Andrew Fortin Earns First Modified Victory at Langley Speedway; First Round of Champions Crowned as Season Comes to a Close
Hampton, VA – With just two races left in the season for the IMCA style asphalt Modified’s at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, Shawn Balluzzo entered the evening with a comfortable forty-one-point advantage over Bobby Gery, who took over second in the points when Matt Carter had motor issues the last time the series had twins. With his motor issues behind him, Carter laid down the fastest lap in qualifying time trials earlier in the afternoon posting a time of 16.795 (84.668 mph) seconds. Balluzzo posted the second quickest time in the session to earn a front row starting position for the 50-lap feature. Andrew Fortin, Bobby Gery, and Chris Flowers.
Matt Carter would show the way into turn one and out of turn two claiming the lead. The Newport News driver would show the way for the first eleven trips around the .395-mile oval. Balluzzo, however, was right in his tire tracks as the two checked out from the rest of the field. The eight-time champion would make his move for the race lead after battling with Carter for a handful of laps. Once the pass was made, Balluzzo immediately opened up over a half second gap over the No. 78 as Carter settled into a rhythm clicking off laps.
Things got interesting as the field reached halfway. In twelve laps Carter was able to track Balluzzo back down as it looked like his car was struggling center off. Right as Carter made the pass to retake the lead, the No. 63 machine of Derek Roberts went around in turn two bringing out the first of three cautions. Because the field did not complete a full lap after Carter made the pass, Balluzzo was moved back to the lead after the race went back to the last completed lap. Oddly enough this happened a second time on lap thirty-three after Carter made another pass on Balluzzo but would fall back to second when McPherson spun in turn one.
Both Matt Carter’s and Balluzzo’s fate would be sealed just ten laps later when contact was made between the two when Carter made his third attempt at the race lead. Race control would move Carter to the rear of the field for what they called aggressive driving, effectively handing the race lead over to Andrew Fortin. Once the race went back green. With the two fastest cars in the rear and only eight laps left, Andrew Fortin was able to mount a four car length advantage lead over rookie of the year contender Jamie Sample. It was just enough for the Smithfield, Virginia driver to earn his first career win. Balluzzo would retire from the race early with issues in the rear end of the car.
Paul Lubno picked up his 106th career victory in dominating fashion in the final Pepsi Grand Stock race of the season after taking the lead from Rodney Boyd on lap nine. Lubno set a blistering pace in the eight-car, caution free, 40-lap feature. Tommy Sweeney would play things safe and crossed the line in the fourth position. However, it was just enough for the Hampton, Virginia, driver to clinch the 2017 division championship. Sweeney later mentioned in victory lane that he really had no intentions of coming back and racing this year when the track reopened, however, with the loss of one of their biggest crew members, Kenny Alves, father of Sweeney’s spotter Kevin, Sweeney wanted to come back one last time and win the championship in his honor. With the championship in hand, Sweeney went on to say he is excited to hang his helmet up to get his son, who is excited about racing, into the sport.
Chase McAdams picked up the victory in the Harris Truck Shop Super Truck race. Inching ever so closely to the points lead. The trucks will wrap up their season next weekend, September 23rd. Tommy Gildea of Gloucester, Virginia, was finally able to put the run together he needed to snap Michael Waters ten race win streak. The victory came a day late and a dollar short so to speak as Water clinched the championship. Aaron Leach got the victory under the lights in the HRKC Pro Wing Karts while Brandon Lorah was able to earn the championship.
Modified OFFICIAL Results
- #5 Andrew Fortin; 50
- #28 Jamie Sample; 50
- #51 Chris Flowers; 50
- #1 Donnie Holston; 50
- #60 Bobby Gery; 50
- #78 Matt Carter; 50
- #70 Curtis Hughes; 50
- #63 Derek Roberts; 50
- #16 Eric McPherson; 50
- #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 45
11. #95 Danny Harrell; 20