Modified: Top Five In Points Do Not See The Checkered – Sets Up Crazy Season Finale
Hampton, VA – Crazy is an understatement, and wild would have been an upgrade for this weekends 50-lap Larry King Law Modifieds from Langley Speedway. Three of the top five cars in the points found themselves parked by the order of the race director thanks to their silly actions on the racing surface, the other two cars in the top five found their night over before lap 50 after an accident and a parts failure! I am not kidding and couldn’t really make these things up folks I promise. Your top five cars in the point’s standings – Shawn Balluzzo, Robbie Babb, Jon Largena, Evan Horne, and Bobby Gery – never made it to see lap 40.
Points leader Shawn Balluzzo made a statement during qualifying earlier in the afternoon putting down a 16.403 (86.691 MPH) lap, almost two tenths faster than Jon Largena who lined up to his outside. Robbie Babb, who had clutch issues all afternoon, was able to lay a lap down good enough for the third starting spot. Jimmy Humblet and Matt Carter – making his return to Langley Speedway for the first time this season – rounded out the starting five.
Things looked pretty tame at the drop of the green flag. Both Balluzzo and Babb clear the outside machine of Largena. It would take two laps for Babb to get around Balluzzo for the lead and Babb seamed to check out from there, at one point having almost a full second lead. Twenty-nine laps were in the books before things got, well lets just call it strange. Ultimately Bobby Gery was the reason for the caution as he spun the car around in turn four. After getting his car headed in the right direction he left nothing to be guess on who he was angry with and took off after Horne. The two would exchange blows on the backstretch with their vehicles causing Mr. Walker to park both drivers.
On the ensuing restart, Babb and Largena shared the front row, but we wouldn’t make it past turn one before cars were sent spinning into the wall. From our vantage point it looked like Babb – who had been battling clutch problems all afternoon – just did not get going like he wanted to. As the field entered one, Largena was clear and coming down the track when Babb took a very low and very straight entry into the corner, the two hooked, the two went around. Largena hitting and coming to a rest on the outside wall, Babb was able to drive away. In fact Babb would bring his machine around to the front stretch where the rest of the field was stopped due to the red flag and run into the right front of Balluzzo – ultimately putting an end to his night.
Once the carnage was cleaned up and officials deemed it to be safe to return to the racing action the cone was displayed to the field. The only person to take the cone was the #11 machine of Jimmy Humblet. When the green flag dropped this time Balluzzo’s machine very slow to get up to speed which allowed for Humblet an easy pass on the outside, it also caught the eyes of the officials who immediately posted Humblet for jumping the start. Just as Mr. Humblet hit pit road to serve his penalty we were place back under the yellow flag.
It was also at that time Balluzzo came over the radio and let his crew know that he too had no clutch and that Humblet did not jump and should not have been penalized. Once word got up to the tower Mr. Walker thanked the Balluzzo for his honesty and allowed Jimmy his spot back on the track.
It would be a fairly quick caution period, and well honestly an even quicker green flag period, as we had to slow things down yet again on lap 32. This time involving point’s leader Shawn Balluzzo, South Boston Modified Champion Mike Rudy, and the #1 of Donnie Holston. Being able to take a look back at the “replay” it looked as if all three were battling hard going into turn one, Balluzzo looked to dive bellow Holston, nerf bars touched, the two went around with Mike Rudy kind of being guilty by association. Better yet, just the wrong place at the wrong time.
This set up a Humblet, Carter, Harrell, Sharkey, and Fortin top five coming to the restart, with just 18 laps to go. In the course of those 18 laps Mike Rudy was asked to make his way to the back of the pack after taking the cone and the green after not only being involved in the wreck but on pit road. Point’s leader Shawn Balluzzo runs into distributor problems that ultimately ends his night. Matt Carter has powered his way up to the second position. Danny Harrell able to hang on to the third spot, and Donnie Holston able to battle back after spinning to a fifth place finish. Jack Sharkey posting his best finish – 4th – of the 2015 season with just one race to go.
Yes you read that right! We still have one more weekend for these boys to finish up their season. You would think after watching a race like that everyone from first to eighth was fighting for the championship trophy. Speaking of which Balluzzo & Babb entered the weekend separated by just five points. With Robbie being parked and then Shawn having mechanical issues, Balluzzo left Langley Speedway with just a seven-point advantage. Not sure if anyone else watched or read our story about the Late Model championship race – Greg Edwards Victorious In Season Finale – Wins Fifth Championship After A Tie Break – a seven point lead is nothing to sleep on, especially when your division averages 13-16 cars every race.
OFFICIAL Larry King Law Modified Results;
- P1 #11 Jimmy Humblet; 50
- P2 #78 Matt Carter; 50
- P3 #95 Danny Harrell; 50
- P4 #88 Jack Sharkey; 50
- P5 #1 Donnie Holston; 50
- P6 #5 Andrew Fortin; 50
- P7 #28 Todd Vanguilder; 50
- P8 #87 Darrell Vance; 50
- P9 #51 Tony Steele; 49
- P10 #16 Eric McPherson; 49
- P11 #8 Mike Rudy; 41
- P12 #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 39
- P13 #4 Jon Largena; 29
- P14 #44 Robbie Babb; 29
- P15 #6 Evan Horne; 29
- P16 #60 Bobby Gery; 28