Langley: A Long Night of Racing Begins to Shape the Championship Battles in the Modified Division
Hampton, Va. – With only two weeks of racing for the division at Langley remaining, the championship picture for Langley’s Modifieds is now becoming clear. Saturday Night’s racing started off with a 20 lap feature for the Rhonda Claiborne HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts, and produced a one of two first time winners in 2015.
The 50 lap feature for the IMCA Modifieds sure proved to be a hectic one, as the division brought a handful of drivers and a close battle for the track championship. Robbie Babb qualified on pole with a speed of 86.999 mph and dominated the entire race. The race became hectic before it even started when Shawn Balluzzo stopped on the backstretch during the pace laps. “A ball joint broke in two and the crew changed it an amazing amount of time,” Balluzzo commented. Balluzzo rejoined the field one lap into the race, when a caution came out as a result of Wayne Hartley and Jon Largena getting together, collecting Jack Sharkey. More chaos took place when the race director had Balluzzo as two laps down, while most agree he was only down one. On the restart, Babb took off, and assumed a lead the size of a straightaway. Chris Humblet would be the first out of the race after blowing the clutch out on his machine. “At that point, I just tried limping around for a few,” Humblet commented. Humblet is sponsored by Tommy’s Racing Engines and Tony Culley Racing Fabrication and races for Racing 2 Cure.
Babb’s lead vanished on lap 32, when Jon Largena spun out of turn two. On the next restart, Mark Slye spun out in turn two when he was part of a three wide battle. On lap 35, Jimmy Humblet, Bobby Gery, and Danny Harrell all spun in two. Attention turned to Evan Horne, who was believed to be leaking rear end grease, causing the spin. Another caution came out when Slye and Hartley locked each other in turn four, sending them both into the outside wall on the front straightaway. At that point, the race director said caution laps would begin to count for any following cautions. It’s a good thing he said that, as the drivers got their act together and finished the race under green. Robbie Babb picked up the win, with Jimmy Humblet in second and Michael Fortin in third. Following the race, Shawn Balluzzo ran up the stands to plead his case to the race director, but no changes have been made as of Tuesday night. If the results stand, Balluzzo will only hold a two point advantage over Babb. Largena will only be six points out of the lead, making the battle even tighter. “The race was a terrible,” Balluzzo commented. “I don’t know what’s wrong with a modified guys lately.” Balluzzo is sponsored by Heart Song Care and Signs & Graphics to Go.
1. #44 Robbie Babb; 50
2. #11 Jimmy Humblet; 50
3. #5 Andrew Fortin; 50
4. #4 Jon Largena; 50
5. #60 Bobby Gery; 50
6. #95 Danny Harrell; 50
7. #1 Donnie Holston; 50
8. #87 Darrell Vance; 50
9. #16 Eric McPherson; 49
10. #51 Tony Steele; 49
11. #70 Curtis Hughes; 49
12. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 48
13. #6 Evan Horne; 35
14. #37 Wayne Hartley; 34
15. #33 Mark Slye; 34
16. #20 Chris Humblet; 27
17. #12 Mark Gomez; 3
18. #88 Jack Sharkey; 0
Matthew Leach was on pole with a 61.751 mph lap. Early in the race, the #25 of Cody Espinoza was spun going into turn three, and ultimately flipped his kart on its side next to the wall. “I dropped my chain in qualifying so I had to start from the rear,” Espinoza explained. “[Bradley Gawer] got loose and spun out. I tried to go low to avoid him and ended up spinning out myself,” Espinoza added. “[I] rolled backwards into the side of the [Gary Osbourne], which ended up turning me.” Espinoza wanted to thank Robert Pellek for giving him the chance to race this year, but also added that he is looking for sponsorship.
Leach, with the help of Tillman Heuer, David Millard, John Savage and Vaughan Crittenden, drafted away from the field on the restart. Later in the race, the lead pack consisted of only Leach and Heuer. In a three kart train, Cody Carlton, Cullen Roberts, and Charlie-Ray Lorah chased down the leaders and made it to the front. The threesome was able to catch the leaders by lap 19, taking the lead coming to the white flag. Coming to the checkers, Roberts slipped under Carlton and won the race by only 4 one hundredths of a second. “Once [Charlie-Ray Lorah] and I got to Cody Carlton, there was no stopping us,” Roberts commented. “Overall, I couldn’t have come to the front without all the help I had [from] Cody and Charlie!” Roberts is sponsored by Afflicted War Heroes and wanted to thank Rhonda Claiborne for sticking with the Winged Kart division over the years. Despite finishing second, Cody Carlton said, “[The result] was a blast.” Carlton wanted to thank Mark Roberts for his help and support. Finishing third, Charlie-Ray Lorah was happy with the outcome of the race. “I qualified second, but we had motor issues on the start,” Lorah commented. “I got hooked up with [Brandon Lorah], but he was involved in a wreck. Luckily, Cullen was back there to help me.” Lorah is sponsored by Rock Solid Surfaces, Shooter Trucking, Eddie Mishue, and wanted to thank his crew for their effort.
For the first of two UCAR races, Michael Waters started on pole with a speed of 73.564 mph. On the initial start, Waters powered ahead of the field to assume the lead. The first caution came out on lap two when Evan Horne ended up driver’s side against the wall, ending his race. Once again, Waters took off, leaving the battle for second between Kevin Morgan and Jesse Jones. Finally passing Morgan, Jones opened up the door for Mike Perkins to take third, but lost it to Morgan on the next lap. Waters had the lead by a straightaway, when Ashten Mullet spun out in turn two on the last lap, setting up a Green-White-Checker finish. On the final restart, Morgan hung on the top against Waters for almost a lap, but Waters cleared him and got his first win in his first start this season in the UCAR division.
In the 25 lap Super Truck race, Tommy Nixon started on pole with a speed of 74.240 mph. On the start, Nixon got away from the field as Trevor Battoia and Chase McAdams fought for second. By lap 7, McAdams passed Battoia and began chasing down Nixon. On lap 16, McAdams caught Nixon when they tangled, causing Nixon to spin out and go to the back. On the restart, McAdams sailed away to another victory.
In the 30 lap Pro Six race, Landon Florian continued to show speed as he started on the pole with a 83.051 mph lap. With an invert, Florian started fourth, and was able to take the lead from Bobby Hall on lap 15. Florian would go on to win his fourth of the season. “We haven’t figured out the repave yet,” commented third place finisher Bobby Hall. Hall is sponsored by Plan B Sales, Hawkeye Racing Graphics, KVK3 Custom Diecast, Nascar Diecast Trade Center, TORP Chassis, Paradise Road Speed & Custom, and King Charles Photography.
In the second UCAR race, Michael Waters started on pole by virtue of winning the first race. On the first lap, Thomas Gildea, James Gaita, and Ashten Mullet got collected in turn two, ultimately ending their nights. On the restart, Waters pulled ahead of Morgan and never looked back. In this race, the real battle was between Michelle Willingham, a first time racer at Langley, and UCAR veteran Richard Ellis. Although racing for the seventh position, the battle was fun to watch, as neither cleared the other for a handful of laps. Waters went on to win the second race, followed by Tim Wilson and Mike Perkins. Finishing second and fourth, Jesse Jones was happy with his efforts. “[Kevin Morgan] and I put on a pretty good show for second in the first race,” Jones commented despite Morgan’s disqualification. Jones is sponsored by EZ Auto, Ductworx Inc., Frontline Vapes, and Blacksmith Auto Repair.
In the 30 lap enduro feature, Derrick Boggess drew the pole and ended up winning his second race of the year.
Racing returns to Langley this Saturday for Twin 65 lap features. The Weekly Racer (@theweeklyracer) will have you covered!
About the Author: Charlie Alexander is the founder of King Charles Photography and Camo Warehouse and uses his photos to showcase his passion for motorsports in the Southeast. Alexander, 17, is a senior at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Va., as well as a contributing photographer for Langley Speedway and a contributor to The Weekly Racer and Race Chaser Online.