Tag Archives: Modified

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


Thornburg, VA – The green flag finally flew for the 2020 season at Dominion Raceway with an infield full of race cars and the grandstands empty of race fans. The schedule included Modified 35, Twin 35’s for the Virginia Racers, UCAR 25, Any Car 20, and Mini Stock 25.

The main event Saturday night was the Affordable Automotive Repair Modified for 35 laps. Chris Humblet set quick time in qualifying with a lap 15.795. Tony Fowler spoiled an all Humblet front row with a second-place qualifying effort. After a redraw of 3, Jimmy Humblet led the 11-car field to the green flag.

Jimmy Humblet jumped out to an early lead followed by Chris Humblet and Tony Fowler. The caution came out 8 laps into the event when Hartley spun off turn 4. Fowler limped his machine down pit road with a terminal issue that sidelined him for the rest of the event.

The race’s final caution flew one lap later when Lowe turned Edgerton off the exit of turn 3. On the restart, Jimmy Humblet jumped back out to a commanding lead and looked to be in control of the race. That is until the leaders caught lap traffic with 10 laps to go. Lap traffic gave the elder Humblett all kinds of issues and opened the door for Chris Humblet to dive low off turn 2 making it 3-wide and took the lead. Chris Humblet never looked back and maintained a lengthy advantage over his dad and took the checkered flag for the season opener. Mike Rudy came home in the third position followed by Peyton Ferree and Wayne Hartley rounding out the top five.

The first race of the afternoon was first of two scheduled 35 lap races for the Truckin Thunder Virginia Racers. Davey Callihan set quick time in qualifying with a lap of 16.433. With a 5 car redraw after qualifying, Richard Storm and Zach Lightfoot assumed the front row and lead the 14-car field to the green flag.

The race started with a great door-to-door battle between Storm and Lightfoot. Storm would appear to take the advantage on the bottom, but Lightfoot stayed strong on the outside with some great side-by-side racing.

Bradley Kilby started making a move from his third starting position. Kilby caught Lightfoot and took the lead and he and Lightfoot separated themselves from the field 10 laps into the race.

The caution flag flew on lap 25 when Kilby got into the back of the lapped car of Barry Moore. Lightfoot and Logan Clark took the cone to start out the outside line. On the restart, Kilby jumped out the lead and pole-sitter Callihan and Lightfoot battled hard for the second position. It was another great door to door battle, but this allowed Callihan to check out on the field and secure the victory in the season opener for the exciting Virginia Racer’s division. Zach Lightfoot came home in the second position followed by Logan Clark, Davey Callihan, and Richard Storm rounding out the top five.

The second scheduled event for the Virginia Racer’s was canceled due to a storm cell that moved into the area.

Next week the action resumes at Dominion Raceway when the Late Models get their season started with two 60 lap events. Also, on the program is Virginia Racers 35, Dominion Stock 40, UCAR 25, INEX Legends 25, and INEX Bandos 25.


Affordable Automotive Modifieds

  1. Chris Humblet
  2. Jimmy Humblet
  3. Mike Rudy
  4. Peyton Ferree
  5. Wayne Hartley
  6. Mike Carte
  7. Kayla Surles
  8. Lauren Edgerton
  9. Jake Lowe
  10. David Blankenship
  11. Brandon Harding
  12. Tony Fowler
  13. Warren Lipford


Truckin Thunder Virginia Racers


  1. Bradley Kilby
  2. Zach Lightfoot
  3. Logan Clark
  4. Davey Callihan
  5. Richard Storm
  6. Mike Bedner
  7. Keith Carpenter
  8. Andrew Lang
  9. Barry Mooer
  10. Robb Almy
  11. Robert Almy
  12. Ryan Rector
  13. Reid Murphy
  14. Cole Bruce

Shawn Balluzzo’s Win Streak Comes to an End in Modified Night Cap at the Hands of Brandon Gdovic; Bounty Still in Tact After Balluzzo and Gdovic Split Twins

Hampton, VA– All good things eventually come to an end. For Shawn Balluzzo that would be his undefeated 2019 season. However, the $1,000 bounty is still up for grabs after Balluzzo picked up win number fifteen in the opening 40-lap feature.

Balluzzo admitted in victory lane following his flag-to-flag win in the first race that was the hardest he had to drive holding off Gdovic for 40-laps. What he didn’t know was race number two was going to be even more of a challenge. After electing to go to the rear in victory lane Balluzzo was already facing an up hill battle while Brandon Gdovic had to pass just three cars to assume the lead doing so in just eight laps.

Once out front and in clean air Gdovic set a pace that was unmatched by no one as we watched Balluzzo tear through the field – breaking into the top five by just lap ten. That was about the time Balluzzo’s luck ran out while taking a peak under Jamie Sample for second. The two must have touched which cut down Balluzzo’s right-front tire and sent him lackadaisical into the turn two outside wall drawing the first caution of the second feature. He was able to get to pit road and a new tire put on but starting once more in the rear of the field proved to be an issue. Just a handful of laps later several cars pile up in turn four forcing Balluzzo to get on the binders hard, locking up the tires and getting hit by a couple other cars trying to avoid. He was deemed part of the caution and not eligible for the cone.

Meanwhile, Gdovic was money on each of the following restarts really using the power of a brand new car to his advantage. The only real challenge for Gdovic came on the final restart – which was also the final nail in the coffin for Balluzzo – when the 48 was able to take the cone and start on the outside. After a flat tire, contact with the wall, flat spots, and contact with others, there was nothing left in the tank. Gdovic cleared the field into one and Sample cleared Balluzzo going into three. Gdovic would drive away creating more than a five-second gap over the rest of the field. Balluzzo was able to get around Sample in the closing laps to secure second. Danny Harrell and Eric McPherson rounded out the top five.

“I wish Shawn could have been able to get up there so we could have battled a little more,” Gdovic commented in victory lane. “Not really sure how the bounty deal works but if they give it to us then great. It was really fun to come back home and race. Glad my dad let me help get a little race trim here and get things figured out. The PPM boys built an awesome car. I just have to thank them, my mom and dad, ComServe Wireless and WindStax for all the support throughout the years.”

Gdovic has been absent from Langley Speedway for a few years now dipping his toes in both the K&N Series along with a few races in the NASCAR Xfinity series before his most recent success in the Lamborghini Trofeo series.

“You have to compare this win in a different way,” Gdovic said. “This my Hometrack so it’s special on a different level to come back home after a few years and see familiar faces. Short-track racing on a Saturday night is some of the best racing is at every night.”

Balluzzo earned the right to lead the field to the green to kick of Pete’s Towing night after laying down a 16.356 (86.941 MPH) second lap. Gdovic, who was fastest all day in practice lined up to his right side. Jamie Sample, Danny Harrell, and Rick Gdovic made up the starting five. From the drop of the green flag, it was the Balluzzo and Gdovic show. Balluzzo was able to keep Gdovic at bay even after several solid shots to the rear bumper. Danny Harrell, rookie Grant Blasingame, and Eric McPherson rounded out the top five. Todd Whitesell, Rick Gdovic, and Peyton Ferree completed the top eight finishers to set the invert.

“It was fun I have to say that,” Balluzzo commented about the final ten laps of the first forty-lap feature. “Brandon did a great job. All of these guys are doing a great job they have got their game going on. I am having a harder and harder time every week staying ahead of them.”

Brandon and I have been bantering back and forth,” Balluzzo commented about the social media post coming into the weekend in regards to the bounty out for him. “It’s just all in good fun, I hope he realizes that. It was great out there tonight and I know the fans have got to be loving all this with all that’s been going on and its been getting more interesting.”


Larry King Law Modified Race 1 UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 40
  2. #64 Brandon Gdovic; 40
  3. #95 Danny Harrell; 40
  4. #7 Grant Blasingame; 40
  5. #16 Eric McPherson; 40
  6. #49 Todd Whitesell; 39
  7. #47 Rick Gdovic; 39
  8. #23 Peyton Ferree; 39
  9. #19 Bubba Johnston; 26
  10. #28 Jamie Sample; 25
  11. #98 Matt Morgan; 9
  12. #3 Brad Adams; 9
  13. #18 DJ Valente; 9


Larry King Law Modified Race 2 UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. #64 Brandon Gdovic; 40
  2. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 40
  3. #28 Jamie Sample; 40
  4. #95 Danny Harrell; 40
  5. #16 Eric McPherson; 40
  6. #3 Brad Adams; 40
  7. #47 Rick Gdovic; 40
  8. #7 Grant Blasingame; 39
  9. #23 Peyton Ferree; 39
  10. #49 Todd Whitesell; 39
  11. #98 Matt Morgan; 21

Shawn Balluzzo Remains Perfect at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway

Hampton, VA – A rare 50-lap race was on hand for the drivers as they looked to end the bounty on Shawn Balluzzo. A field of nine Modifieds started the feature. Rick Gdovic grabbed his first pole of the year with a time of 16.545 with Shawn Balluzzo lining up second with a time of 16.602. Jamie Sample, Bubba Johnston, and Danny Harrell rounded out the fast five.

As the green flag dropped, Gdovic got a good start and rolled into turn one with the lead. Balluzzo would fall in line to second with Sample right behind him. Johnston didn’t get the start he wanted as Harrell got by him for fourth. Harrell wasted little time to try and get past Sample as well for the third position but got loose on the inside of him and lost a lot of momentum. Gdovic and Balluzzo we’re putting on a very fast pace for the race as they had opened up a straightaway lead over Sample in just 10 laps.

With the field spread out a bit, the only battle on track was for the sixth position between Bubba Johnston and Grant Blasingame. As them two battled, Brad Adams, who had his worst qualifying effort of the season, managed to make it a three car battle. Blasingame got around Johnston and took sixth away. Johnston got stuck on the outside and Adams managed to take seventh away as well. Blasingame wasted little time to catch Matt Morgan for the fifth spot and in turns one and two he got the inside line to take away the position. Adams caught up to them and once again made it a three car battle for position. Morgan has a little slip going into turn one and Adams took the opening and took sixth.

Halfway and it was Gdovic, Balluzzo, Sample, Harrell, and Blasingame. Gdovic and Balluzzo began to catch lap traffic on lap 26 and the battle for the lead tightened up. Balluzzo got to the back bumper of Gdovic the first time but Gdovic got a great run out of turn four to pull away just enough to put space between the two. Lap 33 and Balluzzo got a great run down the backstretch and got the inside line going into turn three to take the lead away from Gdovic. With the field so spread out, Balluzzo put fourth place car Harrell a lap down. With ten laps to go, Balluzzo had put a decent lead over Gdovic and had his sights set on his 14th victory of the season.

The one thing Balluzzo didn’t want to see happened. The caution came out on lap 44 for Eric McPherson going for a solo spin in turn two. This would give Gdovic and Sample one more chance to beat Balluzzo. With one to go, Sample took the cone to start on the outside of Balluzzo with Gdovic right behind him. When the restart came, it sure was a messy one. Balluzzo spun his tires, Gdovic spun his as well, and Sample made contact with Balluzzo due to him getting sideways. All cars would make it into turn one with Balluzzo the leader. The second caution came out for Gdovic and Morgan spinning on the backstretch.

No one took the cone so it would be a single file restart. This restart was a lot better for Balluzzo, Sample got just as good of a start. Going into turn one, Sample actually got to the inside of Balluzzo to look for the lead. Balluzzo with the experience, powered his way on the outside down the backstretch to hold the lead into turn three. Sample didn’t hold back as he kept beating and banging on Balluzzos back bumper doing all he could to beat him.

Checkered flag flew and Shawn Balluzzo picked up his 14th win of the season and stayed undefeated. It wasn’t the easiest win as drivers are getting anxious to get that bounty. Jamie Sample, Rick Gdovic, Danny Harrell, and Eric McPherson rounded out the top five.

Larry King Laws Modified Results

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 50
  2. #28 Jamie Sample; 50
  3. #64 Rick Gdovic; 50
  4. #95 Danny Harrell; 50
  5. #16 Eric McPherson; 49
  6. #7 Grant Blasingame; 49
  7. #98 Matt Morgan; 49
  8. #3 Brad Adams; 47
  9. #19 Bubba Johnston; 46

Shawn Balluzzo Remains Undefeated in Modifieds at Langley Speedway

Shawn Balluzzo picks up win number twelve and thirteen to remain undefeated at Larry King Law Langley Speedway. (Charlie Alexander/Langley Speedway)

Hampton, VA– The saying has always been, “if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.”  So far no one in the Hampton Roads area has been able to do so in the Larry King Law Modified division at Langley Speedway.

Shawn Balluzzo, the defending and ten time series champion, once again proved why he will go down as, one of, if not the best Modified drivers in Langley history. Balluzzo laid a lap down a solid lap two-tenths faster – 16.617 (85.575 mph) – than the rest of field. Bubba Johnston would line up to Balluzzo’s outside with his 16.842-second lap, Jamie Sample, Rick Gdovic, and Matt Morgan rounded out the fastest five starters.

Once the green flag was displayed from Shane Snyder, Balluzzo, like always, wasted zero time getting the loud pedal down to the floor and clearing the field out of turn two. As hard as it is to believe, Balluzzo got into his normal rhythm and took off to a little more than a three-quarter of a straightaway lead over the rest of the field. The two best battles to watch throughout the entire feature was between Bubba Johnston and Matt Carter for third and Rick Gdovic and Brad Adams for sixth. Carter was able to get around Johnston just past halfway. Adams was never able to get around Gdovic and had to settle for seventh. Jamie Sample, Mat Carter, Bubba Johnston, and TJ Largena rounded out the top five.

As usual race number two provided much more excitement, some not the kind you really ever want to see, after an eight-car invert allowed DJ Valente and Brad Adams the opportunity to start on the pole. Balluzzo, again per usual, elected to come down pit road under pace laps, forfeit his eighth place starting position and take the green from the rear of the field.

Valente took full advantage of having not only the preferred line around Langley Speedway but also the clean track and led the first handful of laps. Even held off the field on an early restart after Rick Gdovic went for a spin out of turn two to bring out the first yellow flag. NASCAR officials would send Balluzzo to the rear of the field after they determined Gdovic went around off the nose of the defending race winner.

On the ensuing restart Brad Adams was the first to utilize the cone and went to the outside of Valente essentially recreating the initial start of the race – Jamie Sample also elected to use the cone and lines up behind the No. 3 of Adams. With the green flag in the air Valente once again got back on the loud pedal looking to clear the field. He was able to do so around the middle of the backstretch and into turn three. The race, however, would be halted once more following a big wreck involving the No. 78 of Matt Carter and No. 98 of Matt Morgan. Carter was able to climb out of his machine under his own power with assistance of Langley’s incredible safety team. He would be transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. The No. 4 of TJ was later sent to the rear of the field for his involvement in the wreck.

Once Carter was transported outside of the track, the racing surface was cleared and lineup set, Valente was once again showed the cone. He once again elected to stay low. Bubba Johnston, however, took the bate this time and elected to restart on the outside front row – oddly enough Balluzzo did not elect to use the cone to better his starting position after being sent to the rear.

The ten time champion did not need the outside lane to make things happen as he worked his way back into the top five by lap ten. The following lap he was able to work his nose under Samples machine taking his position away. The very next lap Balluzzo got around Adams for the third position. Two laps later Balluzzo collapsed the gap on Jonhston and worked his way around him for second. It only took the champ a single lap to catch and pass Valente to take the lead for the first time of the feature. From there it was lights out, Balluzzo would cruise his way back to victory lane for the thirteenth consecutive time.

“A lot of these guys are coming around,”Balluzzo said in victory lane. “A lot of this stuff was avoidable tonight. [The] clutch felt funny but I thought I was imagining stuff and when I tried to do a burn out, I pushed the clutch in then bam, the transmission broke. Thanks to everybody, thanks to the fans that stuck around.”

In other racing action Jake Harberts picked up the win in the opening HRKC Pro Wing Champ Kart feature, Tim Wilson was your winner in the Pepsi Grand Stocks, Colby Vance toped the 30+ car Parts Barn Enduro 30-lap feature, Michael Waters took home the hardware in the 25-lap Bojangles UCAR feature and Rick Poust out dueled Chase McAdams in a thrilling photo finish in the night ending 25-lap Harris Truck Shop Super Truck feature.

Langley Speedway will return to action next weekend with a stacked schedule to include a 100-lap NWAAS Late Model feature. The Modifieds will return to the speedway for an amazing double-header weekend. Super Streets, Pro Six, Legends, and Bando’s are also on the docket.


Larry King Law Modified UNOFFICAL Race 1 Results;

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 40
  2. #28 Jamie Sample; 40
  3. #78 Matt Carter; 40
  4. #19 Bubba Johnston; 40
  5. #4 TJ Largena; 40
  6. #47 Rick Gdovic; 40
  7. #3 Brad Adams; 40
  8. #18 DJ Valente; 40
  9. #16 Eric McPherson; 40
  10. #98 Matt Morgan; 39
  11. #95 Danny Harrell; 39


Larry King Law Modified UNOFFICAL Race 2 Results;

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 40
  2. #3 Brad Adams; 40
  3. #16 Eric McPherson; 40
  4. #95 Danny Harrell; 40
  5. #4 TJ Largena (R); 40
  6. #19 Bubba Johnston; 40
  7. #18 DJ Valente; 40
  8. #47 Rick Gdovic; 40
  9. #28 Jamie Sample; 22
  10. #78 Matt Carter; 8
  11. #98 Matt Morgan; 8
« Older Entries