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Langley Speedway News
Wyatt hangs on for 2nd Late Model victory
May 28, 2006 - updated May 28th, 2006 11:29am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA Race Report Saturday, May 27, 2006
Casey Wyatt moved out front on lap 29, then held off a furious late-race charge by Danny Edwards on the way to his second victory of the season in the Memorial Day 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service/Sunoco Dealers Late Models, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Langley Speedway.
Greg Edwards was quickest during the afternoon qualifying session, touring the .395-mile oval at 85.508 mph. An inversion of the top seven qualifiers left him on the inside of Row 4, however, and landed Jeff Sampson on the pole. Paul DeBolt lined up alongside Sampson, while Wyatt and Jeff Shiflett made up Row 2. Shawn Balluzzo and Danny Edwards occupied Row 3.
As the race got under way, Sampson and DeBolt remained side-by-side. At the end of the first circuit, Sampson was up by only half a car-length. On lap 2, though, he gained the clear-cut advantage in Turns 1 and 2. Caught on the outside, DeBolt gave way to Wyatt, Shiflett and Balluzzo, falling to fifth place before finding a place in line.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 4 when Mark Wertz spun in Turn 4.
Back under green, Sampson, atop the leaderboard for the first time this year, opened a two-length edge over Wyatt. Behind them, DeBolt was under attack from the Edwards brothers. Danny slipped by him for fifth on lap 5, while Greg kicked him back to seventh on lap 11.
The second yellow flag flew on lap 12. The third yellow quickly followed as, on the ensuing restart, DeBolt ground to a halt in Turn 3, his night having come to a premature end.
As the race resumed, Sampson was able to fashion a slight advantage over Wyatt, who had a mirror-full of Shiflett. After a short while, Wyatt separated himself from Shiflett and zeroed in on the leader.
Wyatt took a quick peek to the inside of Sampson in Turn 4 on lap 27, then dropped back in line. The next time around, though, he launched a strong bid for the lead, poking a fender alongside Sampson off the fourth corner. He drew even down the frontstretch and pulled ahead on the back straightaway on lap 29. Within a lap, he had driven away by three car-lengths.
The fourth caution flag came out on lap 33. Lining up for the restart, Wyatt, Sampson, Shiflett, Balluzzo and Danny Edwards made up the top five.
On the restart, Wyatt leaped out to a three-length edge, while Shiflett moved in to challenge Sampson for the runner-up spot. Behind them, Danny Edwards hounded Balluzzo for fourth place.
Danny Edwards grabbed the fourth spot from Balluzzo on lap 39, bringing Greg Edwards along with him and dropping Balluzzo to sixth. At the same time, Shiflett scooted past Sampson for second place. With positions changing hands in wholesale fashion in his mirror, Wyatt stretched his lead to half a straightaway.
Danny Edwards slipped past Sampson on lap 44, picking up third place and setting out after Shiflett. In the meantime, Wyatt’s lead had stabilized at about half a straightaway.
Wyatt’s healthy margin vanished on lap 52, though, as the fifth caution flag waved, bunching the field.
Back under green, Wyatt forged a two-length lead as Danny Edwards closed in on second-place Shiflett. On lap 54, Edwards ducked under Shiflett in Turn 4. He nosed ahead at the end of lap 55 and cleared Shiflett’s machine on lap 56. Behind that battle, Greg Edwards and Mark Wertz bypassed Sampson and moved into fourth and fifth, respectively.
Danny Edwards had closed to within a car-length of Wyatt when the sixth caution flag was displayed, at lap 67. Setting the lineup, Wyatt, Danny Edwards, Shiflett, Greg Edwards and Wertz held the front five positions.
As the green flag reappeared, Wyatt managed a one-length lead over Danny Edwards, while Greg Edwards took a look to the inside of Shiflett. By lap 70, the lead duo was four lengths ahead of third place.
On lap 74, Danny Edwards went after Wyatt for the lead, driving under him in Turn 4. The two were side-by-side for all of lap 75 with Edwards crossing the stripe half a car-length ahead.
Instead of the checkered flag, however, Danny Edwards was greeted by the seventh yellow flag, which was prompted by a single-car spin in Turn 2. Scoring reverted to lap 74 and Wyatt reclaimed the lead. To provide a “green-white-checkered” finish, the event was extended from 75 to 76 laps.
On the restart, Wyatt grabbed a one-length lead over Danny Edwards. Deeper in the pack, Wertz darted by Greg Edwards for fourth place. Before lap 75 could be completed, though, the final yellow flag flew, wiping out Wertz’s pass and bunching the field for one last dash.
Under green for the final time, Greg Edwards took another run at Shiflett, while Wyatt pulled away from Danny Edwards by a car-length.
By the finish, Wyatt had stretched his winning margin to a little better than a car-length, 0.305-second, to be exact. Danny Edwards was second and Shiflett fought off Greg Edwards to hang onto third. Wertz complete the top five.
Sampson was sixth, followed by J.J. Jensen, Balluzzo, Billy Fisher and Bobby Dean. Robbie Babb was 11th, the final driver to complete the entire distance.
In Victory Lane after the event, Wyatt was counting his blessings for the late yellows: “The car was really good on the short runs. Danny’s car was killing me on the long runs. If that race would’ve ended when that caution came out, it would’ve been Danny’s race, for sure. But, the cards didn’t lay that way and it didn’t play out that way. Luckily, we got a couple cautions there at the end and, like I said, my car was awesome on restarts and we just could eat them boys up for the first couple laps, so I was kinda glad to see those last couple cautions there at the end.”
Runner-up Danny Edwards, meanwhile, was still scratching his head over the end of the event: “I guess they changed the rule this year. We took the lead there when we came back to the finish, but, of course, they called it back. But, hey, that’s the way it is. I guess we didn’t get that memo.”
While he was encouraged by his second third-place finish of the year, Shiflett also made note of a specific area for improvement: “I just didn’t have no tires left. If I could keep some tires under it, they’ll be in trouble.”
In the evening’s other feature events:
Tommy Sweeney scored his first win of the season in the 50-lap NTELOS Wireless Super Street race. He assumed the lead on lap 39 and showed the way to the finish.
Ricky Derrick was the fast qualifier, at 74.217 mph, and kept the pole when a “0” came up on the inversion wheel. Sweeney was second-quickest and lined up to Derrick’s outside.
The race got off to an inauspicious beginning as Dale Parro and Jessica Wood spun into the outside wall in Turn 3 on the initial circuit. The incident sidelined Wood, while Parro rejoined the rear of the field after a visit to the pits.
On the second attempt at a start, Derrick took the lead in Turns 1 and 2, while Sweeney dropped into second. The event was interrupted by yellow flags on laps 5 and 9.
Back under way, the field settled in for an extended green-flag run, which lasted until lap 30. By that point, Derrick had pulled away by a full straightaway over Sweeney, who encountered some difficulty with slower traffic. Parro, meanwhile, had sliced his way up to the third spot.
The fifth caution flag flew on the ensuing restart as fifth-place Mike Ganoe experienced terminal engine problems, laying down fluid along the backstretch before spinning in Turn 3.
As the race resumed, Derrick opened a three-length lead as Sweeney dealt with a slower car. Once free of traffic, however, Sweeney began to close in on the leader.
The sixth and final caution flag came out on lap 39 when Derrick suddenly fell off the pace and slowed to a stop in Turn 2. It marked the second time in three races that mechanical problems had forced Derrick to the sidelines while leading.
On the last restart, Sweeney, the new leader, forged a one-length lead over Parro. Parro closed in and took a look to the leader’s inside out of Turn 2 on lap 43. Sweeney fended him off, though.
Coming around to complete lap 49, Sweeney’s progress was briefly stymied by a lapped machine, allowing Parro to close ground again. Exiting Turn 4, though, the slower machine moved low. Sweeney swept past on the outside, while Parro dropped back in line.
At the finish, Sweeney was the winner by 0.334-second over Parro. Ritchie German was third, more than 2.5 seconds back. Dennis Nowak was fourth to the stripe, but lost that position when the post-race inspection turned up an unapproved carburetor. J.T. Brown and Sean Calway were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the amended finishing order.
Cameron Patrick took the lead for good on the 21st circuit and held on for his first win in a 25-lapper for the Cook’s Moving Service INEX Legends.
Patrick set the fast time in qualifying, at 78.620 mph, and started fourth after the inversion. Jeremy Cook moved up to the pole, sharing Row 1 with Ryan Crites. Don McLaughlin and Patrick made up Row 2. Overall, less than a second separated the entire 16-car field.
Cook took the lead at the start of the event. Crites was second at the end of lap 1, but spun in Turn 2 on the second circuit, prompting the first caution flag. He dropped to the back of the pack for the restart.
Back under way, Cook briefly battled McLaughlin for the lead. On lap 3, Patrick slipped past McLaughlin for second place and closed in on the leader.
Patrick took the lead for the first time on lap 6 and brought McLaughlin and Kerry Gilbert along with him, knocking Cook back to fourth.
Patrick’s first stay at the head of the field ended on lap 12 when McLaughlin scooted past in Turns 3 and 4. Gilbert tagged along to take over second place.
The second caution flag waved on lap 13.
McLaughlin held continued to hold sway through lap 20. In the meantime, Patrick, Cook and Rette Causey all got past Gilbert and set their sights on the leader.
Coming off Turn 4 on lap 20, Patrick ducked to the inside of McLaughlin in a bid for the top spot. He completed the pass for the lead in Turn 1 on lap 21, bringing Cook along and into second place.
The third and final caution flag flew on what would have been the last lap as fourth-place Causey spun between Turns 1 and 2. That incident set the stage for a one-lap sprint to the finish.
On the final circuit, Patrick and Cook made contact in Turns 3 and 4 and Cook poked a fender alongside the leader. At the line, though, Patrick hung on to win by 0.062-second — about half a length. Cook was the runner-up, followed by McLaughlin, Gilbert and Crites, who rebounded from his earlier mishap to take fifth.
Jill Brinson maintained her perfect record in the 20-lap BBFlabradors.com Wolf Truck feature, winning for the third time in three events.
Brinson was fastest in time trials, clocking in at 74.874 mph. After an inversion of the top two qualifiers, she started on the outside of Row 1, next to Late Model regular Jeff Sampson.
Sampson took the lead on the start and Rob Hughes moved up to second, dropping Brinson to third. Having led the season’s first two races from flag-to-flag, it was something of an unfamiliar position for her.
Brinson regained the second spot on lap 4, bypassing Hughes in Turn 2. Sampson, meanwhile, opened his lead to three lengths.
On lap 8, Sampson suddenly slowed on the backstretch, smoke trailing from behind his truck as the caution flag appeared. Brinson assumed the lead for the restart.
Back under green, Brinson fashioned a lead of a little better than two lengths over Hughes. That advantage vanished, however, when the final yellow flag came out on lap 15.
On the last restart, Brinson bolted away from the pack, pulling off to lead by nearly half a straightaway. Hughes whittled several truck-lengths from her advantage over the closing laps, but it wasn’t nearly enough as Brinson won by 0.606-second.
Hughes was the runner-up, followed by Eric Schaffer and Brad Perron. Sampson was credited with fifth place.
Casey Sipe started on the pole, at 77.973 mph, and led all 25 circuits to win the evening’s opening event for the Pro 6 Series. Veteran Langley competitor Bill Mullis, making his debut in a Pro 6 machine, was the runner-up, six lengths back at the finish. J.B. Sipe was third, followed by D.J. Watson and Alan Purser.
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