Shawn Balluzzo Doubles Down in Modified Season Opener at Langley Speedway

No. 48 Shawn Balluzzo flys into turn three during qualifying on Pepsi Night where he would win the pole and both races. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Hampton, VA – Nine-time and defending Modified series champion Shawn Balluzzo made a statement earlier in the afternoon when he laid down the only sub sixteen second lap – 15.851 or 89.710 MPH – and backed that statement up later in the evening with a dominating win in race one as well as a win from dead last in race number two. Chris Johnson – coming off of a win in a Late Model the night before – would line up to his outside while Matt Carter, Brad Adams, and Bobby Gery rounded out the fastest five cars in the fifteen car field.

Balluzzo cleared the field and jumped out to an early lead bringing Matt Carter with him. However, the field would be slowed early for the first and only caution in race number one. Andrew Fortin found himself facing the wrong way out of the groove in turn two – we were not able to see if the young driver had any help going around or not. Once the caution truck was back on pit road and the green flag was back in the air Balluzzo continued to put the whooping on the field – Carter and Gery would give it their all but would have nothing to offer the nine-time champion. Bubba Johnston and Bobby Gery would round out the top five finishers.

Per the NASCAR rulebook, when it comes to sanctioned divisions running twin races, eight cars were inverted for race number two. Chris Johnson was clearly the beneficiary of the invert when Shane Snyder waived the green flag and jumped out to a commanding lead over the field while outside pole sitter, Jon Largena, faded quickly when he was hung out to dry on the top groove. Balluzzo on the other hand elected to come down pit road and give up his eighth place starting position and started from the rear. It should be noted that Balluzzo was not eligible for the bonus points given by NASCAR for starting in the rear because it was not a full field per the support division rules.

Johnson clearly had the car to beat in the relatively calm second race as Balluzzo worked his way up through the field. Things got hairy with two laps to go when Matt Carter got into Johnson, giving it everything he had, in turns one and two and both cars went around to bring out the caution flag. Both drivers were able to pull away from the wreck, Johnson, however, pulled down pit road and nose first into his stall, Matt Carter was able to continue.

This handed the lead over to Bobby Gery who had Balluzzo right behind him. When the cone was displayed, Balluzzo elected to take it and would start on the outside of Gery. As the field sailed into turns one and two, Gery appeared to get in just a little too hot which ultimately pushed him up into Balluzzo. The contact sent Balluzzo up into the marbles but he was able to save it. Gery, however, ended up looping it and Bubba Johnston and Jamie Sample piled in making contact, this now handed the lead over to Balluzzo.

Balluzzo, of course, stayed low on the ensuing restart and had Matt Carter lined up to his outside. When the green was dropped Balluzzo powered into turn one and into sole possession of the lead out of two. He would put roughly three to four car lengths on Carter to pick up his second win of the night.

 

Sammy Gaita earned his first pole of his Grand Stock career and ultimately wound up in Dale Lemonds Victory Lane at the end of the night. After leading the handful of laps, Rodney Boyd would overtake the lead and bring Tim Wilson with him. However, on an ensuing restart later in the race, Wilson and Boyd would make heavy contact sending Wilson somewhat into the air, the contact allowed Gaita to fly on by and that was all he needed to capture his first career Pepsi Grand Stock win.

 

Larry King Law’s Modified Race 1 Results;

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 30
  2. #78 Matt Carter; 30
  3. #60 Bobby Gery; 30
  4. #51 Bubba Johnston; 30
  5. #3 Brad Adams; 30
  6. #28 Jamie Sample; 30
  7. #4 Jon Largena; 30
  8. #36 Chris Johnson; 30
  9. #5 Andrew Fortin; 30
  10. #95 Danny Harrell; 30
  11. #98 Matt Morgan; 29
  12. #30 Derek Roberts; 28
  13. #19 Kyle Wood; 19
  14. #29 Adam Medek; 14
  15. #49 Todd Whitesell; 3

 

Larry King Law’s Modified Race 2 Results;

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 30
  2. #78 Matt Carter; 30
  3. #95 Danny Harrell; 30
  4. #5 Andrew Fortin; 30
  5. #60 Bobby Gery; 30
  6. #51 Bubba Johnston; 30
  7. #98 Matt Morgan; 30
  8. #29 Adam Medek; 30
  9. #28 Jamie Sample; 30
  10. #30 Derek Roberts; 30
  11. #36 Chris Johnson; 28
  12. #4 Jon Largena; 28
  13. #3 Brad Adams; 25

Pepsi Grand Stock Results;

  1. #24 Sammy Gaita; 40
  2. #9 Rodney Boyd; 40
  3. #14 Paul Lubno; 40
  4. #2 Michael Waters; 40
  5. #77 Carl Livingston; 40
  6. #51 Grant Blasingame; 39
  7. #17 Tim Wilson; 24
  8. #26 Louis Pasderetz; 19

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