Clean Sweep for Balluzzo at Langley Speedway in the Modified Twins

Shawn Balluzzo rolls through turns one and two during afternoon practice at Langley Speedway before sweeping both races. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer)

Hampton, VA – Matt Slye, who made his return to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway a couple weeks ago in the Modified division before the race was rained out – bettered his qualifying efforts by six positions to grab the pole away from Shawn Balluzzo posting a lap time of 16.856 (84.362 MPH) seconds. Balluzzo, who had won the pole for the first race a couple weeks ago would start the race in the second position 0.012 seconds slower. Andrew Fortin, Matt Carter, and Chris Humblet rounded out the starting five of the fourteen car field. Current points leader Robbie Babb had issues with the right front of the car during the scuff session and was not able to put a lap down in time trials.

As usual, things were pretty calm in the first feature, which saw fourteen cars take the green flag. Matt Slye jumped out to the early lead and set a pretty fast pace as the sun just started to set behind the turn three tree line. Behind the leaders witnessed a little bit of bumping and a little bit of passing, however, everyone was able to keep their cars straight and off the wall. Chris Humblet might have been the biggest “loser” in the first race – and we use the term loser very lightly – after losing two positions to Matt Carter and Bubba Johnston just before the halfway point of the race.

As flagman Shayne Snider displayed the cross flags to the field, Balluzzo started to turn the wick up for the lead. Drive off looked to be the deciding factor for Balluzzo, who was driving for the United Sates Air Force in the first ever and to my understanding, annual, Armed Forces Cup for the modified division that was rained out a couple weeks ago. Balluzzo was able to finally peek his nose under Slye down the backstretch and take the lead out of four coming to lap 25.

The race was only slowed by only two caution periods. The first for the 28 of Jamie Sample who went for a spin in turns three and four after light contact battling hard for position. The car seemed to be okay it just took a little help some the wreckers after the nose of the car went over the lip of the drainage ditch. Sample was able to continue and finish the race under his own power. The second came from a spinning Matt Slye off turn four who looked to have a little help as well. Luckily he was able to keep it off the wall and off the other cars.

Per the NASCAR Rule Book, a minimum of eight cars were inverted to ensure the full field of Modifieds – who compete in Division II of the NWAAS points system – received maximum state and national points. This put Donnie Holston and Bobby Gery on the front row of the second 33-lap feature. Balluzzo, who was slated to start in the eighth position, elected to come down pit road to the attention of his crew on the parade laps and start at the rear of the field. A move that would help him earn bonus points through the NASCAR points system as well as potentially save his racecar.

That call proved to work out for him in more ways than one as the top half of the field ended up in the outside retaining wall going into turn one. Once the green flag was displayed the field sailed off into turn one and either Holston over drove the corner himself or he had some help from the 20 of Chris Humblet. After a video was posted from a GoPro camera situated on Holston’s car, saw Bobby Gery try to force his way down going into turn one. Contact was made and carnage ensued.  

Multiple cars were involved and received a fair amount of damage. The front row, of course, received damage, Jimmy Humblet, Danny Harrell also received damage. Bubba Johnston also hit pit road to have his crew look at the car. After the carnage was cleared Race Control deemed the Chris Humblet was actually not involved in the wreck and came out of the pile first and was awarded the race lead on the complete restart.

The second race was not as smooth rolling as the first and saw a couple more cautions as well as a couple different leaders. Once we got the track clear from the 63 of Derek Roberts as well as the #5 of Fortin – who looked to have a mechanical failure later in the race that took him out of the hunt– Matt Carter was in control of the field for several laps until eight-time champion, Shawn Balluzzo was able to get to his bumper just before half way.

A little contact was made between the two as they battled hard for the lead. Balluzzo hungry for another full field win, Carter looking to earn his first trip to Dale Lemonds Victory Lane. Matt Carter did a great job trying to hold Balluzzo down on the corners but it just was not enough for the 48 car who ended up taking the lead on lap 12 and never looked back.

The race was slowed two more times by the yellow flag but it did not seem to phase Balluzzo at all. Both times he is able to hold off a very hard charging Matt Carter on the outside line. The late race restarts helped Matt Slye get back into the mix of things after spinning in race one and finishing deep in the field as well but just ran out of laps and maybe even some tire, he would finish the second race behind Matt Carter – who will also make a huge jump in points after two second place finishes – in the third position.

With the top three in points – Babb, Gery, and J. Humblet – all having lackluster nights, the clean sweep will not only help Balluzzo’s efforts in the track points but it will also help his efforts in the NWAAS State & National points battle. The Modifieds will be back in action June 24th with another twin race night. The Pro Six, UCAR, Legends, Bandos and Enduro’s will all join them as well.

 

Rodney Boyd and Tommy Sweeney split the twin bill in the Pepsi Grandstock features. Boyd took the lead from pole sitter Mark Frye and never looked back in the catuion free 25-lap spring race. Again, per the NASCAR rule book, a minimum of eight cars were inverted for race number two handing the top spot over the long time Langley veteran, Paul Lubno. His lead would be short lived, however, as Sweeney took the top spot and Lubno hit pit road with what appeared to be mechanical issue. Boyd was clearly the faster car on the scoring monitor and was able to get back to the bumper of Sweeney on the white flag lap and even gave him a shot out of two. Boyd was not able to make the pass and Sweeney would return to victory lane for the first time in over a year.

 

Jesse Jones made his return to Langley after taking a small break to focus on buiding a car for the Short Track Nationals at Bristol. Jones set the pole speed in time trials but appeared to be just a little to loose come race time to hold the lead. The race saw a nice battle for the lead on the heels of the features only restart. Michael Waters and Eric Schaffer leaning on each other, putting on a great show for the packed crowd. Schaffer did everything he could to pinch the #36 of Waters on corner exits but it was not enough. Waters would eventually power his way to the lead and the win.

Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway will be back in action next week, June 17th however, with twin Late Model features. The Grand Stocks will return along with the Super Trucks. Also running will be the Pro Six and HRKC Pro Wing Karts.

 

 

 

Larry King Law Modified Race #1 OFFICIAL Results:

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 33
  2. #78 Matt Carter; 33
  3. #51 Bubba Johnston; 33
  4. #5 Andrew Fortin; 33
  5. #95 Danny Harrell; 33
  6. #20 Chris Humblet; 33
  7. #60 Bobby Gery; 33
  8. #1 Donnie Holston; 33
  9. #44 Robbie Babb; 33
  10. #11 Jimmy Humblet; 33
  11. #33 Matt Slye; 33
  12. #28 Jamie Sample; 33
  13. #63 Derek Roberts; 33
  14. #16 Eric McPherson; 10

 

 Larry King Law Modified Race #2 OFFICIAL Results:

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 33
  2. #78 Matt Carter; 33
  3. #33 Matt Slye; 33
  4. #51 Bubba Johnston; 33
  5. #60 Bobby Gery; 33
  6. #28 Jamie Sample; 33
  7. #20 Chris Humblet; 33
  8. #44 Robbie Babb; 33
  9. #63 Derek Roberts; 33
  10. #16 Eric McPherson; 32
  11. #5 Andrew Fortin; 28
  12. #1 Donnie Holston
  13. #95 Danny Harrell
  14. #11 Jimmy Humblet

 

Pepsi Grand Stock Race #1 OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #9 Rodney Boyd; 25
  2. #29 Mark Frye; 25
  3. #6 Shawn Scovel; 25
  4. #18 Johnathan White; 25
  5. #11 Tommy Sweeney; 25
  6. #2 Michael Waters; 25
  7. #14 Paul Lubno; 25

 

Pepsi Grand Stock Race #2 OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #11 Tommy Sweeney; 25
  2. #9 Rodney Boyd; 25
  3. #29 Mark Frye; 25
  4. #2 Michael Waters; 25
  5. #6 Shawn Scovel; 25
  6. #18 Johnathan White; 24
  7. #14 Paul Lubno; 5

 

Carroll Automotive UCAR OFFICIAL Results:

  1. #36 Michael Waters; 25 (winner)
  2. #3 Eric Schaffer; 25
  3. #5 Jesse Jones IV; 25
  4. #18 Brandon Wood; 25
  5. #28 Tommy Gildea; 5

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