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The Final Chapter: When One Door Closes, Many More Open

Every great chapter must come to an end at some point, right? Gohan finally defeated Cell to put an end to the long lasting Cell Games. Harry, and friends, destroyed all of the Horcrux’s ultimately leading to Voldemort’s defeat, again? Dwight and Angela finally get married, Michael comes back for one last visit, and Pam & Jim finally move to Austin. Ross and Rachel confess their love and continue their relationship, Monica and Chandler adopt twins, and they all head to Central Park for one last cup of coffee. Honestly the list could go on and on with memorable cinematic or book related endings but that’s not why you clicked the article — at least that’s not why I think you are here.

When I started The Weekly Racer seven years ago I was just coming out of college spending the last three years of my life immersed in the “business” side of sports. I absolutely loved going to class and wanted to be involved with sports for the rest of my life. I found that I had a passion for the PR side of things. I enjoyed the planning aspect of things, the marketing and finance side was okay, but I really enjoyed writing. I enjoyed the weekly press release assignment I had in one class, I enjoyed telling a story. I was also in the need of a 400-hour internship to complete my degree so I went to my favorite place here in my hometown – Langley Speedway. Pitched my idea. Then failed to secure the position. I found out either I did a bad job of selling myself or just wasn’t qualified to do the job. Looking back at it now I was asking for a internship to start in January and go to May at a local short track, that time frame probably just didn’t work out for them, nothing to be angry about now. Maybe it was a true life lesson that when one door closes another opens — something to keep in mind for later.

I ended up landing an internship as an assistant Athletic Director with one of the most amazing and down right coolest bosses ever at my high school alma mater. I got to do a lot of work planning the final Peninsula District baseball tournament but I digress. That small “failure” of not landing the internship at the place and sport I really wanted no doubt had me down. I thought to myself; I just spent the last six years of my life studying all this, all the late nights staying up after work putting proposals together and reading all these expensive books just to be turned down for a FREE job. What does that mean for me when I go looking for jobs that actually pay. Then I remembered something my mother and father thought me growing up being a small business owning family. If you want it, work for it, make it yours… so I did and over the summer of 2013 The Weekly Racer (TWR) was born. My own personal internship if you will.

Over these last seven years I have learned so much about the sport of auto racing and grown not only as a person but as a professional. Starting out sitting in freezing cold grandstand in November with a Coleman heater and tapping on the screen of my iPhone, to securing a small corner in the wooden turn one spotter stand at Langley, to talking with past, present, and certainly future NASCAR & World of Outlaws champions. I have been asked to take photos for NASCAR teams, produced radio style shows, created year end banquet videos, and brought onto PA systems to talk about racing. It has certainly been a ride that I will cherish forever. This was something that I, with the help of many, many others along the way, built from the ground up. The Weekly Racer was something that people all over the Mid Atlantic region went to for pre, live, and post race information on their favorite series or driver. A place to stay up to date with their racing family, a true community.

That is why it truly does sadden me to announce that as 2020 comes to an end so will TWR. I want to take a minute to thank those who helped make TWR what it is today. To my wife who helped me edit stories, take photos/videos, tag-team the largest Late Model race in the country, and drive the countless hours back home in the dark while I typed up stories. To Mark Rogers Jr. who though we worked at “competing” outlets, always took the time to answer questions and provide advice. My dad, who also helped play the roll of driver, toting me around on long trips so I can type up stories in the passenger seat and even bank rolled the operation in the early years. To Hudson Hall, who has put me in contact with more NASCAR drivers, crew, and other professionals than I would have ever imagined. Saying goodbye to something you have worked so hard to create is never easy but, leaving it on “good terms” to do “bigger” things might make it a little easier, right?

Now to that “… other doors open” part of that statement I made above. Even though I am closing the doors so to speak here at The Weekly Racer I will be doing so to write, quite literally, the next chapter of my racing career. Not only will I be returning to Langley Speedway as a member of the NBC Gold Track Pass Production Team I am extremely happy to announce I will also be taking on the roll Media Relations Director at the speedway! I will be working to provide original content for our racing community which will be featured on the tracks brand new website – more on that coming soon.

I am beyond excited for the 2021 race season! With so much going on this past year I cannot wait to get back behind the camera and provide everyone with a high quality product. I cannot wait to get back behind the computer doing something I love, putting out quality stories highlighting the speedways rich history within the community, it’s drivers, teams, and staff.

To everyone who has supported me throughout the years, used my photos on their social platforms, their hero cards, their merchandise, thank you! To everyone who took the time to stop on pit road or from working on their car to talk to me about how good or even how bad of a day you were having, thank you. Even to everyone who messaged, called or emailed pointing out my mistakes along the way, thank you for having the courage to do so, so I could become a better writer. To the 200K+ people who took the time to visit our website and various social platforms — Thank You! This may be the ending to one novel but the start of something else!

To Be Continued…

Mark Wertz Wins Innagural Shawn Balluzzo Memorial 100; Becomes Just the Fourth Different Modified Champion in fourteen Year

Mark Wertz celebrates in Dale Lemonds Victory Lane Saturday 10/31/20 as the winner of the inaugural Shawn Balluzzo Memorial 100. His victory also secured him the 2020 track title. 📸 Bill Carnes/Given to Fly Photography

Hampton, VA – The final race of the 2020 season at Langley Speedway was finally here and it was a little bittersweet. Champions would be crowned in eight divisions along with the running of the inaugural Shawn Balluzzo Memorial 100 for the Modified division.

Mark Wertz – who stepped down from a full-time racing schedule at the end of 2019 – actually entered the evening with a 19 point lead over Matt Carter in the championship standings. This meant Wertz would have to finish no less than 20 positions behind Carter to win the championship. With 24 cars entered into the Carter still had a mathematical chance to steal the title but certainly would need some help from the full moon that shined over turn one. Chris Johnson, Michael Johnson, and Rick Gdovic also were battling for a top-five finish in points.

26 Modifieds showed up to honor Shawn Balluzzo and put on a great show for the fans. Balluzzo’s son in-law, T.J. Largena planned to bring his car out for the first time this season and honnor his late father in-law by running large Mighty Mouse graphics on the door panels but a broken rear end during practice sidelined him from doing so. Matt Ashworth was the second car in practice that was unable to answer the bell. Matt Carter continued his season long speed and grabbed the pole with a time of 16.085 (88.405 MPH). Chris Johnson, Mark Wertz, Brad Adams, and Adam Medek rounded out the Fast Five. 

Due to the longer race length for this event, race control would split the feature into 3 segments with cautions coming on lap 35 and lap 75. Minor adjustments and adding fuel was the only thing allowed. Tire changes were not permitted unless flat, and if that be the case, the car would have to change the tire the lap after the break was over. Additionally, before the start of the race, at the request of the Balluzzo family, Shawn’s ashes rode with long-time friend, Mark Wertz, for a final three laps around the track, the fans gave a standing ovation as they went around the track.

On the initial start pole sitter, Matt Carter, jumped the start according to race control which prompted a complete and total restart. Take two was a clean one and Chris Johnson took the lead out of turn two. Going into turn three, Wertz, Carter, and Adams went three-wide resulting in Carter making contact with Adams and spinning around. This would bring out the caution and amazingly, everyone was able to avoid Carter who was facing the wrong way. Onto the next restart and it was Wertz this time going to the lead down the backstretch. Cautions came early and often as drivers fought for prime real estate on the racing surface with more than $2,000 and a three-foot trophy on the line, caution number three would be displayed on lap 7 after Jordan Wood – making his Modified debut after competing in the Champ Kart feature earlier in the evening – spun in turn three. Wertz would go back to the lead on the restart, as Adams had a rough one and fell from third to fifth.

Paul Debolt, after starting eighth, made his way up to third and challenged Chris Johnson for second. By lap 11, Debolt took the lead from Wertz and put a sizable lead over the field. After spinning early, Carter had worked his way up to 13th position in just 16 laps. A four car battle heated up for third between Adams, Chris J, Rick Gdovic, and Jamie Sample. Only for that battle to come to a vault as a caution came out for Billy Grimes facing the wrong way in turn two. This also caused Gdovic to make contact with Sample sending him around and cutting his own tire. Both would go to pit road and fix their damages.

Chris Humblet worked his way into the top five as well after starting ninth. Humblet began applying pressure on Chris Johnson for third that they both got caught up and almost passed by Mike Rudy on the outside. A caution came out on lap 31 for Adams going for a spin in turn three. Gdovic, Sample and Eric McPherson all were involved as well. This caution would end up being the first break allowing teams to work on their cars for five minutes. The top five at the break was Debolt, Wertz, Chris J, Rudy, and Chris H.

Back to green and Debolt picked right back up from before the break and shot to the lead. Carter had worked his way up to seventh now. Caution would come out on lap 39 for Whitesell and Gdovic making contact forcing Gdovic around. Grimes would also get collected. Back to green and Wertz took the lead from Debolt on lap 40. Problems occurred for Debolt as he came to a stop on the track to bring the caution out on lap 44. Would later find out issues with the rear end would end his hopes at a victory. Chris Humblet would work his way to the lead by lap 53 after getting around Wertz. Another caution would come out on lap 72 for Grimes going around once again. Race control would also use this caution as the second race break. The top five at this break was Chris Humblet, Mark Wertz, Mike Rudy, Chris Johnson, and Danny Harrell. As the break was coming to an end crews noticed Humblet’s left rear tire going down. He would end up giving up the lead to Wertz to change the tire.

Back to green and things got physical quick with less than 30-laps to go. Mike Rudy and Mark Wertz made contact going through one and two which sent Rudy into the outside wall ending his hunt for the victory. Jeff “Stickman” Bowen handed out plenty of caution flags during the final segment as drivers were fighting for every inch one the racing surface they could get. Wertz would go on the lead the final 10 laps and win the inaugural Shawn Balluzzo Memorial 100 race and also win the 2020 Larry King Law Modified championship. Chris Johnson, Jimmy Humblet, Chase Burrow, and Adam Medek rounded out the top five finishers.

Shawn Balluzzo Memorial 100 Results

  1. #19 Mark Wertz; 100
  2. #36 Chris Johnson; 100
  3. #11 Jimmy Humblet; 100
  4. #0 Chase Burrow; 100
  5. #29 Adam Medek; 100
  6. #47 Brenden Queen; 100
  7. #02 Jordan Wood; 100
  8. #20 Chris Humblet; 100
  9. #78 Matt Carter; 100
  10. #28 Jamie Sample; 100
  11. #5 Kyle Fowler; 100
  12. #38 Michael Johnson; 100
  13. #44 Shawn Adkins; 100
  14. #70 Curtis Hughes; 100
  15. #95 Danny Harrell; 100
  16. #64 Rick Gdovic; 99
  17. #3 Brad Adams; 99
  18. #23 Peyton Ferree; 83
  19. #70 Jeremy Gerstner; 83
  20. #49 Todd Whitesell; 76
  21. #50 Billy Grimes; 72
  22. #8 Mike Rudy; 72
  23. #16 Eric McPherson; 72
  24. #78 Paul Debolt; 43

Featured Image: Bill Carnes/ Given to Fly

Connor Hall Sweeps Clubtails Night; Brenden Queen Clinches First LAngley Speedway Track Championship

📸Bill Carnes/Given to Fly Photography

Hampton, VA – Championship night for the Taylor Waste Servies Late Models was upon us here at Langley Speedway – Chesapeake’s very own Brenden Queen came into the weekend with a 15 point lead over six-tim champion Danny Edwards Jr. With a field of 13 cars, Queen simply needed to just finish both twin races to notch his name in the Langley record books. Greg Edwards, Casey Wyatt, Connor Hall, and Thomas Marks were all also fighting for a top-five finish in points. Queen got a head start on the championship hunt by putting his Old Skool Video Games/CarCovers.com No. 03 Ford on the pole once more this season with a lap time of 15.661 (90.799 MPH). Connor Hall, Greg Edwards, Danny Edwards, and Casey Wyatt rounded out the fast five.

Trouble struck early for one competitor fighting for a top-five spot in the championship standings. Casey Wyatt, who had been having a standout season, has issues as the field was getting to ready to double up for the initial start. Problems with his right front led to being on the receiving end of a Petes Towing tow truck and nose first in his garage stall as the green flag was unfurled. Back on track, the action heated up quickly as Queen capitalized on the great starting position and lead early. Connor Hall, however, who had been having a string of bad luck had other plans for the night and took the lead on lap 4. A caution would come out on lap 15 for Thomas Marks and Adam Hoegerl making some contact, Hoegerl would end up going around. Problems would strike Marks later in the race when he had some smoke coming from his car and he parked it for the first race – later confirmed transmissions issues for the No. 88 machine. Connor Hall would go on to win the race with ease. Greg Edwards, Brenden Queen, Justin Carroll, and Danny Edwards rounded out the top five.

The eight-car invert for the second race would put Terry Carroll and Craig Eastep on the front row. Eastep jumped out to the early lead from the outside and held the spot for the first five laps. That was until Queen used the outside line to take second from Danny, and eventually the lead from Eastep. The first caution came out on lap 12 for Casey Wyatt going into turn two wall – again issues with the right front suspension causing issues for the Newport News based team. Hall would take the lead on the restart and set the pace for the field. The field went single file until lap 22 when the second caution came out for an entanglement between Justin Carroll and Craig Eastep, causing the No. 25 machine to come to a stop in the turn two grass. The two would get into it again bringing out another caution just a few laps later. This would not stop Hall, however, who would dominate each restart clearing the field and setting a pace that could be matched by no one. Thomas Marks, was able to swap out transmissions between races with the help of crews up and down pit road, was able to drive his machine through the field picking off cars as they came. The checkered flag flew once more for Connor Hall as he swept the night and became the winningest driver of the 2020 season with three victories. Greg Edwards and Brenden Queen once again took podium spots while Thomas Marks and Mark Wertz rounded out the top five. 

Brenden Queen did the unthinkable and won the 2020 Late Model championship without winning a single race. Consistent top five finishes helped him get the points lead he needed all season. This championship would be Queens first at his home track, but his second Late Model championship of his career. When Langley closed for one year, Queen traveled to East Carolina Speedway in Robersonville, NC, where he picked up his first career Late Model win and championship.

We’ll be back at the track in two weeks for the Shawn Balluzzo Memorial race to crown the 2020 Modified champion. Along with Grand Stocks, Pro Six, Ucars, Legends, Bandoleros, Karts, and Enduros.

Taylor Waste Services Late Model Race 1 Results;

  1. #77 Connor Hall; 50
  2. #21 Greg Edwards; 50
  3. #03 Brenden Queen; 50
  4. #91 Justin Carroll; 50
  5. #26 Danny Edwards; 50
  6. #55 Mark Wertz; 50
  7. #25 Craig Eastep; 50
  8. #90 Terry Carroll; 50
  9. #68 Adam Hoegerl; 47
  10. #10 Ryan Huff; 36
  11. #88 Thomas Marks; 35
  12. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 35
  13. #29 Casey Wyatt; 0

Taylor Waste Services Late Model Race 2 Results

  1. #77 Connor Hall; 50
  2. #21 Greg Edwards; 50
  3. #03 Brenden Queen; 50
  4. #88 Thomas Marks; 50
  5. #55 Mark Wertz; 50
  6. #91 Justin Carroll; 50
  7. #26 Danny Edwards; 50
  8. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 50
  9. #25 Craig Eastep; 50
  10. #90 Terry Carroll; 50
  11. #68 Adam Hoegerl; 49
  12. #29 Casey Wyatt; 12
  13. #10 Ryan Huff; 0

Featured Photo: Connor Hall celebrates his second victory of the evening Saturday night in Dale Lemonds Victory Lane (Photo: Bill Carnes/Given to Fly Photography)

Josh Berry Makes Stronger Case for a National Championship Run by Sweeping races at Langley Speedway

Hampton, VA – With the season winding down, and national points coming down to the wire, Josh Berry and Peyton Sellers made their way to Langley Speedway this past weekend to go head-to-head. Berry coming into the weekend with a 26 point lead – how fitting we might add – over Sellers, looked to keep his momentum up and pull even further away from the National champ. A full field of 17 Late Models – and an almost clean sweep of the weekend – showed up for a pair of 50-lap features.

Brenden Queen, the youngster from Chesapeake, VA, entered the weekend as the points leader over former track champion Danny Edwards and continued his great season by winning his third pole of the season. While Connor Hall looked to turn his bad luck around after qualifying second. Greg Edwards, Josh Berry, and Peyton Sellers rounded out the fast five.

As the green flag dropped, Brenden Queen charged ahead down the backstretch, only for Connor Hall to take the lead on lap 2. Berry and Sellers made their way around Greg for third and fourth. Queen wasn’t letting Hall get too far ahead as he began to battle for the lead again. Berry would also join in on the fray and take second away from Queen. Sellers would also get a piece of the action as Hall and Berry pulled away from the field. Sellers eventually got around Queen for third and went after Berry and Hall. On lap 31, Berry went to Halls inside and took the lead down the backstretch. The first caution of the night came on lap 32 for a spinning Bubba Johnston out of two.

Hall and Queen took the outside for the restart. Berry would get a great start and cleared the field out of turn two. Sellers would go on to take second from Hall and make a move to the inside of Berry to take the lead on lap 35. Sellers would put a small gap between him and Berry until lap 45. Berry got a strong run into turn two and moved Sellers up the track to retake the lead. Hall followed through with Berry and looked to take the lead away from him as well. Sellers would get back around Hall for second. Josh Berry would go on to pick up the victory in the first twin 50 lap feature.

With the eight car invert, Craig Eastep and Casey Wyatt inherited the front row. Wyatt, who entered the weekend third in points, would drop to the rear of the field before the race started. Green flag flew and it looked that Greg Edwards might earn a second win of the 2020 season as he took the lead going into turn one. Hall would go to second and Berry, after having to start eighth, was up to third in just one lap. Meanwhile, Sellers was stuck in eighth. Sellers second race would come to an end as he pulled his machine to pit road with issues.

Berry went to the outside line to pass Hall for second as well as Greg for the lead on lap 12. The first caution would be displayed for a spinning Casey Wyatt in turn four. Berry would restart on the outside by his own choice with Greg to his inside. Berry would clear Greg out of turn to and set the pace for the field. With just four laps to go, the second caution came out for Adam Medek and Bubba Johnston tangling in turn one. Josh Berry would go on to hang on to the lead and sweep the twin 50 lap features.

Taylor Waste Services Late Model’s Race 1;

  1. #88 Josh Berry; 50
  2. #26 Peyton Sellers; 50
  3. #77 Connor Hall; 50
  4. #03 Brenden Queen; 50
  5. #21 Greg Edwards; 50
  6. #26 Danny Edwards; 50
  7. #29 Casey Wyatt; 50
  8. #25 Craig Eastep; 50
  9. #97 Daniel Silvestri; 50
  10. #88 Thomas Marks; 50
  11. #90 Terry Carroll; 50
  12. #9 Alex Brock; 50
  13. #19 Bubba Johnston; 50
  14. #8 Tyler Hughes; 50
  15. #29 Adam Medek; 50
  16. #36 Chris Johnson; 45
  17. #91 Justin Carroll; 25

Taylor Waste Services Late Model’s Race 2;

  1. #88 Josh Berry; 50
  2. #77 Connor Hall; 50
  3. #21 Greg Edwards; 50
  4. #03 Brenden Queen; 50
  5. #26 Danny Edwards; 50
  6. #8 Tyler Hughes; 50
  7. #97 Daniel Silvestri; 50
  8. #88 Thomas Marks; 50
  9. #25 Craig Eastep; 50
  10. #9 Alex Brock; 50
  11. #90 Terry Carroll; 50
  12. #19 Bubba Johnston; 46
  13. #29 Adam Medek; 45
  14. #36 Chris Johnson; 40
  15. #29 Casey Wyatt; 34
  16. #91 Justin Carroll; 12
  17. #26 Peyton Sellers; 10

Racing & TWR Returns to Langley Speedway as the 2020 Season Winds Down

Hampton, VA – Looking back at some recent stats and insights of our page we could not help but notice the lack of content provided this year. To be very blunt – it blows! The current COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on everyone worldwide has certainly not been helpful, however, I told my very small crew that their safety and their family come first and TWR would come second. Then you throw in good ole Mother Nature in late summer and you can see how the deck is stacked against race tracks. Also if we are being honest we have had A LOT of stuff going on away from the racetrack that has taken our attention away from the sport. Well, I am very pleased to say that the skies here in Hampton Roads are clear and the temperatures are what you would expect for October and we are set for a barn burner of a night here at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway.

Seven divisions of racing – with the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Late Model Stock Cars brought to you by Taylor Waste Services – will of course headline and kick off the show with a pair of 50-lap features. With NASCAR National points also coming to a close for 2020 and Langley Speedway being the only racing facility in the south eastern region to be running this weekend we will see the likes of Josh Berry and Peyton Sellers mixing it up for National Points while Brenden Queen, Danny Edwards Jr., and Casey Wyatt pick up their points battle as well. Super Streets and Trucks – who have both provided an impressive car count this year – will be running twin features as well as crowning a champion in their respective divisions. The Virginia Racers (essentially a limited late model), Legends, Bando’s and Enduro’s will all have single events tonight.

Tickets for tonights events can still be purchased via the tracks website. If you are unable to get tickets or make it out in general do not forget all of tonights action will be broadcasted LIVE via NBC TrackPass.







*subject to change

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