Monthly Archives: July 2020

Corey Heim Sets Quick Time in Hampton Heat 200 Qualifying

Cory Heim powers off turn two during qualifying on his way to take the pole. (Andy Newsome/Loose In Tight Off)

Hampton, VA– The starting line-up for the 12thannual Hampton Heat 200 has finally been set and it’s Marietta, Georgia’s very own Cory Heim who will lead the twenty-six car field to the green later this evening. Heim’s 15.605-second lap (91.125 mph) was only .042 seconds faster than former track champion Greg Edwards who will share the front row. Jared Fryar, Bobby McCarty, and Danny Edwards will make up the fastest five cars.

“Feels really good man,” Heim said after qualifying. “We came here with a little bit of an unknown with this new racecar. I think it’s the third race on it now, it ran really good at Myrtle Beach. Got to thank Lee Pulliam Performance and Toyota Racing for a really good piece.

Heim went on to add what it’s going to take from behind the steering wheel to park the car in victory lane

“Strategy is going to play a key for sure with the tire breaks at lap hundred and one fifty,” Heim added. “That an unknown for me because I have never run this race before. It’s going to take a total team effort and me doing my job keeping the car in one piece and upfront.

Interview courtesy of Langley Speedway Instagram

 

Hampton Heat 200 Starting Line Up

  1. #78 Cory Heim
  2. #21 Greg Edwards
  3. #14 Jarred Fryar
  4. #22 Bobby McCarty
  5. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.
  6. #12 Timothy Peters
  7. #24 Colin Garrett
  8. #22C Grayson Cullather
  9. #9B Alex Brock
  10. #19 Blake Stallings
  11. #03 Brenden Queen
  12. #44 Justin Johnson
  13. #77 Connor Hall
  14. #2 Brandon Pierce
  15. #9C Trey Crews
  16. #91 Justin S. Carroll
  17. #26 Peyton Sellers
  18. #40 C.E. Falk
  19. #8 Thomas Scott
  20. #29 Casey Wyatt
  21. #21 Terry Carroll
  22. #17 Stacey Puryear
  23. #9 Rodney Boyd
  24. #25 Craig Eastep
  25. #71 Rick Gdovic
  26. #55 Mark Wertz

2020 Hampton Heat 200 Who to Watch & Race Day Schedule

Hampton, VA – Usually by this time of the year we have covered several dozens of races, crowned a winner in the opening round of the Virginia Triple Crown series, and figured out who the powerhouses in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Car community are. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a good portion of the 2020 season had been postponed and teams have yet to really flex their muscle. However, teams from all over the region will stroll into Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway all with the same goal in mind – landing in victory lane.

Twenty plus cars are expected to participate in tonights 200 lap feature, along with three additional support divisions, from the sold-out Langley Speedway. For those fans who were lucky enough to get tickets, and for those who will be tuning in tonight on NBC Gold Track pass, here are a few drivers to keep your eyes on. In no particular order.

 

1. Bobby McCarty

The defending CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car champion is also a former Hampton Heat champion and has been on a hot streak in recent years. Though he has not had much success so far in the 2020 CARS Tour campaign McCarty traveled to Hampton, Virginia two weeks ago and kicked off the 2020 Langley season with a trip to Dale Lemonds victory lane. Finishing the rain-shortened test in the top five last night McCarty and his No. 22 Toyota Camera will be one to watch for all evening.

 

2. Cory Heim

Another regular competitor in on the CARS Tour circuit but on the Super Late Model side of things has proven time and time again he can battle for wins. Heim was another driver who finished yesterday’s test in the top five of the speed charts. Heim as little experience at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway but has proven to the Late Model, and Super Late Model community, that he can travel anywhere and be competitive. Looking for Heim to post a solid qualifying lap and keep the nose of his machine clean, if he can do this for 199 laps I would not count him out as a contender to win.

 

3. Brenden Queen

Queen has always shown he knows how to navigate the long distances races just never had luck go his way. Queen once again, albeit was a shorter race, proved that he can contend for wins if he can get the track position. The young Chesapeake driver who picked up his first Langley Speedway win of his LMSC career last year in a pair of twins almost did just that during the 2020 season opener battling door-to-door with former multi-time track champion Danny Edwards. IF Queen can snag a top ten starting position, remember to run his race and not burn his tires up, and maybe a little bit of luck Queen might just be able to help keep the trophy in the Hampton Roads area.

 

4. Connor Hall

Now, it almost seems like you have to put the driver in the “Who to Watch” category when they top the speed chart, right? I personally say the answer to that is no. Sometimes test sessions are a bit of a mind game. Throw a set of stickers on the car and go blast one quick lap while the other guys and/or gals are running on 150+ lap tires. However, Connor Hall came on strong towards the end of the season last year and enters tonight’s 200-lap feature as the defending champion. This is no normal Saturday night show for the Hampton native so he is going to have to be on top of his game, however, if you don’t keep an eye on the blue No. 77 tonight then you are doing it all wrong. As long as Hall can keep his temper under control and not stick his nose into places they don’t belong too soon there is a good chance he can become the historic races only back-to-back champion.

 

5. C.E. Falk

Ahh, the always difficult fifth spot… Trying to nail down five drivers to pay attention to when there are probably eight to ten who could win this thing. I also feel like this guy’s name always seems to find a way into our stories. The reason being is you can never write Falk off when he unloads at Langley Speedway and if you do so then you have already probably lost the race. Falk is the races only back-to-back and multi-time winner (2010, 2011, 2014) and has since taken a little bit more of a back seat in Late Model racing but once the sun goes down and the lights come on later this evening C.E. Falk will certainly be a contender

 

Dark Horse/Sleeper: Trey Crews

I think it is safe to say that Trey Crews surprised the Late Model community last year when he finished third in the Virginia Triple Crown opener at South Boston Speedway and was having a good run at the Hampton Heat until getting into some trouble. With South Boston Speedway still closed Crews does have at least one start under his belt so far this year and that is from the pole position at a race at Ace where he finished second. It’s obvious that Crew’s took some of that momentum from 2019 and used it in 2020. He will once again have his work cut out for him as some of the best Late Model Stock Car drivers will go to battle this evening. However, with a little bit of luck and a clean nose, Trey Crews could pull off a shocker tonight in Hampton.

 

Saturday – July 18, 2020

11:00AM
Gates open for LMSC only. All teams will mount their qualifying tires. These tires will remain in the tire impound area. Once all qualifying tires are mounted practice tire may be mounted

11:15AM – 2:00PM
Inspection line will be open for:

  • Courtesy inspection – Tread width, Wheel Base and Body Templates (Not Mandatory)
  • During this time each team must send a representative to draw for qualifying and complete all driver information packages

11:30AM – 12:15PM
MANDATORY LMSC driver, crew chief and spotters meeting. Meeting will be in the pavilion VIP area in turn 4

12:00PM
Sign-in and gates open for Pro Six, Super Trucks, and Super Streets.

12:30PM – 2:00PM    
LMSC Open practice. We will start with and maintain 14 cars on the track at a time. There will be a 5-minute break every 30
minutes to clear the gates and allow all other divisions to cross for tires and fuel.

2:00PM
Release LMSC qualifying tires (tires may be purged)

2:10PM – 2:25PM      
Divisional drivers meeting for Pro Six, Super Trucks, and Super Streets. This meeting will be held at the turn 2 track entrance.

2:35PM – 4:15PM
3 rounds of rotating practice for Pro Six, Super Trucks, and Super Streets. Your 3rd round will be 5 min long and will set the feature line-up. Teams can adjust on pit road during this time.

3:30PM
ALL LMSC WORK IS COMPLETE AND CARS MUST BACKED OUT OF THEIR PIT AREA at this time and proceed to the technical inspection building. All cars will qualify race ready. All cars will mount qualifying tires in their respective pit area. Maximum air pressure in the tech line is 20lbs in the left side tires and 30lbs in the right-side tires. Air pressure can be adjusted on the qualifying line. (Air can be let out only)

4:30PM
LMSC qualifying begins (three laps – 1scuff lap then green-white-checkered). All cars will be impounded in your pit stall backed in at a 45-degree angle and remain on the ground. Once the car is in place no team members or work is allowed at this time.

5:30PM – 6:00PM      
Remove transporters from the infield.

6:45PM      
Pre race ceremonies

7:00PM
Racing Begins. Race Order:

  1. Riverside Paper Pro Six (30 Laps)
  2. Harris Truck Shop Super Trucks (25 Laps)
  3. Old Skool Video Games Super Streets (50 Laps)

7:15PM – 7:45PM
LMSC Final Work Session

9:00PM APPROX
12thAnnual Hampton Heat 200

The Hampton Heat is 200 laps event with two six (6) lap controlled cautions at lap 100 and lap 150. All other caution laps will count. This is a six (6) tire feature race. Four (4) tires for qualifying and the same four (4) for the start of the feature. The additional two (2) tires can be used at either of the controlled cautions and may be scuffs or sticker tires). All six (6) tires must have been purchased and recorded by the tire officials at the track July 17th or 18th. Each team will also check in four (4) tires no more than 4/32 for emergency use if you have a flat on the rim emergency.

There will be two (2) six (6) Lap controlled cautions at lap 100 and 150 with a double file restart no cone for these restarts. During these cautions TEAMS will have the opportunity to make any adjustment/changes. The laps in all other cautions will count and the CONE re-starts will be in effect.

Lap 100 and 150 Controlled Caution / Guidelines Once Pit Road Is Open

  • TEAMS will choose to pit or stay on the track
  • TEAMS that stay on the track will determine the new re-start line-up as they are on the track
  • TEAMS that pit will be realigned as they entered pit road behind lead lap cars on the track
  • TEAMS cannot lose laps or positions on pit road while under these cautions
  • If you are the reason for the caution or enter the pits before the pits are open you must line up at the end of the longest line

*Subject To Change*

LOONEY AND SELLERS CLAIM VICTORIES IN TWIN LATE MODEL FEATURES AT DOMINION RACEWAY

Thornburg, VA – Fans were finally welcomed back to Dominion Raceway Saturday night and to say they were treated to a treat is an understatement. The night was headlined by a pair of 60 lap features for the Late Model Stock Cars.

In the first 60-lapper, Mike Looney claimed his first LMSC victory at Dominion Raceway holding off a strong Peyton Sellers. This race was filled with cautions and hot tempers.

Tyler Hughes set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 15.477 seconds. After a 6-car redraw, Looney started on the pole. It didn’t take long for Peyton Sellers to catch Looney and thew two LMSC stars battled hard and clean for the last 50 laps. After multiple cautions, Sellers chose the cone and started on the outside. Sellers was extremely fast on the top but Looney battled hard on the bottom of the race track and was able to hold Sellers off in the end.

The excitement of the night came with 6 laps left in the first race when Tyler Hughes and Doug Barnes get together between turns 1 and 2. Barnes exited his car and jumped on the hood of Hughes’ car before crews broke up the skirmish. Both cars were done for the night.

In the second feature of the night for the LMSCs, because curfew was fast approaching, race officials reduced the race to 31 laps with caution laps counting. Davey Callihan led the field into turn 1 and the action heated up 3 rows back as the faster cars from the first race began their charge to the front. Sellers battled with teammate Daniel Silvestri. Sellers cleared him on lap 5 and set his sights on the leaders. Sellers took the lead on lap 13 and would prove too strong for anyone to mount a serious challenge.

 

The Virginia Racers Late Model Challenge took to the track for 35 laps in the first points race of this series that will also travel to Langley Speedway. Landon Pembelton set fast time with a lap of 16.423 seconds. After a 4 – car redraw, Logan Clark led the field to the green flag. Bruce jumped out to a big lead and was pulling away until the leaders caught lap traffic. Lap traffic was running door to door and presented a huge challenge for the leaders to navigate. Pembelton was using this to his advantage and was picking them off one by one. A late series of cautions came out setting up a green-white-checker finish. Pembelton uses the chrome horn to get Bruce out of the way and took the checkered flag. Bruce obviously was not happy with how that transpired and showed his displeasure after the race. Pembelton nevertheless, pulled into victory lane and takes the early point lead in this exciting series.

 

LMSC Race 1 Unofficial Results

  1. Mike Looney
  2. Peyton Sellers
  3. John Goin
  4. Daniel Silvestri
  5. Aaron Donnelly
  6. Trenton Kilgore
  7. Michael Hardin
  8. Davey Callihan
  9. Chase Burrow
  10. G R Waldrop
  11. Jason Barnes
  12. Doug Barnes
  13. Tyler Hughes
  14. Mike Ganoe
  15. Stuart Crews
  16. Franklin Caricofe
  17. Timmy Phipps
  18. Johnathan Findley
  19. Cole Knopp
  20. Mason Bailey
  21. Colby Stottlemyer
  22. Sergio Pena

 

  1. LMSC Race 2 Unofficial Results
  2. Peyton Sellers
  3. Daniel Silvestri
  4. Mike Looney
  5. John Goin
  6. Michael Hardin
  7. Aaron Donnelly
  8. Sergio Pena
  9. Chase Burrow
  10. G R Waldrop
  11. Franklin Caricofe
  12. Mason Bailey
  13. Colby Stottlemyer
  14. Jason Barnes
  15. Trenton Kilgore
  16. Davey Callihan
  17. Doug Barnes – DNS
  18. Tyler Hughes – DNS
  19. Mike Ganoe – DNS
  20. Stuart Crews – DNS
  21. Timmy Phipps – DNS
  22. Johnathan Findley – DNS
  23. Cole Knopp – DNS

 

Virginia Racer LM Challenge Unofficial Results

  1. Landon Pembleton
  2. Cole Bruce
  3. Davey Callihan
  4. Logan Clark
  5. Reid Murphy
  6. Andrew Lang
  7. JD Eversole
  8. Eddie Slagle
  9. Richard Storm
  10. Ryan Rector
  11. Andrew Condrey
  12. Robb Almy
  13. Ryan Pritt
  14. Robert Almy
  15. Zach Lightfoot
  16. Chris Donnel
  17. Christian Kestermann
  18. Barry Moore
  19. Bradley Kirby

Kern: 11-time Modified Champion Shawn Balluzzo Returns Home; Earns Title of Guardian Angel

Wait a minute…. that title can’t be right? It is supposed to read Shawn Balluzzo returns to Dale Lemonds victory lane. Or, Balluzzo Earns First Victory of 2020. Or, Balluzzo Dominates Modified Feature in Triumphant Win…

Well if you stop and think about it the title to this piece isn’t really far off. Shawn did essentially return to victory lane – more than likely greeted by Dale Lemonds himself. He picked up one of life’s ultimate victories – to finally ditch that infamous limp down pit road to stand with his Father as he triumphantly watches over his family from above.

I never thought in the short time I have been covering races that I would witness something like this. Clearly, I understand that racing is a very dangerous sport, and everyone involved knows this. – trust me I know this and respect this. However, I have also witnessed this sport change over the last twenty-some years and the evolution of safety has been crazy. Plus Shawn was like Iron Man, The Energizer Bunny, and Humpty Dumpty all in one! He would pancake the wall, get out the car yelling and screaming, and chuck water bottles at you. He fell off a ladder away from the racetrack injuring himself AND STILL RACED! Shawn even got back into the cockpit of his race car when doctors gave him the worst news I imagine a father can get – your daughter has cancer. Not only did he still race but he still won.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be typing something like this. Matter of fact I sit here looking at this mostly blank piece of paper and still struggle to not only accept what happened this past Saturday night at the local short track that started everything for me but also what happened to the man and my family that not only introduced me to life in racing on the other side of the fence but honestly saved my life during the absolute worst time of my life when Terri essentially took me in as one of her own.  I struggled for a few days with myself if I should even publish something like this but because of the same things I just mentioned above felt that I should.

I’ll never forget the moment I mentioned above, the day that I knew I wanted to do more than just watch the racecars at Langley Speedway. It was towards the end of my sophomore year at Kecoughtan School. I had made a new friend by the name of David McIntosh (around the race track we all know him as Christopher).  Found out that his dad was a driver at the track. The dude with the mouse on his car is how I told him I knew what he was talking about.

As our friendship grew in school we would also hang out at the track when he wasn’t on pit road – which if you know Christopher wasn’t all that much. Till one night he needed a ride somewhere, come to find out that somewhere was his dad’s race shop. I remember that night like it was yesterday. Walking into that shop on 48th street almost 15 years ago. Seeing your No. 48 Late Model inches from my face on jack stands, lined up with Todd & Gene’s cars. Literally, star-struck to be that close, to touch an actual racecar. Then, for some reason to this day, I still don’t understand, you trusted Christopher and I to change the rear end while you built the motion simulator.

I had never been happier to lie on a dirty concrete floor and get covered in 90-weight gear oil. Then over some time, you let us do some bodywork. THEN I was invited to come down one Saturday night and hang out in the pits. I remember it was raining that day and my father had decided he wasn’t going to risk going out in the rain and the races not get in. I was thinking do I want to risk going and spending the money for it to rain. Well, I am glad that I ended up going.

That Saturday night you gave me an electric impact and the job of making sure your tires got on and off the car, stacked in the right spot, and cleaned off. It was that moment holding that impact, loosening and tightening those lug nuts that I was hooked. I wanted to be more than just a fan in the stands and I will forever be grateful and thankful for trusting a dorky 18-year-old kid with a bowl cut and no gloves to your tires that one summer night.

When I transitioned to the media side of things you were always available to me. At the track, at your house, at your shop, over the phone while you were either cutting vinyl or out putting it up somewhere. You offered me food and drink on race days. You never refused an interview. I called you and ordered 100 of my very first TWR bumper stickers; you legit printed me over a thousand. You printed a badass canvas for my wife and I to remember our wedding day. And later on in life allowed my crazy little girl to play around your pit stall with her best friend – your granddaughter.

I spent a lot of time over the Balluzzo house, watching and growing up with your kids. Feeling like I was legit a member of your family. I was blessed with a brother I never had and felt like I earned two sisters to help watch over and protect thanks to you and Terri. I got to watch you dominate Langley like it was easy. Laughing at you and Big Dave banter on the radio, writing countless stories of the 48 returning to victory lane. 2020 has been one of the most trying years in a lot of our lives and this past weekend just made it that much harder. I couldn’t let 2020 go by without one final story of Shawn Balluzzo.

Your family means a lot to me and for that, I will always be grateful to have known you. To use a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies; “Remember, kid. There’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die…”I think it is safe to say that you were both a Hero to many and a Legend of Langley Speedway. Just do me one favor, make sure you whip up on old them guys up there like you did down here.

A celebration of life for Shawn will be held at his home track of Langley Speedway this Thursday starting at 7 PM EDT. Speedway officials will open the grandstands starting at 6 PM to all of those who would like to come pay respect to him and his family. A stream of the service can also be found on the speedway Facebook page for those who cannot attend.

Matt Carter Opens 2020 Season with Two Victories; Langley Speedway Loses a Local Legend

Matt Carter in victory lane after winning both Modified features July 11th at Langley Speedway. (Bill Carnes/Given to Fly Photography)

Hampton, Va – The Larry King Law Modifieds opened their 2020 season at none other than Larry King Laws Langley Speedway with twin 50 lap feature events. Matt Carter, following a scary accident last season where he broke his leg, returned to action to try and dethrone Shawn Balluzzo as the “Modified King.” Balluzzo on the other hand, set out to grab his 12th championship. Mark Wertz, who hasn’t raced in the modified division in a few years, also made his return after a limited schedule last season.

In an impressive field of 16 cars, Matt Carter set his machine on the pole with a 16.030 (89.158 MPH) with Shawn Balluzzo, Chris Johnson, Brandon Gdovic, and Mark Wertz made up the fast five. With the field going double with one to go, the fans were in for an exciting showdown. Once flag-man Shane Snyder threw the green flag, Carter shot to the point and took off. Balluzzo fell in line to second as Brandon and Chris went door to door for third. Wertz had cleared Adam Medek – a Southside Speedway regular – for the fifth position. Medek had issues early and ended up parking his machine on lap 3.

Wertz put himself into the battle for third with C. Johnson and B. Gdovic coming to lap 5. The three cars somehow managed to go three-wide down the front stretch resulting in Wertz and B. Gdovic making contact. Brandon ended up pulling his car to pit road which ended his night on lap 8. By lap 10. Carter had a full straightaway lead over Balluzzo while C. Johnson and Wertz battled for third allowing Balluzo to pull away and chase after Carter.

Carter worked through lap traffic easily as he lapped up to the sixth position when the caution came out for Grant Blasingame going for a spin in turn one. Bunching up the field with 10 laps to go. On the restart, Carter got the perfect start and sailed into turn one. Wertz took the cone and settled into second with Balluzzo falling to third for a brief moment. Wertz didn’t let Carter get too far before Balluzzo made the move back to Wertz inside. Balluzzo made a little contact with Wertz in turn one to clear him for second.

With the checkered flag flying for the first time this season Matt Carter took the win going flag-to-flag. Shawn Balluzzo, Mark Wertz, Chris Johnson, and Jamie Sample rounded out the top five finishers – the only cars on the lead lap.

With the NASCAR rule to invert at least the top eight from the first race, that put another Southside Speedway regular, Michael Johnson and Roger Sawyer – brother to Elton Sawyer– on the front row. Brad Adams and Jamie Sample made your row two with Chris Johnson and Matt Carter in row three. Mark Wertz moved to the rear of the field. On the start Sawyer went into turn one with Adams in tow. Michael Johnson did not get a good start at all and held up the entire top row. Chris Johnson would take over third down the backstretch as M. Johnson fell back to battle for fifth. Jamie Sample was hot on C. Johnson’s rear nerf bar for third as Balluzzo had made his way to fifth to battle Michael.

Adams managed to get a good run on Sawyer and eventually took the lead on lap 10. Sample ended up with problems on his machine as he parked it for the night. The first of two cautions during the second race would come on lap 12 after a battle for the second position between Balluzzo and C. Johnson. The two veterans would touch wheels sending the No. 48 machine up and over Johnson’s nose and into the turn two wall. The red flag would be immediately displayed to allow safety personnel to the scene. Balluzzo was transported to a local hospital where he would later succumb to his injuries.

After the extended red flag, NASCAR officials shortened the 50 lap feature to 30. Matt Carter would pick off the final few positions to pick up back to back victories to start his 2020 season.

Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway announced Monday afternoon to honor the memory of Shawn Balluzzo there will be a celebration of life at the track this Thursday, July 16th at 7pm. The service will be open to the public with grandstand gates opening at 6pm. Family and friends of Shawn will speak with Langley Speedway track chaplain Rev. Tom Potter leading the service. For those who cannot attend, the track will be streaming the service live on Facebook. The family is encouraging all attending to dress in race day attire. Additionally, a Go Fund Me has been created by family friend Matt Miller, please see all the details at the link >> Click Here to Donate.

 

Credit: Dinah Marie Photography

 

 

Race 1 Results;

  1. #78 Matt Carter; 50
  2. #48 Shawn Balluzo; 50
  3. #19 Mark Wertz; 50
  4. #36 Chris Johnson; 50
  5. #28 Jamie Sample; 50
  6. #38 Michael Johnson; 49
  7. #51 Roger Sawyer; 49
  8. #5 Kyle Fowler; 49
  9. #47 Rick Gdovic; 49
  10. #16 Eric McPherson; 49
  11. #3 Brad Adams; 49
  12. #50 Grant Blasingame; 48
  13. #49 Todd Whitesell; 46
  14. #64 Brandon Gdovic; 8
  15. #18 DJ Valente; 8
  16. #29 Adam Medek; 3
  17. #44 Shawn Adkins; 0

Race 2 Results;

  1. #78 Matt Carter; 30
  2. #19 Mark Wertz; 30
  3. #47 Rick Gdovic; 30
  4. #5 Kyle Fowler; 30
  5. #51 Roger Sawyer; 30
  6. #50 Grant Blasingame; 30
  7. #16 Eric McPherson; 30
  8. #49 Todd Whitesell; 29
  9. #29 Adam Medek; 18
  10. #38 Michael Johnson; 15
  11. #3 Brad Adams; 12
  12. #36 Chris Johnson; 12
  13. #48 Shawn Balluzo; 12
  14. #28 Jamie Sample; 11
  15. #18 DJ Valente; 9
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