Balluzzo Etches His Name In Langley Speedway’s Record Books With Eighth Title
Langley Speedway waved the checkered flag over their 65th season just over a week ago, and crowned champions in the remaining six divisions that call the facility home. Not only were champions crowned, history was re-written when Shawn Balluzzo clinched his 8th Modified division title at the tricky .395 mile oval. Now, I would be a horrible media outlet if I did not give credit where credit was due as Robbie Babb won some of the battles but was just not able to win the war.
Babb entered the season finale seven points behind Balluzzo and on a mission, if I do say so my self. Babb set the pole earlier in afternoon with a time of 16.396, citing the car was a little slow due to the cooler temps. It did not matter come race time however for Babb who set a blister pace throughout the 75-lap feature. No doubt in anyone’s mind that night on who the fastest car was. Not taking any credit away from Babb’s performance on the night but with a seven-point gap Balluzzo did not need to push the car to its limits. All he needed was a solid finish; why not take it easy when you can.
Babb, in victory lane was a bit from a celebratory mood as he locked up his sixth win in dominating fashion. “Yeah, it’s a little bittersweet,” Babb said. “There’s a lot of things I can say, but I’m gonna just leave it at that, they know what they did and it’ll come around.” Babb did have a couple less than ideal moments towards the end of the race trying to get by some slower cars who were battling for position, one almost sending the leader into the grass on the backstretch.
Needing only a seventh place finish on the night – even with the Babb win – Balluzzo took what some would call an aggressively modest approach to the night. Okay, I am pretty sure no one said those two words together as I had to sit back and look at them again. Yes, Robbie had the fastest car that night and deserved to win, but as I said before, Balluzzo was not in the position to need to push his car, his crew, or his ability to their limits
“Oh my God. I couldn’t have driven any slower tonight,” Balluzzo said after the race. “Just riding, trying to finish second. We didn’t need a win. Just staying out of trouble and riding around.” With his eighth Langley Speedway title in hand, second track championship of 2015 (East Carolina Motor Speedway – Modifieds), Balluzzo will take some time off to recover. As most of you know Balluzzo has had knee issues for most of his racing career and will be taking some time to attend to those issues this off-season. Will also give him some time to allow his wrist to heal after an accident working around his house.
With the 2015 season wrapped up its safe to say that Balluzzo and the entire crew had one eventful year. Ultimately landed him a spot in the Top 100 in the Div II National Points standings under NASCAR (19 Starts | 6 Wins | 13 Top 5’s | 17 Top Ten’s). Add winning two of the three track titles at tracks you visited this year would be enough in my book to off set all the mechanical problems the team had at South Boston, where he finished 7th in their points standings.