Category Archives: Race Recaps

Virginia Sprint Series Puts on a Show in First Visit to Langley Speedway

Hampton, VA – The IMCA RaceSaver Virginia Sprint Series rolled into Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway for their first event at the historic 4/10th mile oval. Unlike the sprints you see in the World of Outlaws or other big series these ones run a 305 motor instead of a 410, creating greater reliability and huge cost savings over the big series. Sixteen made the trip with the fastest time in practice going to Bronzie Lawson running a 14.453 second lap.

In the first heat race Michael Keeton was able to out run the other seven cars in 10 lap race to take the win easily over Anthony Linkenhoker. In the second heat race the faster cars in the series with the top-4 running under 15 second laps. Mike Leraas beat Jerald Harris to the checkers by just over a second. Lawson had the fastest time of the night running a 14.011 according to Race Monitor.

For the feature the track cooled down a little and it looked like Jerald Harris nailed the set up early on. He jumped out to a lead fast and quickly ran up on lapped traffic. On lap-8 he ran into trouble though running into a slower car and hitting the wall, ending his night. Tony Harris also suffered a flat tire in the incident so he came down pit road and Jerald was able to get out of his car, take his good tire off, and put it on Tony’s car before the green flag waved again all with his helmet and HANS still on. The crowd loved it.

Leraas took over the lead for the restart with Keeton behind him, the sprints restart in single file. Lawson was sitting in third and make quick work of Keeton with the first pavement slide job I’ve seen on lap-11. Lawson caught Leraas in lapped traffic and was able to use one of the cars as a pick to take the lead halfway through the feature. With ten to go Tony’s car dumped a good bit of fluid on the track but it was all on the apron and looked like it was water so racing wasn’t stopped for long.

Mike Leraas would get a good restart but Lawson was just too quick and cruised to the win over the final two laps. In victory lane Lawson said that on Thursday there was just a frame and a steering box, what a way to get a first win in the series!

 Credit – King Charles Photography


Super Streets

Renno Marchetti IV grabbed the pole over Randy Akers for their 40 lap race by just over a tenth. Once the green flag flew Renno jumped out quickly from the field but the action behind him was non-stop. On the third lap Abbott and Michaud came together sliding Landon back a few cars and Dale Parro tried a cross over move on Chris Hott but got really loose and had to gather it up. On lap-20 the caution came out for Michaud turned around in turn-2. Under caution Parro parked his overheating car with the nose pushed in on it.

A few more cautions and restarts down the road and Landon was back up front to challenge Reno for the win. They go side by side down the back stretch with one to go. Going into the final turns of the race Abbott was able to get a little of his nose on to Renno’s bumper but it wasn’t enough to keep Marchetti out of victory lane.

Virginia Sprint Series Results
1. Bronzie Lawson 30
2. Mike Leraas 30
3. Michael Keeton 30
4. Tom Humphries 30
5. Anthony Linkenhoker 30
6. Bill Rice 30
7. Glenn Worrell 30
8. Chris Ware 30
9. Josh Perreault -2
10. Ron Myers -5
11. Neil Sandridge -6
12. Jack Rice -8
13. Tony Harris -10
14. Charlie Ware -17
15. Jerald Harris -22
16. Daren Bolac -23

Super Street Results 
1. Renno Marchetti IV 41
2. Landon Abbott 41
3. Randy Akers 41
4. Sammy Gaita 41
5. Bill Eaker 41
6. Sean Calway 41
7. Dale Nichols 41
8. Jason Michaud 41
9. Gordon Weeks 41
10. Josh Perry 41
11. Billy Newman 41
12. Chriss Hott -1
13. Dale Parro -21

Looking Back: 2015 Ronnie Barnette Memorial 200 A Success

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How does one actually measure success in the business of short track racing? Is it the amount of cars that pull into the pits? Is it the amount of fans in the stands? What about the quality of racing? For me East Carolina Motor Speedway meet all of these so-called requirements for the 2nd Annual Ronnie Barnette Memorial 200. Headlined by the true NWAAS Late Model Stock cars running 200 laps battling for a $6,000 payday heading into the off-season and the Christmas season. Let me personally say, it was a great Christmas present for us to be racing in December!

After getting rained out a month ago, eighteen Late Model Stock Car teams converged on Robersonville, North Carolina. A field stacked with talent from top to bottom; Previous Late Model champions from across Virginia and the Carolinas (Jeff Shiflettm Deac McCaskill, Matt Bowling, Louis White) – 2015 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series Gallardo World Champion and North American AM Champion & NASCAR Xfinity driver Brandon Gdovic – along with young, up and coming drivers like Brenden Queen and Connor Hall.

Jeff Oakley & Justin Johnson earned the right to sit on the front row for the 200-lap feature. The two looked like they were the class of the field early. Jumping in front of the field early on the initial start and continuing to set a fast pace after the initial restart. Oakley led from the drop of the green flag to – what a pretty good coincidence – lap 44 when Johnson was able to mount a run turn four to take the lead. Johnson, fending off multiple cautions, a red flag period, and the lap 125 break, was able to hold off the field till lap 172 when Deac McCaskill took the lead. McCaskill surviving restarts and a GWC restart with a very hard charging Brandon Gdovic. At the end of the day a few cars rolled in the trailer beaten and battered, others happy to finish the race, and one driver $6,000 richer.

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Robbie Babb Goes Wire To Wire – Largena New Points Leader

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Hampton, VA – Drivers and their teams converged to the grounds of Langley Speedway this weekend with fingers crossed to get some racing in. For the past four weeks tracks all over the Mid-Atlantic have been waging war with Mother Nature who keeps sticking her nose into business she doesn’t belong! She let us get all the way through practice, qualifying, pre-race festivities and even three and a half races before she had to ruin the fun. Bando’s, Legends, got their races in, the mods were able to get their first race in, and the Super Streets (running more than half the distance) got their race in as well.

A crazy mix of events proved to be one interesting night for the Larry King Law Modifieds, and this didn’t even revolve around the new patches of asphalt in the corners. Earlier in the week points leader Shawn Balluzzo had an accident that left him with some bruised ribs and a snapped wrist, needless to say the chances of him racing were slim to none. This left the points to Jon Largena – who would end up packing his car up frantically to head back to the shop to replace a bolt that snapped in the rear end during the first practice.

The crew was able to make the repairs and head back to the track in time for qualifying where Largena was able to post the second fastest time of the fifteen cars who completed time trials. Robbie Babb, who had been fast all afternoon in practice again showed his power, posting the only time in the 15 second range with a 15.921 (90.447 MPH). Jimmy Humblet, Bobby Gery, and Chris Humblet would make up the rest of the starting five. Donnie Holston who hit the wall a ton during practice was not able to get his car repaired, he went home early. Starting shotgun on the field… none other than Shawn Balluzzo! Having help from his crew of course the points leader’s goal was to merely start and park the car.

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Recording Setting Crowd on Hand for Opening Night: Round 2 in Robersonville

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Robersonville, NC – A record setting number of fans piled into the wooden bleachers this past weekend down in Robersonville, North Carolina to watch a second attempt at an Opening Night. The fans were not the only ones trying to cram their way into the high banked 3/8-mile D-shape oval, haulers were lined up from the sign in window down to the highway. Finding a spot to park your rig and unload the car at one point was turning into a team effort. Wondering where your going to park the next racecar… a problem no track wouldn’t mind having.

Late Models were not the only divisions to get things “popping” in Robersonville USA – Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, UCAR, Bando’s, and the very elegant Southern Ground Pounders (SGP) were all chomping at the bit to get things kicked off for the 2015 season – SGP are a separate racing club governed by their own rules and schedule.

 

Southern Ground Pounders

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Speaking of the SGP guys, if you are a old school, vintage car nut, then you need to track these guys down and visit one of their races! They had everything from a primer color Chevrolet Bel Air down to a Ford Pinto racing. No not some old car taken off the street, these are big engine, purpose built racecars! Ten cars were able to make the green flag, though not all ten were there at the end.

Pole sitter Rodney Dye not able to make it two laps before his motor expired and sending him into the inside retraining wall. Beat the car up pretty bad but driver was able to walk away with no issues. Once the field was allowed to go back to green flag racing is was all the Jimmy Rice show – with the exception of almost going three wide in turn two & a car with no practice almost running the leader down – Rice would go on to take the victory.

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Lorah, Abbott, Hall, & Frye Grab First Wins Of 2015

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Hampton, VA – Mother nature dealt a pretty nice hand this past weekend as our friends from NASCAR dropped by. Even with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour in town that did not take away from the fact we still had some local divisions to kick off their seasons. The Rhonnda Claiborne Champ Karts, Butterfoss & Barton Super Streets and the KeesVacation.com Pro Six were all ready to kick their season off. In addition, the Pepsi Grandstock made their return after a thrilling ending just a week ago that took the top two out coming to the white flag.

Wing Champ Karts

If you like pack racing, high-speed drafting, and hoping you have enough friends come drop of the green flag, then this division is for you! 21 karts took to the speedway to open their Pandora’s box of a season with long time veteran Harry Leach leading the way. Leach was able to grab the pole earlier in the afternoon with their “Euroish” type qualifying. The lone female in the pack of hungry wolves was able to pilot her #39 machine to the outside pole – which I believe was her highest starting position of her Wing Champ Kart career.

Aaron Leach would have been your third place starter on the evening but had to pull his machine down pit road before the green flag was even displayed. Crew-members were seen trying to pull his power plant to life but were not having any luck, he was unable to rejoin the field in time. Was certainly not a night for the Leache’s, just a few laps Harry found himself in trouble off two and had to relinquish the lead to the #49 of Brandon Lorah followed by his brother Charlie, behind them the tandem of Jackson Jr & Roberts running third and fourth with Shawn Gervais running fifth – for now.

It didn’t take long for that to change though, just about the time I looked back to turn four from the score board Gervais had spun up the track – and because it takes a while for the karts to get around the track officials try not to throw a yellow unless it’s a bad wreck. This allowed Ryan Hudgins in the #33 kart to take over the fifth position for a moment before losing that to the #39 of Mattisen Morrill. Looking back up front to the Lorah brothers running first and second with Jackson Jr behind them it came down to the final turn on the final lap when Jackson ducked low to try and make a pass, but with the two hooked up rail to rail it was not enough and Brandon Lorah would hold on to take the win.

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Ledbetter Wins Thanksgiving All-Star Classic Street Stock Feature

IMG_5537Lucama, NC – A cold night to say the least down in North Carolina to kick off the annual Thanksgiving All-Star Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park. While some were up bright and early to stand in line and fight for their right to buy the $300 TV, others were packing up race car trailers and heading to North Carolina for some racing.

The ever popular Street Stock division was the highlight of the evening running a 50 lap feature. Jeff Melton set the fast time in qualifying with a time of 16.605 (86.721mph) only to be waisted 500 feet past the stripe. As the field took the green flag outside pole sitter Mike Keith must have spun the tires and immediately hooked left. Melton & Keith had a crash course with the inside retaining wall that took both cars out of contention. Mike Keith would attempt to return to the speedway but the damage was too much for the car. This would allow Ledbetter and Barnett to move up to the front row.

As the green flag was displayed to the field Gary Ledbetter nailed the gas – as most race car drivers do at that time of the evening – and took off into turns one and two with Greg Barnett on his flank. These two would build a pretty large over Ganoe and Council, who spent a good amount of laps nose to tail working on each other before Council finally got around him for third spot.

 

Things were pretty smooth sailing for the first half of the race as I would imagine some drivers were trying to save tires. Remember this was a little bit longer of a race than what some of these guys are used to. Greg Barnett was finally able to make the pass for the lead on lap 27 after hanging on to the rear bumper of Ledbetter. Just four laps later we got the nights first caution as the #10c of Chris Conner went for a solo spin in turn two.

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White Caps Off Incredible Year At East Carolina With Ronnie Barnette Memorial Win

IMG_5074Robersonville, NC – “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” Louis White showed plenty of both this year at East Carolina winning a very impressive twelve times. This past Saturday marked the final event on the 2014 calendar and Louis White had all intentions on going out with a bang. White proved his dominance once again at ECMS by picking up his 12th win and doing so by leading every lap.

Now a lot of people think when they read stuff like wire to wire, dominated the field, flag to flag, that it was super easy for the driver. White wouldn’t call this weekend super easy by a long shot because the team broke a transmission in a Friday evening test session. The crew had to pull the transmission out of White’s dedicated Late Model and head right back to the track Saturday. I would say the car and driver missed a beat because when it came time to qualify we saw Louis White on the top of the speed charts yet again with a 15.49 (87.153 mph) second lap time.

Limited Late Model Starting Five;
1. #7 Louis White 15.49
2. #3 Shelton McNair 15.64
3. #21 Tim Allensworth 15.79
4. #55 Gerald Benton 15.81
5. #12 Wesley Johnson 15.84

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