Defending Champion, Greg Edwards, Wins on Opening Night at Langley Speedway
Hampton, VA – For sixteen months drivers, crews, and fans waited to fill the pits and the stands at Langley Speedway. The speedway sat dormant for the entire 2016 season with some of its drivers being forced to run at different tracks. However, on April 1, 2017, crews and fans returned to their home for some NASCAR Whelen All-American Series returned to the famed Langley Speedway.
Nick Smith set the fastest lap of record earlier in the afternoon during time trial qualifying with a time of 15.987 (88.947 MPH), just one of two drivers to break the fifteen-second barrier. Defending track champion Greg Edwards was the only other car to get down into the fifteen’s. Justin T. Carroll, Danny Edwards Jr., and Tyler Hughes rounded out the starting five for the Taylor Waste Services Late Model feature.
Nick Smith got a great start when Shayne Snider dropped the green flag on the 2017 Late Model season and would lead the first seven laps of the race. Greg Edwards, sporting a brand new wrap, had other plans for his night and took the lead from Smith on lap eight. The first of only two caution periods of the night came early on lap eleven when the #77 of Connor Hall went around in turn two from what looked like contact off the nose of Edwards Jr. Meanwhile, Tyler Hughes pulled his car into his pits nose first – overheating issues for the Maryland driver.
When the cone was displayed it was an all Edwards front row. Greg did get the better start and resumed his position at the front of the eighteen-car field. Mark Wertz was looking to get by the Justin Carroll from Concord, North Carolina, but was slowed by the second and final caution of the evening when Macy Causey went around in four – reports were that she had help but we are not able to confirm if contact was made.
On the ensuing restart, Smith would try his luck in the top groove and took cone. Leaving the Edwards brothers on the low line. When racing got back underway Greg jumped back out to the front of the field leaving Nick Smith to work is way in front of Danny Edwards. Took the field a couple laps to get sorted out and single file but that did not stop the racing from going on throughout the field.
Casey Wyatt and Connor Hall spent a good portion of the race battling back and forth for a top ten position. Mark Wertz came on strong there through the middle portion of the race driving up as high as third on the night, where he would eventually finish. Matt Waltz, who took most of the 2015 season off working and racing in the NASCAR Xfinity series, spent most of the night battling back and fourth with Wertz. Waltz would eventually finish in the fourth position after Nick Smith got up and out of the groove and lost several positions. We caught up with Nick after the race who told us a lapped car was racing him hard and got him out of the groove and he thought he had a tire going down. By the time the crew informed him all his tires were up, he had already fallen back to fifth.
It was nothing but lapped traffic between Edwards and the checkered flag as he took the first win of the 2017 season at Langley Speedway.
“Coming back to Langley Speedway is big,” Edwards said in victory lane. “We won the last one here and we get to win the first one with all that’s been going on in our life with my father passing and our long time crew chief John McMasters passing it was a big deal. I didn’t tell anyone how bad I wanted to win this race but deep down inside I wanted to win this one. The last ten laps of that race were the longest ten laps I have run. I just knew they were going to have a caution or something. I am just so happy to get this win for my father and John McMaster.”
Taking a look into The Weekly Racer mirror ball Edwards felt pretty confident with his car and crew coming back to their home track.
“We are always pretty consistent with this car but it all comes down to luck,” Edwards said. “We have a good running car and it’s just a matter of staying focused and keeping up with the track. I love the 100-lap races,” Edwards said when asked about Langley putting on longer races this season. “I truly love the 150-lap races to tell you the truth. The kind of races you got to sit back and ride. The twin 66 lap races are going to be excited too because you have to be careful in the first race so you don’t mess yourself up for the second one.”
Landon Abbott made a daring move into turn one while the field worked lap number fifteen that paid off for the young driver from Richmond, Virginia. Abbott sailed his car into turn one and leaned a little bit on his teammate and used eight tires coming off turn two to take the lead and never looked back from there. The caution flagged waved just a few times in the 40-lap Old Skool Video Games feature and Abbott was able to hold the field off.
Randy Akers, who spent the entire race running in the third position, had his evening go horribly wrong after a restart when he made contact with Calway towards the end of the race and cut down a right front tire. The crew was able to get it changed and have him back on the track without losing a lap but he would finish eleventh.
Bill Eaker used the cone to his advantage a few times throughout the night. Trying to work the high side in to grab a few positions on the start. He tried with everything he had and then some once coming through four as he almost looped it. With the track sitting as long as it did and the storms that came through Friday evening, the racing surface was pretty green, and there just wasn’t enough grip up top to make things work. Eaker was still able to snag a top five finish out the deal and came across the stripe in fourth as the race ended. Sean Calway would end up second while Jason Michaud rounded out the top five.
Taylor Waste Services Late Model OFFICIAL Results
1.#97 Greg Edwards; 100
2. #57 Justin T. Carroll; 100
3. #55 Mark Wertz; 100
4. #2 Matt Waltz; 100
5. #12 Nick Smith; 100
6. #33 Colin Cabre; 100
7. #26 Danny Edwards; 100
8. #90 Terry Carroll; 100
9. #03 Brenden Queen; 99
10. #78 Maddie Crane; 99
11. #92 Casey Wyatt; 99
12. #77 Connor Hall; 99
13. #19 Cameron Bowen; 99
14. #25 Craig Estep; 98
15. #91 Justin S. Carroll; 98
16. #33 Macy Causey; 77
17. #12 Dean Shiflett; 24
18. #8 Tyler Hughes; 6