Robbie Babb Goes Wire To Wire – Largena New Points Leader
Hampton, VA – Drivers and their teams converged to the grounds of Langley Speedway this weekend with fingers crossed to get some racing in. For the past four weeks tracks all over the Mid-Atlantic have been waging war with Mother Nature who keeps sticking her nose into business she doesn’t belong! She let us get all the way through practice, qualifying, pre-race festivities and even three and a half races before she had to ruin the fun. Bando’s, Legends, got their races in, the mods were able to get their first race in, and the Super Streets (running more than half the distance) got their race in as well.
A crazy mix of events proved to be one interesting night for the Larry King Law Modifieds, and this didn’t even revolve around the new patches of asphalt in the corners. Earlier in the week points leader Shawn Balluzzo had an accident that left him with some bruised ribs and a snapped wrist, needless to say the chances of him racing were slim to none. This left the points to Jon Largena – who would end up packing his car up frantically to head back to the shop to replace a bolt that snapped in the rear end during the first practice.
The crew was able to make the repairs and head back to the track in time for qualifying where Largena was able to post the second fastest time of the fifteen cars who completed time trials. Robbie Babb, who had been fast all afternoon in practice again showed his power, posting the only time in the 15 second range with a 15.921 (90.447 MPH). Jimmy Humblet, Bobby Gery, and Chris Humblet would make up the rest of the starting five. Donnie Holston who hit the wall a ton during practice was not able to get his car repaired, he went home early. Starting shotgun on the field… none other than Shawn Balluzzo! Having help from his crew of course the points leader’s goal was to merely start and park the car.
Speeds for Babb would easily transfer over to race time as he lead all 30 laps and earning a spot in victory lane. Once the green flag was displayed Babb hopped right to it while the 4 of Largena seemed to struggle to get up to speed, didn’t matter to much though because we would immediately be put back under the yellow flag due to a spinning Jack Sharkey.
Once back under green we had a darn good battle for the second position. Rudy was able to use the cone to his advantage to snag second but had a mirror full of Jimmy Humblet till lap nine when the 11 car pulled down pit road and into the garage – night over. Largena, who was able to regroup and mount another charge, did so not soon after half way peaking underneath the #8 of Rudy, finally making the pass for second.
That was just about it for the mods, with the exception of what was almost a catastrophic slip in turn two from Babb. From our vantage point it did not look like a lap car was in the way, just looked like the car got loose. This did allow Largena to close the gap some but it was to little to late, Babb would go on to take home the checkered. With Largena’s second place finish and Balluzzo’s 14th, Largena would head into the second race with the points lead. Because of Mother Nature race two was not able to be run.
- #44 Robbie Babb; 30
- #4 Jon Largena; 30
- #8 Mike Rudy; 30
- #60 Bobby Gery; 30
- #20 Chris Humblet; 30
- #6 Evan Horne; 30
- #95 Danny Harrell; 30
- #5 Andrew Fortin; 30
- #37 Wayne Hartley; 29
- #87 Darrell Vance; 29
- #51 Tony Steele; 29
- #16 Eric McPherson; 29
- #70 Curtis Hughes; 29
- #88 Jack Sharkey; 29
- #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 11
- #11 Jimmy Humblet; 9
Two divisions (Bando’s & Legends) were able to get their races in their entirety while the Super Streets were cut short after the halfway mark due to rain.
Zach Lightfoot sat on the pole and went wire to wire in a caution free Bando race to claim his third victory on the season. The victory did not come easy as Lightfoot had to worry about holding off Bradley Kilby, Autumn Weaver and Joseph Putman. As the laps wined down no one could really mount a charge on the seven machine who would win by a margin of .327 seconds. Goes to show Lightfoot really had his work cut out for him.
The INEX Legends were back in town for what I have been calling a resurgence of cars. A record 9 cars – granted one was a back up but either way – took the green flag for their 25-lap feature. Brian May had the honors of leading the field to the green after he posted the fastest time in qualifying earlier in the afternoon with a 17.890, Jackson Jr would line up to his outside followed by Hildebrand, Dail and Valente.
It was an all out battle royal once the field got the green flag, the top four of May, Jackson, Hildy, and Dail were all glued to each others bumper. Jackson with a good run off two on lap two was able to take the lead away from May and bring the 71 and 07 with him. Didn’t take long for Hildebrand to mount a charge past Jackson officially taking the lead on lap seven.
The nights first of two cautions came when Matt Dail went for an odd spin in turn three and smacked the outside retaining wall pretty hard, his car would have to be towed off the speedway, his night over. The second caution of the night came not but a few laps after the field got back under green. A slow, solo spin down the backstretch from the rookie Chris Hayes. Doing a great job to keep it of the wall and other cars he was able to fire it back up and finish the race.
Once back under green flag conditions Jackson immediately makes a move for the lead and does so coming to lap 20. Not to be denied though Hildebrand takes his machine right on back to the door of Jackson and would take lap 21 and the four that followed to grab the checkered flag. Results are still not final as fuel needed t be sent down to Charlotte to be tested – just another day in paradise with the Legends!
Reno Marchetti – who set the fast time in qualifying would be forced to start second to Gaita after the invert – would be decalred the winner after just 28 of the scheduled 40 laps when heavy rain and lightning moved into the area. Abbott would come home second, making it the seventh race the two would finish first or second, Akers scored third followed by Sammy Gaita and Bill Eaker to make up the top five.
Langley Speedway will be back in action next weekend, July 25h as the best Late Model drivers in the region come together for the annual $10,000 to win Hampton Heat 200.