Tag Archives: Modifieds

Shawn Balluzzo and Matt Slye Split Wins in Modifieds While Renno Sweeps Super Streets

Hampton, VA – Shawn Balluzzo earned the poll for the first time this season running a 16.888 second lap around the 4/10th mile Langley Speedway. No other driver’s could get into the same bracket but Bubba Johnston, Matt Carter, and Matt Slye all qualified within six hundredths of each other for second through fourth.

Balluzzo led the field to the green and Bubba was able to run his outside for the first full lap until Shawn cleared him driving into turn-1. Carter struggled a little early on falling back to fifth place as Jamie Sample got by him six laps in. Ten laps in and there was a three way battle for fourth between Sample, Carter, and Bobby Gery. Eventually Sample would spin out into the grass and bring out the caution.

Johnston tried the high side on the restart but Balluzzo pulled away from him before turn-3. A couple cars back Gery was able to pass Carter for fifth place while Slye started reeling in Johnston with ten laps to go. Pushing his car a little too hard possibly, Slye got loose out of turn-4 and hit the drainage area but kept the car rolling forward. With five to go Gery was up to Danny Harrell for fourth place, but a caution the next lap for Slye bumping Johnston too hard and spinning him out. Shawn controlled the restart well and was able to cruise to another win on the season for the defending champ.

Race Two

Finishing 8th in the first race means Bubba has the pole for race two. Like earlier in the season Balluzzo chose to start at the rear to pick up maximum national NASCAR points in the second division. Bubba had Donnie Holston on his outside coming to the green flag but this didn’t last long as he cleared him before heading down the back stretch. Eight laps in a nd Bubba’s car has a hickup and gets loose off of turn-4 and he would cycle back to fourth place giving the lead to Matt Carter with Matt Slye chasing him down. A few laps later and Shawn was already halfway through the field with twenty-three laps remaining. Balluzzo kept up the fast pace and five laps later he was by Gery for third place and just over three seconds back of the leaders. Slye grabbed the lead on the eighteenth lap. With six laps to go Balluzzo was a second and a half back and two laps later he got around Carter for second. His run would stop there as both drivers got into lapped traffic and Slye was able to hold on to the win.

Old Skool Video Games Super Streets

Renno Marchetti IV ran a 18.863 in single car qualifying to beat out the eleven other cars that took time. Right off the start Dale Parro gets shoved high and cars scatter to keep racing on. Six laps in and Marchetti, Sammy Gaita, Randy Akers, and Landon Abbott were clear of the field by almost 8 car lengths. Back in the field Bill Eaker passed Jason Michaud for 8th place and laid some pressure on Sean Calway. Eaker worked his way past him after some good racing but the caution came out for Gordon Weeks getting in the back grass, Dale Nichols car would break a front suspension piece and hit the inside wall down the front straiht while the cars were slowing down and Dale Parro came down pit road and parked it.

On the restart Abbott chose the high line and was able to lead a lap as the drivers ran side by side for two laps before Renno could clear him. A few laps later and they made it three wide for fifth place and Eaker was the winner of that gamble. Randy Akers set up a pass on Abbott in the closing laps to secure a second place finish behind race winner Renno Marchetti IV.

Photo Credit: King Charles Photography

Race Two

Sean Calway led the field to the green flag in the second race in the Old Skool Video Games Super Streets after an eighth place finish in race one. With it being another hot and humid day in Southeastern Virginia a little bit of rain tried to pop up again during the pace laps but the cars and track vehicles were able to keep th surface in prime racing conditions.

Calway had to defend his position several times just on the first lap. Chris Hott and Sammy Gaita spun out on the first start of the night and then Calway jumped the restart line the next attempt. After the good start Abbott tried to pass Calway on the outside but contact was made, with Landon getting the worse of the incident tearing off the right side of his vehicle and damaging the right rear suspension and flattening the tire. Michaud and Parro also were involved as they had nowhere to go when Abbott stopped, Michaud would park it for the night. Calway made a long stop in the pits but was able to rejoin the action.

With all that going on Eaker was put into the lead for the next restart and Akers went to his outside. Marchetti started behind him and took second place over with Akers not able to make a move on the outside. Six laps in and Renno was giving Eaker the bumper to let him know he was there with Akers and Gaita also waiting nearby. On lap-14 Gaita spun out into the grass on the rear stretch, a common practice for the night it seemed like.

Renno chose the high line over Bill and took over the lead quickly and Akers was battling hard with Dale Nichols for third place. Just a lap later Nichols got into Calway pretty hard putting him into the wall and bringing out another caution. Renno had a clean restart and with ten laps to go he was out to about a ten car length lead. Abbott started having some smoke from tire rub and cut down a tire on the back stretch for a late race caution. Renno took care of the last restart and was able to ride to a smooth finish for his second win of the night.

 

Shawn Balluzzo Grabs the Pole for the Armed Forces Cup

HAMPTON, VA – Fourteen modifieds took time at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway with 8-time track champion Shawn Balluzzo setting fast time with a 16.699 to lead the first race of the 33-lap twins scheduled for tonight. Before the first race the top-5 drivers in points will randomly select a branch of the United States Armed Forces to represent and the winner of the race will win the Armed Forces Cup. The only other driver to break the 16 second bracket was Chris Humblet with a 16.877, both of these fast times happened after cloud cover took away the sun.

Over on twitter we will be bringing lap by lap coverage for the modifieds, trucks, and INEX legends.

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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

Modified: Top Five In Points Do Not See The Checkered – Sets Up Crazy Season Finale

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Hampton, VA – Crazy is an understatement, and wild would have been an upgrade for this weekends 50-lap Larry King Law Modifieds from Langley Speedway. Three of the top five cars in the points found themselves parked by the order of the race director thanks to their silly actions on the racing surface, the other two cars in the top five found their night over before lap 50 after an accident and a parts failure! I am not kidding and couldn’t really make these things up folks I promise. Your top five cars in the point’s standings – Shawn Balluzzo, Robbie Babb, Jon Largena, Evan Horne, and Bobby Gery – never made it to see lap 40.

Points leader Shawn Balluzzo made a statement during qualifying earlier in the afternoon putting down a 16.403 (86.691 MPH) lap, almost two tenths faster than Jon Largena who lined up to his outside. Robbie Babb, who had clutch issues all afternoon, was able to lay a lap down good enough for the third starting spot. Jimmy Humblet and Matt Carter – making his return to Langley Speedway for the first time this season – rounded out the starting five.

Things looked pretty tame at the drop of the green flag. Both Balluzzo and Babb clear the outside machine of Largena. It would take two laps for Babb to get around Balluzzo for the lead and Babb seamed to check out from there, at one point having almost a full second lead. Twenty-nine laps were in the books before things got, well lets just call it strange. Ultimately Bobby Gery was the reason for the caution as he spun the car around in turn four. After getting his car headed in the right direction he left nothing to be guess on who he was angry with and took off after Horne. The two would exchange blows on the backstretch with their vehicles causing Mr. Walker to park both drivers.

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