Shawn Balluzzo Hopes for Success at Familiar Track – East Carolina NWSMT Preview
Robersonville, NC – The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is set to roll into East Carolina Motor Speedway for the first time in the series 12 year history. With four races remaining on the schedule Burt Myers leads Andy Seuss by ten points.
A rookie in this series looks to have an edge though. Long time short track veteran Shawn Balluzzo won three out of the four modified races last season at East Carolina as he went on to take the championship at the high banked oval. At his home track, Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA, he has eight track championships and also was the 2011 Division II National Champion.
He’s had two starts in the Southern Modifieds and finished 7th at Bowman Gray Stadium in the last race, a great finish for his first time at the flat quarter mile track. “Oh man, it was unreal. It was a bullring, it was like the hardest thing I’ve done in racing,” Balluzzo said after the race, “When I did those 365 laps for that girl for that charity, 7 races in one night…this was way harder.” Going into ECMS he said “I feel really good about it, I think we’ll be on home turf I’ll know the track inside and out and now we know a lot about the car and we will see how it goes from there.”
2013 Langley Modified champion Robert Babb will also hop in one of the high powered machines to challenge the NWSMT regulars. The feature race will be for 150 laps along with the Street Stocks, Bandoleros, and the Late Models will be running twins. The late model series has a great points battle going on between Brenden Queen and Louis White, who are separated by just two points at the track and nine points in the state battle.
The Weekly Racer will have you covered for both 40-lap NWAAS Late Model features as well as the Southern Modified race LIVE on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer) as East Carolina Motor Speedway host its first Sunday afternoon. Make sure to get there early as you will not want to miss the special presentation in honor of the 15th anniversary of 9/11. The complete schedule of the day can also be found bellow.
The Race: The Visit Martin County 150 will be the eighth of 11 races during the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship season. This will be the tour’s first visit to the high-banked 3/8-mile oval.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through time trials while the remaining five starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (56.25 miles).
The Track: East Carolina Motor Speedway opened in 1990 under the ownership of Gerald Whitehurst, Durwood Allen and Lee Harney. Over the years, others leased and operated the track. By 2005, Whitehurst had bought out his partners and accepted an offer late that year to sell the track to Wayne M. Perry of Elizabeth City, N.C. The sale was completed in early 2006. Among the drivers who have raced at ECMS are Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Mast. The track is D-shaped and banked 24 degrees in the turns and 10 degrees on the straightaways.
The Records: Inaugural event.
Visit Martin County 150 Early Entry List
#1 Burt Myers
#2 JR Bertuccio
#4 Jason Myers
#5 Kyle Ebersole
#11 Andy Suess
#14 Trey Hutchens III
#15 Jeremy Grestner
#22 Kyle Bonsignore
#28 George Brunnhoelzl III
#33 Austin Pickens*
#40 Danny Bohn
#70 Shawn Balluzzo*
#74 Bobby Measmer Jr
#77 Gary Putnam
#79 Robert Babb
#97 Bryan Dauzat
*Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender