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.