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Hampton Heat Night Race Report Saturday, July 25, 2015
Jul 26, 2015 - updated Jul 26th, 2015 5:40pm
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey

Hampton, Va. --

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
Hampton Heat Night
Race Report
Saturday, July 25, 2015

  HAMPTON, Va. (July 25) — Two-time national champ Lee Pulliam took the lead for good on lap 181 and motored to a $10,000+ victory in the Eighth Annual Hampton Heat 200 for the ComServe/Verizon Wireless Late Model Stock Cars, the headlining event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
  Pulliam set the pace in late afternoon time trials, nabbing the pole position with a lap at 91.559 mph. Tyler Hughes was second-quickest, only 9-thousandths of a second off Pulliam’s standard. Matt Waltz, Tyler Ankrum and C.E. Falk rounded out the top five on the 30-car grid. The session was ultra-competitive with just over six-tenths of a second separating the fastest and slowest.
  As the race got under way, Hughes stayed on Pulliam’s flank and inched ahead to lead the opening lap by half a car-length, gaining the clear-cut edge on lap 2. Pulliam settled into second, followed by Waltz, Falk and Greg Edwards. By the fifth circuit, the front five had put some distance between themselves and sixth-place Ankrum.
  On lap 7, Pulliam closed in on Hughes, looking to regain the top spot. He drove underneath Hughes on the backstretch on lap 8 and took the lead as they exited Turn 4. Waltz tagged along and grabbed second, while Falk and Edwards moved up to third and fourth, dropping Hughes to fifth.
  The first of many caution flags flew on lap 14 for Kenny Forbes’ spin off Turn 2.
  Gathering for a restart, the top five remained single-file. Ankrum was the first driver to break out of line and head for the outside lane. He was joined up top by 11 other drivers, including Danny Edwards Jr., Todd Gilliland and Tommy Lemons Jr.
  Back under green, to begin lap 20, Pulliam quickly dispensed with Ankrum, leaving him to tussle with Waltz for second. Waltz won that battle and set off after the leader, who was two lengths ahead. Another three car-lengths separated the two leaders from Falk and Greg Edwards, who jousted for third.
  On lap 31, Edwards slipped underneath Falk on the backstretch and swiped third place as they sped through Turns 3 and 4. Behind them, Nick Smith, the winner of the inaugural Hampton Heat 200, bypassed Ankrum to take over fifth. Mark Wertz and Hughes came along with Smith as Ankrum slipped back to eighth.
  At the front, Waltz had closed up on Pulliam’s rear bumper. He launched a bid for the lead on lap 35, driving under Pulliam off Turn 2. Before he could officially complete the pass, however, the second yellow flag waved for Ankrum’s spin in Turn 2.
  Bunching for the ensuing restart, eighth-place Gilliland was the first to step out of line, pulling to the outside of Pulliam. Casey Wyatt, Brenden “Butterbean” Queen and Lemons were among the 10 other drivers who followed Gilliland’s cue.
  Returning to green, Pulliam appeared to have cleared Gilliland as they entered Turn 1. Through the first and second corners, however, Gilliland powered to the outside of Pulliam and nosed ahead by half a car-length at the flagstand.
  The third caution flag appeared on lap 47 when Danny Edwards Jr. spun in Turn 2, triggering a multi-car fracas as drivers ducked and dodged to miss him. Terry Carroll and Natalie Decker got the worst of the damage as they tangled on the backstretch with Decker momentarily going airborne as she vaulted over Carroll’s fender. The red flag was brought out as clean-up activities commenced. The incident sidelined Edwards Jr., Carroll and Decker and also chased 2012 event winner Matt Bowling to the pits for an extended visit.
  The green flag was slated to reappear to begin lap 57. As the field made its way down the backstretch, though, Gilliland suddenly pulled up lame and the restart was waved off. Gilliland headed to the pits where his crew replaced a flat right-front tire. He rejoined the fray, but at the tail of the lineup. Gilliland’s misfortune handed the lead back to Pulliam, who had Waltz on his outside flank.
  As the race resumed, Waltz remained even with Pulliam through Turns 1 and 2, then shot into the lead on the backstretch. That marked the third time that someone had used the outside groove to get the jump on Pulliam and don’t think he wasn’t making mental notes.
  While Waltz began to ease away from the pack, positions changed in wholesale fashion in his mirror. Queen moved up to second, followed by Wyatt, Greg Edwards, Falk, Smith and Lemons, kicking Pulliam all the way back to eighth. The shuffle continued as Edwards and Falk tag-teamed Wyatt to take over third and fourth on lap 63. Two laps later, Smith moved past Wyatt for fifth. Wyatt also gave way to Lemons and Pulliam, falling back to eighth. Pulliam grabbed sixth from Lemons on lap 74.
  The fourth, fifth and sixth caution flags appeared in rapid succession on laps 75, 81 and 88. Amidst the flurry of yellow, Queen managed to sneak ahead of Waltz on a restart to lead lap 87.
  Back under green, to begin lap 95, Waltz and Queen went door-to-door until they reached Turn 4. Exiting the corner, Waltz regained command, while Greg Edwards slipped underneath Queen.
  Queen cleared Edwards on lap 98 and left the lane open for Falk, who scooted into third place on lap 99. Pulliam tagged along with Falk and grabbed fourth.
  After the entire field had taken the crossed flags, the seventh yellow flag was thrown on lap 101 to signal the halfway break. Following a couple of cooldown circuits, the pace truck led the procession down the pit lane on lap 103.
  At the break, Waltz, Queen, Falk, Pulliam and Edwards made up the top five. There were 24 drivers still on the lead lap, although two of them — Garrett Campbell and Kenny Forbes — were unable to answer the bell for the second segment.
  Lining up for the next green flag, to begin lap 104, Pulliam opted for the outside lane, pulling alongside Waltz. Smith, the sixth-place runner, also went to the high side, joined by Brayton Haws, Juan Garcia, Michael Hardin, Connor Hall, Ankrum and G.R. Waldrop.
  Back under way, Pulliam finally got to enjoy the advantages of an outside starting spot as he edged ahead of Waltz on the backstretch. Entering Turn 3, Queen poked a fender underneath Waltz, briefly making it three-wide. As Pulliam pulled out front, Waltz and Queen tangled in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 and Waltz went around. Amazingly, except for a rumpled fender or two, the field emerged fairly unscathed.
  Preparing for another try at a restart, officials reverted to the lineup at lap 103 and Queen and Falk were placed in first and second, respectively, followed by Pulliam, Edwards and Smith. Again, Pulliam headed for the outside lane.
  On the restart, to begin lap 114, Queen and Pulliam went side-by-side with Pulliam eking out a slim lead at the flagstand. He cleared Queen in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 115 and quickly opened a four-length lead as Queen slipped into the clutches of Falk and Edwards.
  Falk bypassed Queen for second on lap 119. A lap later, Edwards followed suit and took over third. The exchange allowed Pulliam to pad his lead to half a straightaway.
  With the leader beginning to disappear into the distance, Edwards decided it was time to go and rooted Falk aside in Turn 1 on lap 122, taking over second place.
  The field was bunched when the ninth caution flag flew on lap 127. It marked the beginning of another round of “yellow fever” as more caution flags followed on laps 138, 144, 159 and 166. On each of the restarts, Pulliam was able to hold Edwards at bay and retain the lead.
  With the laps beginning to dwindle down, Edwards mounted a final charge to the front. After hounding Pulliam for four circuits, Edwards muscled his way underneath the leader in Turn 3 on lap 180 and grabbed the top spot at the stripe. Edwards’ stay atop the leaderboard was short-lived, though, as Pulliam rooted him up the track in Turns 3 and 4 on lap 181 and powered ahead.
  After enjoying a front-row seat for the Pulliam/Edwards battle, Falk poked his nose into the scuffle as lap 182 began, momentarily creating a three-wide situation at the entrance to Turn 1. Pulliam emerged from the scrum with the lead, while Falk moved up to second and Edwards dropped to third. Meanwhile, behind the three leaders, Waltz had crept back into contention and was up to fourth.
  On lap 186, Edwards regained the second spot from Falk, forcing his way past through Turns 1 and 2. Waltz was right on Edwards’ heels and swiped third from Falk on lap 187. Three laps later, Waltz went after Edwards for second, scooting past on the backstretch on lap 191.
  While Waltz, Edwards and Falk jostled in his wake, Pulliam stretched his lead to better than half a straightaway. Seemingly, the only thing that could derail his cruise to the winner’s circle would be one final caution flag.
  That yellow flag waved on lap 194 when Falk tried to reclaim third from Edwards and, instead, spun in Turn 2 to bunch the field and set up a sprint to the finish.
  Once more, Pulliam banked on the outside lane for the restart, leaving the inside groove for Waltz. Ankrum, Queen, Waldrop and Hardin lined up behind Pulliam on the outside.
  Under green for the final time, to begin lap 197, Pulliam leaped ahead of Waltz and hauled the field toward Turn 1. Waltz tried to rally, drawing to within a car-length of the leader’s rear bumper on lap 198. That was as close as he would get, however, as Pulliam eased away over the last two laps.
  At the checkers, Pulliam was the winner by 0.574-second — about three lengths — over Waltz. Edwards was third, while Ankrum and Smith completed the top five.
  Lemons headed up the second five, in sixth, followed by Collin Cabre, Queen, Waldrop and Hardin. Garcia, Chris Johnson, Eddie Johnson and Craig Eastep were 11th through 14th, in that order, the final drivers to finish all 200 circuits.
  After a few celebratory doughnuts on the front straightaway, Pulliam pulled into Victory Lane and explained his decision to stick with the outside groove: “I gave it all I had on the bottom at the beginning of the race and it just wasn’t working for me and I got pushed back to, like, ninth. I seen that it won’t working and, when I got back up front, I said, ‘Man, I just gotta try this outside line and see what happens. There was a lot of contact, a lot of hard racing. Three-wide for the lead. I hope that put on a show for the fans ‘cause I was giving everything I had.”
  Noting the late tussle with Edwards, Pulliam continued, “Greg was trying to do what he had to do and he knocked me up the track pretty good to take the lead, so, when I got back behind him, I just returned the favor and knocked him up the track and Falk made it three-wide and it was just ‘Stand on the gas’ for a little while.”
  Offered congratulations on his journey back toward the front of the field, second-place Waltz was having none of it, pointing an accusatory finger squarely at Queen: “I wouldn’t have to come back if the 03 didn’t wreck me. Lap 1, after I’m obviously under somebody, why are you gonna drive in underneath me, taking it three-wide? That’s the stupidest move I think I’ve ever seen, besides the one he did on Greg down here (hearkening back to an incident from a few weeks ago).”
  Calming down just a tad, Waltz commented on his runner-up effort. The mood shift didn’t last long, though. “Yeah, it felt real good. We had a real good race car. Just sucks we had to wear my stuff out a little bit, trying to get all the way back to the front ‘cause I got wrecked by somebody that can’t even drive.”
  Following his third-place run, Edwards gave his view of the closing circuits, including the battle with Pulliam: “I kinda just rode there and kept the inside for the whole time. I was just trying to be patient and everybody kinda runs out of patience later in the race and starts beatin’ and bangin’. At one time, I thought my car was a little better through the corner than Lee and I made a run on him, bumped him and he paid me back. I mean, it was good, hard racing. No problem. But, he definitely had a better car than I did. Matt had a good car. I don’t know exactly what happened to him. It’s just how these races play out. You take the bottom, you take the top. Ended up with P3. That’s OK.”
  While he makes only infrequent starts at Langley, Ankrum has enjoyed success at the Hampton speedplant and he maintained that record by rallying for a fourth-place result: “Every time we come here, it seems like deja vu, just come from the back to go to the front. We kinda struggled the first hundred laps there with our car. It was a little snug through the center and we came in at the halfway break and dialed her in and made a strong run to the front. The last restart, I got to the outside and I just slid around and overdrove my corner. I ended up finishing fourth, so it’s a good night and I’m pretty proud of myself for coming from two laps down.”
  After a rugged first half of the 2015 season, Smith was encouraged by his fifth-place outing: “I’m really proud, man. I mean, I’ve been struggling the past couple months, really all year, and to bring the Bob-mobile back into a top-five finish is a big highlight for us to get some momentum going. We didn’t have the fastest car, like I said, but I thought we could fight and move forward and we did. We had, at the end there, there were some times we were fourth and we could keep up, but we had a fifth-place car, probably, overall, at best. So, pretty happy with it and it was a good, solid race.”
  A review of the final race statistics showed 11 lead changes among six drivers, while the 14 caution flags consumed 92 laps.
  Following Saturday’s grueling 200, the Late Models will have a couple weeks off. They’ll be back in action on Saturday, Aug. 15, in the Reinhart Foodservice 100.

  In the evening’s other feature events:

  Tommy Sweeney moved out front on lap 18 and held on for his fourth straight win in the 40-lap Pepsi Grand Stock race, which ran caution-free.
  Brandon Hinson started on the pole, at 80.303 mph, and grabbed the lead on the opening circuit. Meanwhile, Sweeney started third and advanced to second on lap 1.
  Hinson established a four-length advantage in the early going. Sweeney whittled away at the margin, though, pulling nose-to-tail with the leader on lap 16.
  On lap 17, Sweeney ducked underneath Hinson in Turn 2. The two went door-to-door for nearly a full lap before Sweeney surged ahead. Mark Frye and Jamie Sample tagged along with Sweeney, taking over second and third.
  On lap 19, Sample slipped past Frye. Four laps later, though, Frye reclaimed second. All the while, Sweeney was fashioning a healthy, four-length advantage.
  Entering the final 10 laps, Frye had trimmed a bit from Sweeney’s edge. A lapped machine stymied his progress on lap 31, though, and he had to rally again.
  Frye pulled up on the leader’s rear bumper on lap 35, but he couldn’t rattle Sweeney, who clung to the top spot, and manufactured a two-length advantage on lap 39.
  Frye attempted one final charge on the white-flag circuit, but came up a car-length short as Sweeney won by 0.252-second. Sample was third, followed by Thomas Marks and Hinson.

  In a caution-free 30-lapper for the KeesVacations.com Pro Sixes, Landon Florian started on the pole, at 85.818 mph, and strolled to his third win of the season, leading flag-to-flag.
  While Florian was enjoying a leisurely cruise to Victory Lane, attention was focused on a spirited, three-way battle for second, involving Travis Wall, Bobby Hall and Cody Carlton. Each driver had a turn in the runner-up position with Wall eventually taking the spot for good on lap 21.
  At the finish, Florian was the winner by 2.679 seconds — nearly a full straightaway — over Wall. Hall was third to the line, followed by Carlton. Justin Fuller bypassed J.B. Sipe in the closing laps to take fifth.

  Tim Wilson started on the pole, at 74.470 mph, and wired the field to post his second victory in the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR feature. Like the Grand Stock and Pro Six events, the UCAR race was also caution-free.
  Wilson grabbed the lead at the beginning of the event, motoring ahead of outside pole-sitter Eric Schaffer. By the halfway mark, his advantage had grown to nearly half a straightaway.
  While Schaffer jousted with Earl Sawyer for the runner-up spot, Wilson maintained his half-straightaway edge all the way to the checkers, winning by 2.219 seconds. Schaffer was second, followed by Sawyer and Dusty Connor. Jesse Jones IV started shotgun on the 10-car grid and nipped Mike Perkins for fifth.

  In the evening’s opening race, a 20-lapper for the Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts, Aaron Leach led from pole to checkers for his third win of the year.
  Leach found an able drafting partner in the early going in the form of Vaughan Crittenden. Working in tandem, the two quickly separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
  A caution flag on lap 9 bunched the field. Back under green, though, Leach and Crittenden were able to pull away as the second drafting pack had trouble getting itself organized. By lap 18, the top two were up by almost half a straightaway.
  Over the final couple of laps, Crittenden never stepped out of line, pushing Leach along to the finish. They were nose-to-tail at the stripe. Brothers Charlie-Ray and Brandon Lorah were third and fourth to the line, respectively, while Cody Carlton came home in fifth.
  Following the race, it was announced that the results were being held up, pending a more in-depth inspection by HRKC officials.
                                • • •
  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
Hampton Heat Night
Race Results
Saturday, July 25, 2015

 ++ Hampton Heat 200 ++
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (5)  Lee Pulliam; 200
2.  (2)  Matt Waltz; 200
3.  (97) Greg Edwards; 200
4.  (58) Tyler Ankrum; 200
5.  (10) Nick Smith; 200
6.  (27) Tommy Lemons Jr.; 200
7.  (6)  Collin Cabre; 200
8.  (03) Brenden Queen; 200
9.  (01) G.R. Waldrop; 200
10. (7)  Michael Hardin; 200
11. (11) Juan Garcia; 200
12. (36) Chris Johnson; 200
13. (57) Eddie Johnson; 200
14. (25) Craig Eastep; 200
15. (41) Brayton Haws; 199
16. (40) C.E. Falk; 199
17. (92) Casey Wyatt; 188
18. (98) Todd Gilliland; 169
19. (83) Matt Bowling; 159
20. (91) Justin Carroll; 158
21. (77) Connor Hall; 143
22. (55) Mark Wertz; 134
23. (33) Macy Causey; 123
24. (12) Austin Thaxton; 119
25. (12x)Garrett Campbell; 103
26. (33x)Kenny Forbes; 103
27. (8)  Tyler Hughes; 66
28. (26) Danny Edwards Jr.; 46
29. (90) Terry Carroll; 46
30. (4)  Natalie Decker; 46
Pole: Pulliam - 91.559 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (11) Tommy Sweeney; 40
2.  (29) Mark Frye; 40
3.  (28) Jamie Sample; 40
4.  (88) Thomas Marks; 40
5.  (17) Brandon Hinson; 40
6.  (36) Andrew Condrey; 40
7.  (6)  Shawn Scovel; 40
8.  (2)  Michael Waters; 40
9.  (5)  Jonathan White; 39
10. (75) Jeff Driskill; 38
11. (9)  Rodney Boyd; 12
Pole: Hinson - 80.303 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (98) Landon Florian; 30
2.  (44) Travis Wall; 30
3.  (26) Bobby Hall; 30
4.  (94) Cody Carlton; 30
5.  (03) Justin Fuller; 30
6.  (14) J.B. Sipe; 30
7.  (10) Maddy Mulligan; 29
8.  (57) Ben Zoellner; 29
9.  (21) Dashe McLaughlin; 28
10. (47) Angela-Marie Steele; 28
11. (4)  Debbie Biesecker; 23
Pole: Florian - 85.818 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (71) Tim Wilson; 25
2.  (3)  Eric Schaffer; 25
3.  (03) Earl Sawyer; 25
4.  (14) Dusty Connor; 25
5.  (5)  Jesse Jones IV; 25
6.  (57) Mike Perkins; 25
7.  (7)  Ashten Mullett; 25
8.  (51) Derek Roberts; 25
9.  (28) Tommy Gildea; 22
10. (27) Keith Wheeler; 5
Pole: Wilson - 74.470 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Krt #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1.  (45) Aaron Leach; 20
2.  (24) Vaughan Crittenden; 20
3.  (59) Charlie-Ray Lorah; 20
4.  (69) Brandon Lorah; 20
5.  (94) Cody Carlton; 20
6.  (14) Tillman Heuer; 20
7.  (39) Mattisen Morrill; 20
8.  (73) Harry Leach; 20
9.  (51) Matthew Leach; 20
10. (71) Shawn Gervais; 20
11. (63) John Savage; 20
12. (27) Cullen Roberts; 20
13. (47) Matt Dail; 20
14. (26) Robert Pellek; 20
15. (25) Cody Espinoza; 20
16. (01) Mike Weddell; 20
17. (08) Jim Grady Jr.; 20
18. (41) Brian McGhee; 20
19. (04) Teddy Burris; 20
20. (52) Chris Bechtel; 20
21. (28) Gary Osbourne; 5
22. (23) Bradley Gawer; 5
Pole: A. Leach - 61.996 mph.
*Results are unofficial.

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