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Balluzzo snags 2nd Mod win; Frye posts Grand Stock sweep
May 4, 2015 - updated May 4th, 2015 9:47am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey

Hampton, Va. --

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
Safety-Kleen Night
Race Report
Saturday, May 2, 2015

  HAMPTON, Va. (May 2) — Shawn Balluzzo took the lead for good on lap 9 and survived a flurry of late-race restarts on the way to his second win of the season in the Safety-Kleen 50 for the Larry King Law Modifieds, the featured event of Saturdayevening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
  Balluzzo set the pace in afternoon qualifying, nabbing the pole with a lap at 87.159 mph. Jimmy Humblet was second-fastest and shared the front row with Balluzzo. Robbie Babb was due to start third, but suffered mechanical problems during his qualifying jaunt and was scratched from the lineup. Danny Harrell assumed the third spot, followed by Jon Largena and Bobby Gery.
  As the race got under way, Balluzzo pulled ahead of Humblet out of Turn 2 to gain the early advantage. His first stay at the front was short-lived, however, as Humblet ducked underneath him in Turn 4, swiping the lead as the field headed back toward Turn 1 to begin the second circuit.
  Balluzzo dropped into line and began to stalk the leader. By lap 5, they had opened a half-straightaway gap between themselves and third-place Harrell, who had his hands full with Largena.
  On lap 8, Balluzzo launched a bid to regain the top spot, driving underneath Humblet in Turn 2. Returning to the flagstand, Humblet maintained a slight edge. On the following lap, though, Balluzzo surged ahead at the end of the backstretch. Within a couple laps, Balluzzo had motored away by three car-lengths.
  Third place changed hands on lap 15 as Largena overtook Harrell for the position. Gery tagged along with Largena and moved up to fourth place on lap 16.
  Back up front, Balluzzo’s lead had grown to half a straightaway over Humblet as they worked lap 19. Slower traffic came into play on lap 22, but Humblet was able to make up little ground.
  The first yellow flag waved on lap 32 when Eric McPherson spun in Turn 1. Bunching for the restart, Gery gave up his fourth spot in line and headed to the outside lane, pulling alongside the leader. He was joined up top by Scott Lawrence and Donnie Holston.
  As the race resumed, Balluzzo and Humblet made quick work of Gery, who grabbed the third spot. With Largena in tow, Gery set off after Humblet. Meanwhile, Balluzzo had dashed away from the pack.
  The second caution flag appeared on lap 38 when McPherson found trouble again, this time in Turn 3. Once more, Gery opted for the outside lane on the restart, followed by Harrell and Darrell Vance.
  Back under green, Balluzzo and Humblet scooted ahead of Gery, who was left in a side-by-side battle with Largena. Largena nosed ahead at the line and gained clear-cut command of third place off Turn 2 on lap 39.
  Within two laps, Largena had run down Humblet and went after the runner-up position as they raced into Turn 1. He pulled even with Humblet in the middle of the corner and moved into second on the backstretch. Gery tried to follow, but was rebuffed. On lap 44, though, Gery slipped past and took over third place.
  The third caution flag was unfurled on lap 45 when Tony Steele spun in Turn 4, collecting Andrew Fortin. At the same instant, Lawrence was spinning at the start/finish line.
  Setting the running order for the restart, Balluzzo maintained the lead, followed by Largena and Gery. Humblet was fourth, but chose the outside lane, bringing Harrell and Vance along with him.
  Before another lap could be completed, the fourth yellow flag was in the air for a fracas in Turn 3 involving Gery, Harrell and Fortin. Harrell found himself trapped in a drainage ditch at the edge of the infield in Turns 3 and 4 and the red flag was thrown as a tow truck made its way to his rescue.
  For the ensuing restart, Balluzzo was flanked by Vance. Betting that the leader’s attention would be focused on the car to his outside, Largena took a look to the inside of Balluzzo as the green flag reappeared. Balluzzo had both bases covered, however, and emerged with a one-length margin.
  The last of the race’s five caution flags was displayed on lap 46 when Wayne Hartley, Jack Sharkey and Vance tangled off Turn 4 and onto the frontstretch. Hartley got the worst of the exchange, plowing into the outside wall just before the flagstand. The incident prompted another red-flag stoppage as cleanup activities commenced.
  On the final restart, Balluzzo eked out a slim edge over Largena, then pulled away over the closing circuits. By the end, his winning margin had grown to 0.786-second. Largena was second to the stripe, while Humblet, Evan Horne and Donnie Holston completed the top five.
  After running with the leaders for most of the event, Gery ended up sixth. Chris Humblet, Jimmy’s son, was seventh, followed by Sharkey, Fortin and McPherson. Steele, Harrell and Vance were 11th, 12th and 13th, the final drivers on the lead lap.
  In Victory Lane after the race, Balluzzo described his journey to the win: “This was the longest race I’ve ran in a long time. The car was amazing. We got here. We practiced 10th and sixth and eighth all day long and the guys worked on it, worked on it and made some good choices and it came out good.”
  Asked about his affinity for Langley and for the Modified division, Balluzzo, a longtime Late Model campaigner, noted, “We’ve had great experience here. I’ve been all over at all different race tracks. We’ve had unfortunate circumstances at South Boston. I think we probably could’ve won both the races at South Boston. We were leading when we broke... by a lot. I’ve gotten used to the Modifieds, compared to the Late Models. The Modifieds are a lot more of a driver car than the Late Models are. The Late Models are very lethargic and, I don’t want to say they’re ‘easy’ to drive, but they’re different to drive than these are.”

  In the evening’s other feature events:

  Mark Frye led 40 of 50 laps and notched his second and third wins of the year with a sweep of the Twin 25s for the Pepsi Grand Stocks.
  The lineup for the first of the Twins was determined in time trials and Frye set the fast time, clocking in at 80.126 mph. Brandon Hinson was second-quickest, followed by Jamie Sample, Andrew Condrey and Tommy Sweeney.
  As the opener got rolling, Hinson got the jump on Frye and held a narrow edge as the field roared into Turn 1. By the time they returned to the flagstand, though, Frye had gotten up to speed and was back out front. Sample moved up to second, while Hinson slipped to third and Sweeney emerged in fourth. By lap 10, the front four had opened a half-straightaway gap over Shawn Scovel, who was tussling with Mark Claar for fifth.
  On lap 13, Hinson poked a fender underneath Sample at the end of the backstretch and came away with the second spot. Sweeney tried to follow, but had to fall back in line. Two laps later, though, he was successful, nosing ahead of Sample at the stripe to take over third. On lap 15, Claar finally got the better of Scovel and cracked the top five.
  With the laps beginning to wind down, Frye was up by almost half a straightaway over Hinson. On lap 20, he was held up momentarily by a slower car, allowing Hinson to close the gap. As Frye pulled away, though, Hinson fared little better with the lapped machine and Frye quickly regained his half-straightaway advantage. Meanwhile, third-place Sweeney was zeroing in on Hinson.
  As Frye cruised to the checkers, winning by 1.102 seconds, the battle for second heated up on the white-flag lap. In Turn 2 for the final time, Sweeney ducked underneath Hinson. The two went side-by-side to the finish with Hinson holding off Sweeney by half a car-length. Sample was fourth and Claar completed the caution-free run in fifth.
  The starting order for the second race mirrored the finishing order of the first, putting Frye and Hinson on the front row.
  As the nightcap got under way, Hinson again bolted ahead of the pack, taking the lead into Turn 1. Sample moved to the inside of Frye and snagged the second spot. Frye rallied on lap 2, however, and regained the runner-up position. Sweeney came along with Frye and took over third.
  Frye quickly closed in on Hinson, hunting for the point. He took a look to the inside of the leader in Turn 2 on lap 8, but came away empty-handed as Sweeney and Sample tried to join the fray.
  On lap 11, Frye worked underneath Hinson as they entered Turn 1. He drew even along the backstretch and powered ahead off Turn 4. A lap later, Sweeney overtook Hinson and grabbed second, while Sample inched into third.
  The first caution flag appeared on lap 14 when Hinson spun in Turn 1. Lining up for the restart, sixth-place Claar pulled to the outside of the leader, joined by Thomas Marks.
  Back under green, Frye and Claar dueled until they reached the end of the back straightaway with Frye gaining the upper hand. Sweeney bypassed Claar through Turns 3 and 4, while Sample slipped by on the frontstretch.
  The second yellow flag waved on lap 17 when Sweeney and Sample locked horns in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 while battling for second. Both cars spun as the rest of the field scattered to avoid them.
  The incident relegated Sweeney and Sample to rear of the field and moved Scovel up into the runner-up spot, followed by Bubba Johnston and Claar. Andrew Condrey and Michael Waters, the fifth- and seventh-place drivers chose the outside lane for the restart.
  Under green for the final time, Frye cleared Condrey in Turn 2. Condrey found an opening and slipped into second, ahead of Scovel. Two laps later, Scovel rooted Condrey aside in Turn 2 and regained the runner-up spot, leaving Condrey in a three-way scuffle for third with Johnston and Waters. Waters snagged the position on lap 20.
  At the finish, Frye was the winner by 1.536 seconds over Scovel. Waters was third to the line, followed by Johnston and Claar.

  In a 30-lapper for the KeesVacations.com Pro Sixes, Landon Florian took the lead on lap 12 and rolled to his first win of the young season.
  Florian was fastest in afternoon time trials, at 84.367 mph. The top six qualifiers were inverted, however, bumping him to the outside of Row 3 and putting Cody Carlton on the pole. Rookie contender Justin Fuller was due to start on the outside of Row 1, but chose to drop to the rear, leaving Bobby Hall with the outside pole.
  On the start, Hall, the defending division champ, beat Carlton into Turn 1 to take the early lead. On the backstretch for the first time, Florian and J.B. Sipe sandwiched Carlton in a three-wide rush for second. Florian took the spot, while Sipe moved into third. Carlton dropped another position on lap 2 as Travis Wall scooted by. Meanwhile, Hall enjoyed a half-straightaway margin over Florian.
  The first caution flag appeared on lap 10 when Maddy Mulligan and Nelson Moody tangled in Turn 2. Gathering for a restart, third-place Wall and sixth-place Casey Sipe picked the outside lane.
  Returning to green, Wall held firm on Hall’s outside flank and grabbed the lead down the backstretch. As the leaders exited Turn 4, Florian shouldered Hall aside and moved into second.
  Florian quickly tracked down Wall and dove underneath the leader off Turn 4 on lap 11. He grabbed the lead through Turns 1 and 2 on the following circuit. A lap later, Hall muscled past Wall in Turn 2 and regained second. The shuffle allowed Florian to pad his lead to five lengths, but Hall soon began to narrow the gap.
  The second, and final, yellow flag waved on lap 18 for debris on the track. Carlton and Ben Zoellner opted for the outside lane for the ensuing restart.
  As the race resumed, Florian and Hall darted ahead of Carlton, leaving the door open for Wall, who rushed to fill the void. Wall and Carlton went door-to-door for a couple laps with Wall taking over third on lap 20. The skirmish allowed Florian and Hall to get away by nearly a full straightaway.
  Over the closing circuits, Florian gradually eased away from Hall. By the finish, his winning margin stood at 1.012 seconds. Wall was third to the line, followed by Carlton. Casey Sipe was fifth, fighting off Fuller at the checkers.

  Jesse Jones IV took the lead for good on lap 5 and sailed to his second win of the year in the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR feature.
  Eric Schaffer was the fast qualifier in afternoon time trials, at 74.186 mph, followed by Jones. The top two were inverted for the start, so Schaffer and Jones swapped spots on the front row. Tim Wilson, Mike Perkins and Robbie Salas rounded out the top five on the grid.
  On the start, Jones grabbed the lead through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 1. Coming around to complete the opening lap, though, Schaffer changed lanes and drove underneath the leader. Jones held a slight edge on lap 1, while Schaffer nosed ahead at the end of lap 2, clearing Jones on lap 3.
  On the fourth circuit, Jones got underneath Schaffer in Turn 1 and the two went side-by-side, banging together in Turn 4. Schaffer retained the top spot at the end of lap 4, but gave way to Jones in Turn 2 on lap 5.
  As Jones motored ahead, Wilson swooped in to take second from Schaffer. Perkins was next in line. Once he was past Schaffer, he set his sights on Wilson.
  On lap 6, Perkins and Wilson tangled on the backstretch, allowing Schaffer to regain second. Perkins suffered a flat right-rear tire in the exchange and ultimately spun to the infield off Turn 2 on lap 8 to bring out the only caution flag.
  Gathering for the restart, Dusty Connor gave up the third spot in line and pulled to the outside of Jones. He was joined up top by Wilson, who had fallen to sixth, and Derek Roberts.
  Back under green, Jones and Schaffer disposed of Connor, while Wilson snagged third. Kevin Morgan took over fourth, while Connor fell to fifth. Connor would rally, though, eventually grabbing fourth for good on lap 17.
  Over the closing circuits, Jones steadily widened his margin over Schaffer. At the finish, he was the winner by 1.658 seconds — about half a straightaway. Wilson was third, followed by Connor. After his early-race misfortune, Perkins clambered back into the picture near the end, coming home in fifth.

    In the evening’s first event, a 20-lap contest for the Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts, Vaughan Crittenden was awarded the win when Charlie-Ray Lorah was penalized for blocking off the final corner.
  Mattisen Morrill started on the pole, at 61.840 mph, and paced the first three laps before giving way to Lorah on lap 4. With Crittenden providing the drafting boost, he and Lorah had soon distanced themselves from the rest of the field, which was having a difficult time getting organized. At the halfway mark, the lead duo was up by half a straightaway.
  Lorah and Crittenden remained nose-to-tail until the final circuit when they ran up on a slower kart in Turn 4. Lorah started to the high side, only to have the slower kart drift wide, carrying him toward the outside wall. Spotting an opportunity, Crittenden broke ranks and drove to the inside.
  Running out of wiggle room in the outside lane, Lorah pulled to the left and chopped off Crittenden’s advance — a no-no in the HRKC rulebook.
  Though Lorah was first to the stripe, officials immediately signaled Crittenden as the winner. Lorah was bumped back to ninth — last on the lead lap.
  In the amended rundown, Crittenden was the winner over Tommy Jackson Jr. and Matthew Leach. Angela-Marie Steele was next, but declined the post-race tech inspection. Harry Leach was fourth in the official results. Like Steele, Cody Carlton also bypassed the post-race inspection, moving Cullen Roberts up to fifth.
                                • • •
  MEDIA CONTACT:        Gary Daughtrey
                        Home: (757) 657-6741
                        Track: (757) 865-7223
                        E-mail: daughtrey@langley-speedway.com

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
Safety-Kleen Night
Race Results
Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 50
2.  (4)  Jon Largena; 50
3.  (11) Jimmy Humblet; 50
4.  (6)  Evan Horne; 50
5.  (1)  Donnie Holston; 50
6.  (60) Bobby Gery; 50
7.  (20) Chris Humblet; 50
8.  (88) Jack Sharkey; 50
9.  (5)  Andrew Fortin; 50
10. (16) Eric McPherson; 50
11. (51) Tony Steele; 50
12. (95) Danny Harrell; 50
13. (87) Darrell Vance; 50
14. (37) Wayne Hartley; 45
15. (83) Scott Lawrence; 44
16. (33) Mark Slye; 37
17. (34) Donnie Medlin; 13
Pole: Balluzzo - 87.159 mph.

  Race #1:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (29) Mark Frye; 25
2.  (17) Brandon Hinson; 25
3.  (11) Tommy Sweeney; 25
4.  (28) Jamie Sample; 25
5.  (7)  Mark Claar; 25
6.  (6)  Shawn Scovel; 25
7.  (88) Thomas Marks; 25
8.  (2)  Michael Waters; 25
9.  (36) Andrew Condrey; 25
10. (19) Bubba Johnston; 25
11. (16) David Seed; 24
12. (5)  Jonathan White; 24
13. (22) Brian Waters; 23
14. (75) Jeff Driskill; 22
Pole: Frye - 80.126 mph.

  Race #2:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (29) Mark Frye; 25
2.  (6)  Shawn Scovel; 25
3.  (2)  Michael Waters; 25
4.  (19) Bubba Johnston; 25
5.  (7)  Mark Claar; 25
6.  (11) Tommy Sweeney; 25
7.  (28) Jamie Sample; 25
8.  (36) Andrew Condrey; 25
9.  (17) Brandon Hinson; 25
10. (88) Thomas Marks; 25
11. (5)  Jonathan White; 25
12. (75) Jeff Driskill; 25
13. (16) David Seed; 13
14. (22) Brian Waters; 7
Pole: Frye - via Race #1 finish.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (98) Landon Florian; 30
2.  (26) Bobby Hall; 30
3.  (44) Travis Wall; 30
4.  (94) Cody Carlton; 30
5.  (23) Casey Sipe; 30
6.  (03) Justin Fuller; 30
7.  (21) Dashe McLaughlin; 30
8.  (57) Ben Zoellner; 30
9.  (46) Nelson Moody; 30
10. (10) Maddy Mulligan; 30
11. (47) Angela-Marie Steele; 27
12. (4)  Debbie Biesecker; 17
13. (14) J.B. Sipe; 7
Pole: Carlton - top 6 qualifiers inverted.
Fast Qualifier: Florian - 84.367 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (5)  Jesse Jones IV; 25
2.  (3)  Eric Schaffer; 25
3.  (71) Tim Wilson; 25
4.  (14) Dusty Connor; 25
5.  (57) Mike Perkins; 25
6.  (11) Kevin Morgan; 25
7.  (51) Derek Roberts; 25
8.  (25) Robbie Salas; 25
9.  (7)  Ashton Mullett; 25
10. (10) John Matthews; 21
11. (8)  Dean Ballew; 7
Pole: Jones - top 2 qualifiers inverted.
Fast Qualifier: Schaffer - 74.186 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (24) Vaughan Crittenden; 20
2.  (8)  Tommy Jackson Jr.; 20
3.  (51) Matthew Leach; 20
4.  (73) Harry Leach; 20
5.  (27) Cullen Roberts; 20
6.  (14) Tillman Heuer; 20
7.  (39) Mattisen Morrill; 20
8.  (26) Robert Pellek; 20
9.  (59) Charlie-Ray Lorah; 20*
10. (28) Gary Osbourne; 19
11. (71) Shawn Gervais; 19
12. (25) Cody Espinoza; 19
13. (01) Jesse Call; 16
14. (52) Chris Bechtel; 16
15. (49) Brandon Lorah; 12
16. (47) Angela-Marie Steele; 20**
17. (94) Cody Carlton; 20**
Pole: Morrill - 61.840 mph.
* Penalized for blocking on last lap.
** Declined post-race tech inspection.

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