Category Archives: Modified

Robbie Babb Dominates Renfrow Heating and Air Modified Feature

Robbie Babb dominates 2016 Thanksgiving Classic. Celebrates in victory lane with brother Jimmy Babb. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Robbie Babb dominates 2016 Thanksgiving Classic. Celebrates in victory lane with brother Jimmy Babb. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Modifieds… small wheelbase, small tires but big motors! A division that I have grown to fall in love with through the three years of covering short track racing. Twelve cars qualified for this years event, a record high since the inception of the race, and quite honestly on of the largest car counts of the entire season. Southside Speedway’s Kyle Wood was actually the fastest earlier in the afternoon during euro style qualifying laying down a lap of 16.023 seconds or 89.871 mph.

Babb however had other plans once it was time to go racing. Kyle Wood led the field into one where drivers were very careful with the throttle working to get through the first lap. With just a little more experience with the rack and weather conditions that Wood, Robbie Babb was able to clear the #19 out of two and that was all Babb needed and immediately worked on opening up a comfortable lead.

Some good racing took place in Babb’s rear view mirror with Jimmy Humblet working his way through the field. Tyler Davis, who also made the trip from Southside Speedway was looking to make moves around the 2016 Dominion Raceway champ Chris Humblet for the fourth position. The race was only slowed by one caution period for debris in what looked to be turn four right after the #5 of Webb pulled off the racing surface.

When it was time to get back to racing Kyle Wood made sure to give Babb a run for his money as the field sailed through turns one and two. Babb however was able to take the lead back down the backstretch. Matt Carter used the restart to his advantage and took the third spot away and immediately pushed for second. As the laps clicked off Carter inched closer and closer to Woods nerf bar and would have possibly been able to take the second position had he had just a few more laps.

“This was a last minute decision that we were even going to come,” Babb said in victory lane. “Been dealing with work and some family stuff but we were able to put everything back together in a week. Dealing with the used tires and only coming here once a year is a bit of a learning curve, we just tried to stress that to some of the other guys. Give it some time and some laps to get the car under your feet.”

Each year the Thanksgiving Classic is going to provide one constant – cold weather. This of course helps horsepower but hurts grip as it takes tires longer to warm up. We asked Babb if running The Classic in the past was that much of help in tonights victory.

“Well I am getting old so this cold weather kind of helps us,” Babb laughed in victory lane. “The motors run real good but on the flip side to that in this cold weather your tires don’t heat up like they should so you deal with some grip problems, other than that it was a good show.”

 

Renfrow Heating & Air – 40 Laps

1) #44 Robbie Babb
2) #19 Kyle Wood
3) #78 Matt Carter
4) #77 Hunter Slayton
5) #11 Jimmy Humblet
6) #60 Bobby Geary
7) #00 Tyler Davis
8) #20 Chris Humblet
9) #15 Andrew Fortin
10) #17 Jamie Walmock
11) #5 JR Webb
12) #12 Tim Maxey

Chris Johnson with Strong Win from Dominion Raceway – Chris Humblet Wins First Track Championship

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Chris Johnson celebrating his victory at Dominion Raceway Sept. 24, 2016. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Thornburg, VA – It was an all out blitz to say this least this past weekend at Dominion Speedway for veteran driver Chris Johnson. Entering the weekend just ten points behind Chris Humblet, Johnson needed everything to play in his favor; a win, some bonus points, and a slip up from Humblet. Fifty laps later, Chris Johnson found himself one factor short of clinching Dominion’s first ever Modified championship.

Johnson, trying to use the NASCAR points system to his advantage in gaining two additional bonus points from winning from tenth or worse, was actually able to go out and set the tenth fastest time of the sixteen car field. Jimmy Humblet was the nights pole award winner clocking a lap in at 15.690 (91.778 MPH). Jimmy, however, would actually hand the pole position over to his son and points leader by virtue of Dominion’s invert – Chris Humblet qualified sixth with a time of 15.898.

That seemed like it was just what Chris Humblet needed once the green flag was displayed in what ended up being a race of attrition. A few early cautions put an interesting spin on things as the field worked multiple restarts. One that saw Jimmy Humblet almost shoves Johnson into next week. The contact between the two ended up cutting a tire down on Humblet’s car – he had to go down pit road to the attention of his crew. To make matters worse for the #11 race control decided to penalize the driver one lap for aggressive driving.

When the race went back green Chris Humblet resumed the lead while Chris Johnson worked his way through the field. Making his way around the #48 of Balluzzo as well as Mike Johnson’s #38 machine before setting his sites on the second place car of Andrew Fortin. His efforts would be halted briefly after two engines expire within jut a few laps of each other. Balluzzo, who after the race learned a piston was the issue, was able to get his car down on the apron and off the track. Robert Conner on the other hand had his motor blow entering turn three which shot him to the outside wall.

The race was only slowed one more time from the spinning car of Wayne Hartley – not what Chris Humblet wanted to see but was exactly what Chris Johnson needed. With car restarts in effect at Dominion this set up a Humblet/Johnson front row with less than ten laps to go. When the green flag dropped the two sailed it off into turn one, Johnson looking to take the lead away on the outside and did within the lap and never looked back to take home the win in the season finale. Humblet was able to hold off a hard charging Andrew Fortin – who ended up having break issues on the final lap – there at the end to finish in the second position. Even with the extra bonus points Johnson earned it was not enough to take the championship. Great way to finish the season right? First and second place in points finishing one and two on the night in a tight points battle.

“We knew we had to start tenth or worse to get those two extra bonus points if we won the race tonight,” Johnson said in victory lane. “We felt our chances to win the championship was the best if we did start tenth or worse so that is why we did that. Had a little incident there on the first lap, it was a little scary there but its apart of racing.”

Johnson did have a bit of a moment as mentioned above with Jimmy Humblet during the race that could have potentially taken him out of the hunt they he calls just good hard racing.

“We got with the eleven there, he did everything he could to help his son do what he had to do,” Johnson said. “We got up underneath him clean and it was just racing. Hard racing you know. We had a couple cautions there that worked out in my favor.”

A few cautions late in the race might have been what helped with the victory tonight as it bunched the field up for one final restart where Johnson used the high banks and the outside to his advantage.

“I was just trying to save my car there for the end, 50-laps here with these cars is a fairly decent race,” Johnson explained “Chris was doing everything he could to stay in front of me and I was just trying to ride there and save my tires till we got that restart with eight to go. I knew it was time to put the hammer down and was glad we could come home with another win.”

 

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2016 Dominion Raceway Modified Track Champion – Chris Humblet dives into turn three during practice just before the rains came in to cancel the evenings races. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Though he may not have won the battle but Chris Humblet ended up winning the war. His second place finish on the night was just enough to hold of even the extra bonus points awarded to Chris Johnson to win his very first ever track championship.

“This has been a year of trials,” Humblet said about his championship season. “We showed up to the first two races and won those, ran a lot of seconds and thirds. We had some battles in the tech shed, cutting hairs, just little things. The team I got just drove me harder. Every time we changed something to get what they wanted it seemed like we were faster.”

Humblet, who just completed his fourth season in Modifieds, and anything with wheels as we told us, was also humble in admitting there were plenty of driver errors through out the season that made things difficult on the team but was very happy with the ability of the team to pick things back up.

“A lot of driver error seemed to hurt us in qualifying,” Humblet admitted. “Just mental errors on my part that would put us deep in the field like last race where we ended up getting taken out on the first lap. Its just a testament to the team, keeping up with two cars and being competitive all season, it was a lot of work.”

Chris Humblet, who spent the better portion of his Modified career running at Langley Speedway, a flat .395 mile oval, had to look else where this season when the track was unable to open over a land/lease dispute. Being able to travel to not only a new track and be completive, to also run a completely different tire we had to ask what adjustments, if any, were needed for this season.

There wasn’t a big adjustment from Langley,” said Humblet. “I was able to be a little more consistent here. I feel it suited my driving style a little better. We didn’t really notice a difference in the tires. We tested back here in December with a Hoosier and I couldn’t really tell a difference. This track has just been a learning curve in general. Its just crazy fast and you have to drive it like no where else.”

Humblet eluded to bringing both cars back for the 2017 season as well as maybe looking to get some funding together to run Southern National’s annual Thanksgiving race as well as looking at some of the bigger races into the winter including the Snowball Derby down at Five Flags Speedway.

 

Modified Results

1.#36 Chris Johnson; 50
2. #20 Chris Humblet; 50
3. #51 Bubba Johnston; 50
4. #15 Andrew Fortin; 50
5. #38 Michael Johnson; 50
6. #5 Tony Folwer; 50
7. #1 Donnie Holston; 50
8. #00 Tyler Davis; 50
9. #37 Wayne Hartley; 50
10. #8 Mike Rudy; 50
11. #73 Paul Ellis: 50
12. #2 Eric Fowlkes; 49
13. #11 Jimmy Humblet; 48
14. #12 Robert Conner; 20
15. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 18
16. #66 Tanner Aman; 1

Chris Johnson Wins Caution Filled Modified Race Thursday Night at Dominion Raceway

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Chris Johnson celebrates his victory Thursday night at Dominion Raceway. (Shawn Dulin/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Thornburg, VA – Dominion Raceway continued to be the place to race the IMCA style asphalt mods in Virginia as they drew fourteen cars for a Thursday night race to open up the Richmond race weekend.

Jimmy Humblet turned a 15.582 to land the pole for the 35 lap race. A 4 car invert pill would be pulled putting Michael Johnson out front to begin the race. Coming to the green Johnson’s car didn’t go so the officials waved off the start. They would get the start good on the second attempt but a caution flies before everyone even cleared turn 1. Shawn Balluzzo, Chris Humblet, and Andrew Fortin are all involved and could not get back into the race.

Jimmy Humblet grabbed his first place spot back on the restart and ran out from Michael Johnson. Farther back in the field Robbie Babb who started 8th worked his way under Mike Rudy for third place fourteen laps in. On lap nineteen Tyler Davis went around in turn four eliminating Jimmy’s lead.

Babb took the outside lane on the restart trying to get position ahead of Chris Johnson who worked his way into second. Another caution waves but Chris was able to complete a lap while in first place. The field went green and again another caution came out for Jimmy Humblet spinning with 12 laps to go. At this point the flagman waved the flag combo of yellow and the move over flag to signal that caution laps were being counted the rest of the way. The red flag was also posted to allow for cleanup from Jimmy’s wreck.

The field went green for the final time with seven laps remaining and Chris Johnson jumped to a huge second and a half lead as the laps ticked down giving him the win on the night. In victory lane the Humblet’s and Babb had some choice words for him, with Johnson apologizing to Babb for getting into a corner too hard and creating a problem.

 

Race Results

1.Chris Johnson
2. Mike Rudy
3. Wayne Hartley
4. Tanner Aman
5. Robert Babb
6. Michael Johnson
7. Tony Fowler
8. Jimmy Humblet
9. Eric Fowlkes
10. Bubba Johnston
11. Chris Humblet
12. Shawn Balluzzo
13. Andrew Fortin
Disqualified: Tyler Davis

Shawn Balluzzo Hopes for Success at Familiar Track – East Carolina NWSMT Preview

Balluzzo's #70 after Qualifying at Bowman Gray (Shawn Dulin/The Weekly Racer)

Balluzzo’s #70 after Qualifying at Bowman Gray (Shawn Dulin/The Weekly Racer)

Robersonville, NC – The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is set to roll into East Carolina Motor Speedway for the first time in the series 12 year history. With four races remaining on the schedule Burt Myers leads Andy Seuss by ten points.

A rookie in this series looks to have an edge though. Long time short track veteran Shawn Balluzzo won three out of the four modified races last season at East Carolina as he went on to take the championship at the high banked oval. At his home track, Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA, he has eight track championships and also was the 2011 Division II National Champion.

He’s had two starts in the Southern Modifieds and finished 7th at Bowman Gray Stadium in the last race, a great finish for his first time at the flat quarter mile track. “Oh man, it was unreal. It was a bullring, it was like the hardest thing I’ve done in racing,” Balluzzo said after the race, “When I did those 365 laps for that girl for that charity, 7 races in one night…this was way harder.” Going into ECMS he said “I feel really good about it, I think we’ll be on home turf I’ll know the track inside and out and now we know a lot about the car and we will see how it goes from there.”

2013 Langley Modified champion Robert Babb will also hop in one of the high powered machines to challenge the NWSMT regulars. The feature race will be for 150 laps  along with the Street Stocks, Bandoleros, and the Late Models will be running twins. The late model series has a great points battle going on between Brenden Queen and Louis White, who are separated by just two points at the track and nine points in the state battle.

The Weekly Racer will have you covered for both 40-lap NWAAS Late Model features as well as the Southern Modified race LIVE on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer) as East Carolina Motor Speedway host its first Sunday afternoon. Make sure to get there early as you will not want to miss the special presentation in honor of the 15th anniversary of 9/11. The complete schedule of the day can also be found bellow.

 

Fast Facts

The Race: The Visit Martin County 150 will be the eighth of 11 races during the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship season. This will be the tour’s first visit to the high-banked 3/8-mile oval.

The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through time trials while the remaining five starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (56.25 miles).

The Track: East Carolina Motor Speedway opened in 1990 under the ownership of Gerald Whitehurst, Durwood Allen and Lee Harney. Over the years, others leased and operated the track. By 2005, Whitehurst had bought out his partners and accepted an offer late that year to sell the track to Wayne M. Perry of Elizabeth City, N.C. The sale was completed in early 2006. Among the drivers who have raced at ECMS are Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Mast. The track is D-shaped and banked 24 degrees in the turns and 10 degrees on the straightaways.

The Records: Inaugural event.

 

Visit Martin County 150 Early Entry List

#1 Burt Myers
#2 JR Bertuccio
#4 Jason Myers
#5 Kyle Ebersole
#11 Andy Suess
#14 Trey Hutchens III
#15 Jeremy Grestner
#22 Kyle Bonsignore
#28 George Brunnhoelzl III
#33 Austin Pickens*
#40 Danny Bohn
#70 Shawn Balluzzo*
#74 Bobby Measmer Jr
#77 Gary Putnam
#79 Robert Babb
#97 Bryan Dauzat

*Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender

ecms-nwsmt-schedule

Stinson Runs Away with a Win; Bailey Holds on to Championship

Photo: Shawn Dulin/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Photo: Shawn Dulin/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Midloathian, VA – Thomas Stinson qualified fifth during practifying but after the invert and Mason Bailey heading to the rear for two consecutive wins he sat on the pole. Sitting beside him on the outside was Tyler Davis in the 00.

Stinson quickly pulled out on the field with Davis falling in line to keep in second. Behind them Chris Hoylman and Kyle Wood ran side by side for three consecutive laps. Hoylman completed the pass leaving Wood to fend off a fast Bailey who quickly got up to fifth after starting in last place.

By the eighth lap Bailey was using his bumper a little on Wood as the entire field was single file. Ten laps later the great battle was still continuing on with Mason bumping Kyle hard enough to get himself loose as he had to back off quickly.

With seven laps left Stinson had a big lead on the field as second trough fourth all battled bumper to bumper. A couple laps later and Mike Bedner became the first car to go a lap down in the race. Coming to the checkered Wood would get around and wreck letting Bailey through for a third place finish and an easy win for Thomas Stinson.

In victory lane Stinson commented after his fifth win for the year that this may have been his last race, especially with a win and being able to go out on a good note. In the final points he only finished five behind Bailey, close to getting him another Southside title.

Mason Bailey won three races, including two of the last three, and had capitalized on the pole sitter point that Southside Speedway gives out with 11 fastest laps on raceday. “It feels great, it was a lot of fun along the way. There’s not a whole lot of cars out here but those who are out here are really tough to beat.” Bailey commented after the races. He went on to thank his sponsors, Crew Chief Chris Matthews, Spotter Wayne Vaughan, and the entire team “They did a hell of a job putting this car together every week. We look and perform like a million bucks but we are 100% sponsor funded, no big family money, no big financial backer behind us, it makes this all the more special. Thanks to RPM Engineering, Hernandez Constructors, Finer Homes, Drive Technology, CR Phillips Electrical Contractors, and Imperial Auto Service for coming on board.”

Results:

1. Thomas Stinson
2. Tyler Davis
3. Mason Bailey
4. Chris Hoylman
5. Lauren Edgerton
6. Kyle Wood
7. Mike Bedner

Burt Myers Keeps Ahead in NWSMT Points with Win at Bowman Gray

Burt Myers BMSWinston-Salem, NC — The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour made its annual stop at The Madhouse just over an hour North of Charlotte.  Seventeen cars took time on the flat quarter mile track with Kyle Ebersole setting a fast time of 13.392.

Some action happened early on with Jason Myers spun into the football field on the second lap of the race and somehow he kept it rolling and didn’t go a lap down.  About 13 laps later Jason caught up to the field and started working his way through the field, his first obstacle was rookie Austin Pickens who had trouble getting out of the way of faster cars all night. Six laps later he got by 8 time Langley track champion Shawn Balluzzo.  The first caution of the night flew when team mate and car owner Jeremy Grestner would make contact with Balluzzo on lap 36 ending Grestner’s night early. Shawn was also down a lap but got the lucky dog under this caution.

Back up front on the restart, Ebersole continued to have a strong car. He raced 2014 Bowman Gray Stadium champon Danny Bohn side by side for a solid lap on the tight track before some car behind them would lose control on lap 48.  Dalton Baldwin took too much damage to continue on the night and finished 15th.  A scary moment happened on the next restart with George Brunnhoelzl III going hard into the outside railing on the front straight.  The ambulance came out on the track but with the help of officials he was able to get out of his car and walk to the ambulance.  His team later released a statement saying he dislocated his shoulder and would not require surgery.

Once the field got rolling again Jason Myers would find himself in the top-5 after a tough climb through the field.  On the restart Bohn gets by Ebersole for first and Burt joins them as they spread from the field a bit.  A nice pace of green flag laps flew by until the leaders caught the rear of the field around lap 100. Pickens once again would get in the way of the leaders and almost took Burt out as he tried to pass him.  On lap 140 the competition caution came out, only 6 cars decided to take advantage of it.

The stadium would roar again on lap 148 and Ebersole made a pass on Bohn on the outside, a hard move on the tight track. The action was short lived though with the caution flying again on lap 156 for JR Bertuccio losing power.  Green flag racing resumed on lap 160 and a big wreck involving the leaders, Bohn getting the worst of it as he got hit by Pickens and Dauzat while he was in the wall. Andy Suess was in fifth when the wreck happened, “I couldn’t see what happen to be honest. it was getting a bit hairy before it. we were very fortunate to get through it, our bad luck had ended at that point.” With Ebersole and Bohn involved in the caution the Myers brothers now sat on the front row.  After a rough start Andy Suess was up to third, chasing Burt for the points lead.

The 6-time Bowman Gray modifieds champion would outrun the field for the rest of the race winning for the third time at The Madhouse in the NWSMT, with only a small challenge from his brother.  “I love racing with Jason for the win, if I can’t win I want him to do it.” Burt said about racing with Jason for the win.“I think it’ll all probably come together and hit me in the morning. I’ll get up and go to church, I always walk out and get the Winston-Salem Journal and check all the social media stuff. That’s when it’ll really hit me.”

Jason said after the race, “I wish I could have been 1 and him 2. We do want to finish 1-2 but when you get outran by the guy who runs out of the same shop as you do I’m gonna hear this until next Saturday.” He also commented on his spin on lap 2 of the night, “If we didn’t have to come from such far behind to start with [we may have won], but we might have got in some of those wrecks so we got kind of lucky.”

The next race for the series is at Bristol on the 17th where the other NASCAR touring division will join them for the North-South shootout.

 

 

Lauren Edgerton Edges Out Kyle Wood in First Career Modified Victory at Southside Speedway

📸 Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

📸 Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Midlothian, VA – You can win by the invert and you can tear some stuff up by the invert. This past weekend the invert worked wonders for Lauren Edgerton at Southside Speedway this past weekend. After qualifying fifth on the seven-car field, Edgerton inherited the pole position after Mason Bailey set the fast time earlier in the afternoon but drew the number five pill.

Took two attempts to get the race underway after Thomas Stinson went for a loop down in turns three and four before the field could complete a lap. It would negate the awesome jump that Edgerton got on the rest of the field. Track officials would get everyone slowed down and back in their original starting position for the complete restart. With the slow roll out of four Tyler Davis got a much better start and was able to hang with Edgerton for about three-quarters of a lap.

Credit lap one to Edgerton as Davis started to feel the pressure from Kyle Wood who almost makes it quick work. Stinson took just two laps to get around the double zero making the topside work yet again to his advantage. Now back in the fourth position Davis was left to deal with the top qualifier Mason Bailey, who make it around him as well.

As the laps counted down you could visibly see Edgerton’s car getting tighter on corner exit and it was allowing Wood to close the gap quick. With ten laps on the board the top three were all but bumper-to-bumper, Edgerton doing a great job to hold off a very hard charging Kyle Wood and Thomas Stinson. Mason Bailey, working to give it everything he had to reel in the top three, was now running out of laps and needed either all three to mess up or a caution.

With just six cars on track Bailey didn’t get his yellow, however, he did get his wish when the top two cars got loose coming out of the corner and had to gather the cars back up. Edgerton was the first to step out of line, which of course allowed Wood to catch up. Just as he was looking to capitalize he too slipped out coming out of four. Just what Stinson and Bailey wanted to see right? Well, yes that’s right but neither of them able to capitalize like they wanted to. Kyle Wood did a great making his car wide enough that Stinson could not get around and well Mason Bailey had a slip of his own coming out of two.

With Stinson working as hard as he possibly could on the bumper of Wood, it allowed Edgerton to put some distance between to the two and collect her very first win at Southside Speedway in the Modified division – starting from the pole position none the less. Kyle Wood was able to hold off Stinson and shooting down any chances to make it back-to-back trips to victory lane as well as extend his points lead over Mason Bailey who finished fourth.

“That car has always been tight,” Edgerton said after the race when asked about the car. “I got a new setup to put in it for this season that at least made it drivable. I still can’t get that last bit of tightness out though.” Lauren may have had a little help with the way the car felt though as the track as an interesting tire rule for these large motor Modifieds. The car gets four new tires at the start of the season and then move to a two tire type rule, difference with this two tire rule, you only get them every other race!

Working in the ladder portion of July we start to get into some of the hottest days and nights of the year. With these big motors and small tires we asked if the heat had anything to do with the way the car handled. She actually thought the heat would have helped the car rotate a little more.

“I think the car would have been tight regardless,” said Edgerton. “If anything it would have helped it probably would have had a better right front tire. I had changed a lot after the last race, so I really wanted to see how it would race before I changed anything else.”

Took six years for the Chesterfield native to get that all important win and she told us just how great it felt and what it took to get there.

“It was pretty awesome,” Edgerton proclaimed. “My sixth season at Southside and fourth in the new car so it was time! I had a really good spotter, which always helps. I just didn’t really worry about it, focused on driving, and listened to my spotter.”

Just one car did not make out of the room of doom cleared. The #00 of Tyler Davis who had crossed the line fifth was disqualified after his carburetor failed post race technical inspection. Edgerton’s win will help her climb up the points standing where she entered the weekend fifth – sixteen behind Stinson in fourth and nineteen behind leader Kyle Wood. The Modifieds will return to Southside Speedway with all of the other divisions in two weeks on August 5th.

 

Modified Results

P1. #7 Lauren Edgerton; 30
P2. #19 Kyle Wood; 30
P3. #4 Thomas Stinson; 30
P4. #05 Mason Bailey; 30
P5. #99 Mike Bedner; 30
P6. #97 Robert Eroh; 5
P7. #00 Tyler Davis; 30 (DQ)

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