. Only this time things got a little… strange to say the least. Here we go; Matt Waltz had to go to the rear after a tire change between the second race, Connor Hall did not present his car due to what I would imagine was front end damage, after Michael Hardin breaks a rear end in practice – get things fixed, start race one, and something happens with their transmission.

All of that was just before the start of the race. THEN, once the engines are fired and Waltz takes the dreaded trip to the back, everyone forgets that the line just moves up (ie. 2nd place loses his spot, the 4th place car moves up as does everyone on the top). Once we get all that squared away and able to get under green flag condition Edwards jumps out front with Pulliam and Bowling hot on his tail but we are met by and old friend, the Yellow flag.

Again, because of it occurring in turn two and me being posted up in turn four, I was not able to see anything. However, the 08 of “Weedy” as was off the pass as was his teammate Tyler Hughes and the 67 of Woody Howard. When talking with Hughes after the race he told me that he was racing with Howard, they made a little contact on lap two, came back around and Hughes was all the way down on the apron and he wasn’t sure if Woody came down on him or he pushed up a little into the 67.

“Something in the steering just didn’t feel right,” said Hughes. “Im not sure if the tie rod broke the lap before or if it broke and that’s why we got into him. It just sucks!” Thought the night was going to be normal after that right? Wrong! Both the 08 & 8 car come down pit road. You see both drivers get out of the car, Hughes makes his way over to the 08, straps in, backs out, and returns to the track to complete laps. I think they were trying to earn as many points as they could with Hughes, however the 08 had already started the race with Weddell in the cockpit so all of those laps were credited to Weedy.

IMG_7892

I guess with all the crazy that was going on early in the race it didn’t leave much for during. Edwards seemed to have LaFawnduh set on cruise control because no one had anything for him. That didn’t take away from the awesome run Waltz had through the field to earn a top five finish. Edwards Jr, and Michael Hardin were able to battle back and have a good run after both drivers experienced separate issues in the first race. Edwards Jr, probably with the biggest break of them all was able to negotiate his way around the 5 of Pulliam later in the race to claim a hard fought podium finish just in front of the two time national champ Lee Pulliam. Matt Waltz would have to settle for a fifth place finish as his crew told me they were starting to run a little hot towards the end.

“We just started to really go back to some of the older set ups,” Edwards said during post race tech. “Back before the track was repaved, its really starting to loose all that grip it had.” Not to say that Edwards had “lost that love and feeling” of Langley Speedway but it was very clear after the team got those two wins early, different names and faces started showing up, and the team suffer a flat tire, things were looking a bit tough there for a minute. Edwards was very thankful for everyone on the crew and everyone who has their name on the car knowing it would be at all possible with out them. Including James Long, Bobby Creech, and Charlie High!

Race 1

  1. #97 Greg Edwards; 65
  2. #2 Matt Waltz; 65
  3. #83 Matt Bowling; 65
  4. #5 Lee Pulliam; 65
  5. #8 Tyler Hughes; 65
  6. #55 Mark Wertz; 65
  7. #03 Brenden Queen; 65
  8. #67 Woody Howard; 65
  9. #91 Justin Carroll; 65
  10. #19 Cameron Bowen; 64
  11. #77b Bruce Livingston; 64
  12. #33 Macy Causey; 62
  13. #08 Mike Weddell; 42
  14. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.; 37
  15. #77 Connor Hall; 27
  16. #51 Matt Taylor; 5
  17. #7 Michael Hardin; 0

Race 2

  1. #97 Greg Edwards; 65
  2. #83 Matt Bowling; 65
  3. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.; 65
  4. #5 Lee Pulliam; 65
  5. #2 Matt Waltz; 65
  6. #7 Michael Hardin; 65
  7. #67 Woody Howard; 65
  8. #03 Brenden Queen; 65
  9. #91 Justin Carroll; 65
  10. #55 Mark Wertz; 64
  11. #77b Bruce Livingston; 64
  12. #19 Cameron Bowen; 63
  13. #33 Macy Causey; 61
  14. #08 Mike Weddell; 21
  15. #8 Tyler Hughes; 3
  16. #51 Matt Taylor; 3

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