Tag Archives: Grand Stock

Lubno, Klein, and Wood Pick Up Support Divisions Wins on Opening Night at Langley Speedway

Brandon Wood celebrates in victory lane at Langley Speedway during Pomoco Opening Night. It was Wood’s first career victory. (Photo: Langley Speedway Press Release)

Hampton, VA – Some form of Late Model Stock Car racing may be the premier racing division at your local short track but we all know it takes more than that to put on a weekly show. Hell, sometimes the support divisions are the ones who put on a better show if we are being honest. Grand Stocks, Super Trucks, and UCAR (Bando’s & Legends also kicked off their season as well, recap coming soon) kicked off their season over the weekend. We saw some familiar faces back in victory lane as well as some new ones. The best part was each division had a great turn out of cars and we hear that a few more are still being built.

Let’s start by taking a look at the Pepsi Grand Stock division. Sammy Gaita, who missed a good portion of 2018 due to an injury, came back strong this season and grabbed his first pole award laying down a 17.705-second lap. Defending champ, Paul Lubno, would take the green from the fourth position. However, Lubno had no plans staying there for too long and it showed once the race went green.

To 40-lap feature saw three different leaders with Gaita being the first. His Frontline Vapes number 24 looked strong early but faded as the run went on. Tim Wilson took advantage of the opportunity and took over the lead, leaving the door open for Lubno to take second. Wilson did all he could to hold back the seasoned veteran but there was just not enough left in the tank (figuratively speaking) as Lubno was able to muscle his way into the top spot a handful of laps later. Once that powder blue number fourteen got the clean air and track, it was lights out.

“I got into the back of the seventeen a little too hard,” Lubno said in victory lane about the pass for the lead. “I rolled out of the throttle to let him get straightened back up then we went back to racing like we should do it.” Lubno went on to thank all of his crew and sponsors for making things happen. This past weekend is more than likely just a preview of things to come for the Pepsi Grand Stocks and Paul Lubno. Is there anyone out there who can stop his reign on the division? Tim Wilson, Sammy Gaita, Michael Waters, and dale Nicholls rounded out the top five finishers.

Jacob Carr, defending Super Truck champion, looked to be the guy to beat as the Harris Truck Shop Super Trucks kicked off their season is past weekend. Carr was quickest in qualifying earlier in the afternoon posting a 19.054-second lap. Rick Poust, making his return to the division in a Chase Elliot Mt. Dew inspired paint scheme, gave Carr a decent run for his money on the initial start from the outside but, eventually fell into line to continue his chase. Ronald Klein, last years Enduro champion, made his return to the truck division for the first time since 2017, looked to be the fastest man around as the laps clicked off and with the help of a couple of timely cautions, Klein was a true contender for the race lead.

With just five laps to go, Klein was able to methodically work his way under Carr and take the lead. Carr would get one final shot at Klein as the third and final caution would wave one lap twenty-three, setting up a two-lap shoot out. As the caution truck peeled down pit road, Klein nailed the restart, got the separation he needed, and went on to take the win. Rick Poust, Jacob Carr, Paige Cain, and Keith Wheeler rounded out the top five.

Brandon Wood, who was forced to sit at least half of the 2018 season out after a major crash with a lap car destroyed his car, came back this year faster than ever. After qualifying on the pole it looked like Wood was going to cruise to a caution free victory in a dominating way. However, with about five laps to go, things got really interesting, really fast.

The first (bogus) caution of the night came a car came to a stop on the apron, maybe the grass, then magically got going again. From there, like the old saying goes, “cautions breed cautions.” On the following restart as the field sailed into turn one, Dean Ballew & defending series champion Austin Davis made contact which sent Davis around and Ballew to the rear. Wood had to survive a couple more restarts as Davis ended up in more trouble at the hands of Mike Farley who had trouble getting going. Not sure if he spun the tires, missed a shift, or just got caught sleeping either way, Davis tried to go low to get around, Farley tried to go low to get out the way and the two met in an unfortunate manner.

Luckily for Brandon Wood, the restarts were not an issue and he was able to hang onto the lead and pick up his first career UCAR win. Dean Ballew was able to rebound to a second place finish, Courtney Shiflett, Austin Davis, and Tyler Borden rounded out the top five.

Langley Speedway will be back in action this weekend Saturday, April 6th with twin Modified features, Super Street action, Pro Six, Karts, and Enduro’s. Grand Stands will open a 2:00 PM. Qualifying at 4:30, racing actions scheduled for 7:00 PM.

Shawn Balluzzo Doubles Down in Modified Season Opener at Langley Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Larry King Law’s Modified Race 1 Results;

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

 

Larry King Law’s Modified Race 2 Results;

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

Pepsi Grand Stock Results;

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