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Langley Speedway News
Greg Edwards notches 1st win of '06 in USG 75
May 14, 2006 - updated May 14th, 2006 9:13am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Langley Speedway
USG Night at the Races Race Report Saturday, May 13, 2006
Greg Edwards moved to the point on lap 52 and rolled to his first victory of the new season in the USG 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service/Sunoco Dealers Late Models, the main event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Langley Speedway.
Mark Wertz was quickest in afternoon time trials, touring the .395-mile oval at 86.109 mph, and started third after the post-qualifying inversion. Danny Edwards, Greg’s brother, lined up on the pole, sharing the front row with Casey Wyatt, the winner of the previous race. Wertz and Anthony Warren made up Row 2, while Greg Edwards and Shawn Balluzzo occupied Row 3.
As the event got under way, Danny Edwards immediately leaped into the lead and left an opening to the inside of Wyatt as the field roared into Turn 1 for the first time. Wertz stepped up to fill the gap and he and Wyatt went side-by-side until lap 3 when Wertz gained the upper hand. Greg Edwards tagged along and picked up the third spot.
Wertz quickly closed in on Danny Edwards and, by lap 11, the two were bumper-to-bumper. Behind the front four, Jeff Shiflett, who started seventh, Warren and Balluzzo had joined the lead pack.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 23 for Billy Fisher’s spin in Turn 4.
On the restart, Danny Edwards fashioned a two-length advantage. Wertz quickly made up the lost ground, however, and began looking for a way around the leader.
Wertz found the opening on lap 26. He darted to the inside of Danny Edwards at the entrance to Turn 3 and pulled ahead off the fourth corner. Five laps later, Greg Edwards scooted past Danny Edwards for second place. The exchange allowed Wertz to stretch his lead to six lengths.
Greg Edwards had cut Wertz’s six-length lead in half when the second caution flag waved, at lap 39, as Aaron Adams had problems in Turn 2. Setting the field for the restart, Wertz, Greg Edwards, Danny Edwards, Wyatt and Shiflett made up the top five.
Back under green, Wertz and Greg Edwards bolted in nose-to-tail formation. Exiting Turn 2, though, Wertz powered to a three-car-length advantage. Within five circuits, the lead duo had put nearly half a straightaway between themselves and third-place Danny Edwards, who was feeling heat from Wyatt.
The third yellow flag flew on lap 47 when Adams went around in Turn 2.
As the race resumed, Wertz established a three-length lead over Greg Edwards. Meanwhile, Danny Edwards and Wyatt continued their tussle with Wyatt finally nabbing third place on lap 48. Shiflett also bypassed Danny Edwards, dropping him to fifth in the running order.
At the front, Greg Edwards had reeled in Wertz and he launched a bid for the lead on lap 52, ducking to the inside in Turn 1. Coming back to the flagstand, Greg Edwards led by a nose, then cleared Wertz’s machine through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 53. Also on the 53rd circuit, Warren made his way past Danny Edwards for fifth.
Wyatt’s chances for back-to-back wins came to an end on lap 56 when he suddenly dropped off the pace on the backstretch and headed for the pits. He returned to complete a few more circuits, but eventually retired to a 16th-place finish.
At the head of the field, Greg Edwards enjoyed a four-length lead over Wertz, approaching slower traffic. Working smoothly past the lapped machines, Edwards was able to increase his edge.
The last of the race’s four caution flags was unfurled on lap 69, erasing Greg Edwards’ advantage and setting up a seven-lap sprint to the checkers. Lining up for the restart, Greg Edwards, Wertz, Shiflett, Warren and Balluzzo held the top five positions.
As the field exited Turn 4 to receive the final green flag, the rear of Wertz’s car skittered sideways, allowing Greg Edwards to open at two-car-length lead. It also allowed Shiflett an opportunity to go after the runner-up spot.
On lap 70, Shiflett pulled to the inside of Wertz in Turns 1 and 2. Wertz regained command a lap later, but Shiflett wasn’t through. He took another run at Wertz on lap 73, only to be rebuffed, before mustering one final effort on the white-flag lap.
With his potential challengers battling amongst themselves, Greg Edwards cruised to the finish, winning by 2.289 seconds. Wertz was second, nipping Shiflett by a couple feet at the line. Warren tailed the top three to the stripe, in fourth, and Danny Edwards edged ahead of Balluzzo on the last lap to take fifth.
J.J. Jensen was seventh, followed by Jeff Sampson, Bobby Dean and Dude Gibbs in eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. Fisher and Adams were 11th and 12th, the final drivers to complete the entire distance.
In Victory Lane after the race, Greg Edwards noted the lesson he learned from a second-place finish in the previous event: “I saved the car pretty good all night. Y’know, last week, I got beat with about 10 to go. I think I pushed it a little too hard, too early. So, this week, I rode back there behind Mark and Mark looked like he got loose and my car just came right to me at the end. It was just as good at the end as it was at the beginning. I feel like I had quite a bit left and we conserved tires good.”
While Shiflett’s stout performance may have shocked many, runner-up Wertz wasn’t one of them: “Nah, it’s not really a surprise. Jeff’s a good ol’ racer. He just started out on the dirt and a lot of people around here don’t know about him. But, he’s a good race car driver and he ran me pretty clean there.”
Third-place Shiflett was elated to post a podium finish: “That was wonderful. That was fun. Our car was real tight on the beginning of the restarts. Every time we had a restart, I worried ‘cause it pushed real bad and, then, it’d come in and I’d be great, but they’d be so far away from me, I had to catch ‘em. We’re tickled to death with third.”
In the evening’s other feature events:
In the 50-lap NTELOS Wireless Super Street feature, Ricky Derrick took the lead on the sixth circuit and sailed to the win, matching his victory in the April 29 Super 8 Motels/Dunkum’s Machine Shop Grand Stock race.
Tommy Sweeney set the fast time for Saturday’s event with a lap at 73.813 mph. He dialed up a “6” on the inversion wheel, though, and started on the outside of Row 3. Mike Ganoe and Sean Calway made up the front row, followed, in Row 2, by Ritchie German and Dale Parro. Derrick was fifth, sharing the third row with Sweeney.
On the start, Ganoe pulled into the lead, while German bypassed Calway for second. Derrick moved up to fourth, just ahead of a side-by-side duel between Sweeney and Parro.
German shadowed Ganoe until lap 3 when he ducked to the leader’s inside on the backstretch and grabbed the top spot through Turns 3 and 4. Derrick picked off Calway for third, also on lap 3, and took second place from Ganoe on lap 4.
With the leader in sight, Derrick wasted little time in going after the top spot. He drove under German in Turn 1 on lap 6 and gained the solid advantage in Turn 3, immediately opening a two-length lead.
Sweeney and Parro both passed Ganoe on lap 8, moving up to third and fourth, respectively. By lap 16, they were breathing down German’s neck for second place. Derrick, meanwhile, was up by nearly half a straightaway.
On lap 21, Sweeney snagged second from German. Parro followed a lap later to take over the third position. The shuffle allowed Derrick to widen his margin to a full straightaway.
The first caution flag waved on lap 33 for debris in Turn 3. Lining up for the restart, three lapped cars separated Derrick from second-place Sweeney.
Back under green, Derrick motored away as Sweeney worked past the slower machines. Within four laps, Derrick’s lead stood at half a straightaway.
Parro swiped second from Sweeney on lap 39, driving low off Turn 2 and clearing Sweeney into Turn 3 as Derrick’s advantage continued to grow.
The final caution flag flew on lap 47 as smoke erupted from Larry Venable’s car. Gathering for a four-lap dash, Derrick, Parro and Sweeney were nose-to-tail, ahead of a string of lapped cars.
The top three remained bumper-to-bumper as the green flag appeared for the final time. Exiting Turn 2, however, Derrick managed to pull to a two-length edge. Exiting Turn 4, Parro drifted wide and Sweeney shot to his inside in a bid for second.
Coming around to complete lap 48, Sweeney gained a slight advantage over Parro, then cleared him in Turn 4 as the white flag was displayed.
The tussle for second worked in Derrick’s favor as he strolled to a 1.378-second victory. Sweeney was second, followed by Parro, Ganoe and German.
Continuing his recent hot streak, Thomas Stinson led the final 44 circuits to win the 50-lapper for the Rolling Thunder Modified tour. The victory came on the heels of his double-header sweep at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., on May 6.
Stinson and John Thorpe led the charge in qualifying for the event, clocking in with identical laps of 84.673 mph. Setting the grid, Thorpe lined up on the pole with Stinson to his outside. Craig Oliver and Chris Hoylman occupied Row 2, followed, in Row 3, by T.J. Guthrie and Buster Horne.
On the opening lap, Thorpe and Stinson remained door-to-door with Thorpe holding a half-length edge at the flagstand. Thorpe gained the clear-cut advantage on the back straightaway on lap 2.
Switching from the outside lane to the inside, Stinson came after Thorpe on lap 6. He ducked low off Turn 4, drew even along the frontstretch and nabbed the lead off Turn 2 on lap 7. By the 11th circuit, he had opened a three-length advantage as Oliver closed in on Thorpe.
The first caution appeared on lap 11 for a multi-car pileup in Turn 2.
Back under green, Stinson forged a slim margin over Thorpe, then began to ease away. By lap 22, he was half a straightaway ahead.
The second caution flag waved on lap 25 for debris in Turn 3.
As the race resumed, Stinson, once more, steadily began to rebuild his advantage. When the third yellow flag flew on lap 40 for Ryan Wilbourne’s spin on the backstretch, Stinson was up by more than half a straightaway.
On the ensuing restart, Stinson bolted from the pack, which was stacking up behind Thorpe’s suddenly-ailing car. As the fourth, and final, caution flag came out, Thorpe crawled to a stop at the flagstand. After contending for the win, he ended up with a disappointing 14th-place finish.
As the field bunched for what would be the final restart, Stinson showed the way, followed by Oliver, Guthrie, Rusty Wood and Doug Paasch.
Under green for the last time, Oliver, the new second-place runner, was no match for Stinson, who won by 1.347 seconds. Oliver was second at the finish, while Guthrie, Wood and Paasch held onto their positions to round out the top five.
Jeremy Cook went from third place to first on the sixth circuit and led the rest of the way for his first win of the season in a 25-lap contest for the Cook’s Moving Service INEX Legends.
Rette Causey was fastest in time trials, at 78.153 mph, and started second after the inversion. Don McLaughlin started from the pole. Cameron Patrick and Kerry Gilbert lined up in Row 2, while Cook and Ryan Crites made up Row 3.
Causey took the lead at the beginning of the race, beating McLaughlin into Turn 1. McLaughlin didn’t give up the fight, though, motoring back under Causey at the end of the backstretch.
McLaughlin took the lead from Causey on lap 3 and brought Patrick along with him. Cook slipped past on lap 4 as Causey struggled to find an opening in the lower lane.
Before Causey could get settled in, however, he spun in Turn 4 on lap 4 to bring out the race’s only yellow flag. Setting the lineup, McLaughlin, Patrick, Cook, Crites and Gilbert made up the top five.
Back under green, the front three opened a slim margin over the rest of the field and Patrick began to hound McLaughlin for the lead.
On lap 6, McLaughlin and Patrick made contact between Turns 1 and 2. Both cars skated up the track, leaving an open lane for Cook, who passed them both and moved atop the leaderboard. Crites and Gilbert advanced to second and third, in that order.
While Cook cruised along at the head of the parade, a four-way dogfight was going on behind him as Crites, Gilbert, McLaughlin and Patrick jockeyed for position. It was of little concern to Cook, who held a comfortable advantage.
In fact, Cook was so comfortable that, exiting Turn 4 and heading for the checkers, he gave a wave to the fans. It only cost him a couple car-lengths of his healthy margin, though, as he won by 0.322-second over Patrick. Crites was third, followed by McLaughlin and Gilbert.
In the 25-lap E-Z Auto Rental UCAR feature, Randy Prillaman rolled to his second victory in as many races. He was quickest in time trials (69.366 mph), spun a “0” on the inversion wheel (which allowed him to keep the pole), then wired the field, leading all the way.
At the finish, Prillaman was the winner by 2.044 seconds over Jonathan Mullett, who claimed the Hard Charger Award after starting 10th. Randy Sample was third to the stripe, while Robbie Davis and Dave Butler completed the top five.
The race was slowed by only one caution flag, which appeared on the initial green-flag lap for a multi-car tangle in Turn 4.
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