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Langley Speedway News
Wyatt posts 3rd win in Craftsman 75 Late Model feature
Jun 11, 2006 - updated Jun 11th, 2006 11:29am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Langley Speedway
Craftsman Night Race Report Saturday, June 10, 2006
Casey Wyatt rolled to his division-leading third victory of the season in the Craftsman 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. He took the lead on lap 67 and paced the final nine circuits.
Wyatt began his day on a positive note, showing the way in afternoon time trials with a lap at 86.088 mph. After the post-qualifying inversion, he started third. Anthony Warren, looking to halt a recent slide, moved up to the pole position with points leader Greg Edwards alongside. Mark Wertz shared Row 2 with Wyatt, while Paul DeBolt and Danny Edwards made up Row 3.
As the race got under way, the outside line was on the move with Greg Edwards jumping out front. Wertz advanced to second place, dropping Warren to third. Wyatt emerged from the opening shuffle in fourth, followed by Danny Edwards.
On lap 3, Wyatt slipped around Warren to gain the third spot. Pulling away from Warren, he set sail after the lead duo, who had opened a four-length margin on the field.
The leaders ran up on heavy traffic for the first time on the 22nd circuit. With Greg Edwards at the head of the parade, they quickly dispensed with the slower cars. The slight delay, however, allowed Wyatt to close up on Wertz’s bumper, placing him solidly in the hunt.
The first yellow flag flew on lap 29 when Dude Gibbs and Ron Blackburn spun in Turn 4. Fourth-place Warren spun to avoid the incident and was allowed to return to his position for the ensuing restart.
Back under green, Greg Edwards and Wertz broke away in nose-to-tail formation with Wyatt a couple lengths behind. Wertz remained on Edwards’ rear deck until lap 32 when Edwards opened a two-length edge off Turn 2.
Passing the race’s midway point, Greg Edwards had stretched his advantage to better than three lengths over Wertz, who was beginning to feel pressure from Wyatt.
On lap 43, Wyatt drove under Wertz in Turn 4. With a lapped machine looming in his path, Wyatt quickly pulled ahead of Wertz, taking over the runner-up spot on lap 44. The exchange allowed Greg Edwards to pad his lead to five car-lengths.
With the leader carefully threading his way past slower cars, Wyatt was able to chop into the lead. By lap 56, he had narrowed the gap to a single car-length.
The second, and final, caution flag appeared on lap 61 for Bobby Dean’s spin in Turn 4. As the field gathered for the restart, Greg Edwards was the leader, tailed by Wyatt. Gibbs’ lapped car separated the lead duo from third-place Wertz. Warren and Danny Edwards were fourth and fifth, in that order.
As the race resumed, Greg Edwards and Wyatt, using the Gibbs machine as a buffer, broke away from the pack. Quickly, Greg Edwards fashioned a two-car-length margin over Wyatt.
That edge didn’t last long, though, as Wyatt zeroed in on the top spot. By lap 63, the two were bumper-to-bumper and Wyatt began hounding Greg Edwards, looking for an opening.
On lap 67, Wyatt pulled the trigger, driving to the outside of Greg Edwards through Turns 1 and 2. Returning to the start/finish line, Wyatt was ahead by half a car-length. He cleared Edwards off Turn 2 on lap 68 and began to motor away. Within a couple laps, his lead stood at three lengths.
By the finish, Wyatt’s winning margin had swelled to 0.917-second — about five lengths — over Greg Edwards. Wertz was third to the stripe, while Warren and Danny Edwards completed the top five.
DeBolt was sixth at the end, followed by J.J. Jensen, Jeff Shiflett, Shawn Balluzzo and Nick Smith. Jeff Sampson, Mitch Sarvis and Dean were 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively, the final drivers to complete the entire distance.
In Victory Lane following the race, Wyatt commented on his winning strategy: “I was saving my tires. I was saving the car the whole race. I know I could’ve passed at any time, but just waiting for the right time. Mark’s car started giving up, so I took advantage of it. Then, Greg’s car starting giving up, so I took advantage of that. It really goes back to the crew and my dad and everybody that works in the shop all week.”
Runner-up Greg Edwards remarked on his early battle with Wertz and how it may have left him vulnerable to Wyatt’s late charge: “We’ve just gotta get a little faster. I was good real early and I think me and Mark ran the tires off of it and I think Casey sat back there and rode. I tell ya’, we probably shoulda rode a little bit. Mark wanted to go and I just wanted to push it and see how hard I could go. I think that might’ve cost us at the very end ‘cause we ran it, while Casey laid back there. He made his challenge at the end, when it counted, and I just couldn’t quite get off the corners. He did a great job on the outside. We hardly ever touched, so he did a good job.”
Third-place Wertz could only offer a tip of the cap to Wyatt and Greg Edwards: “We got beat tonight. You can sit up here and make excuses all night long, but we got beat. The FasMart/Equidata Dodge ran good. Just didn’t have enough. We’ll just try it again next week. Good run for them guys up there.”
In the evening’s other feature events:
Ritchie German posted his second win of the year in the NTELOS Wireless Super Street feature. He moved out front on lap 5, then held on down the stretch as a late caution period stretched the event five laps beyond the scheduled 50-lap distance.
Dale Parro led the qualifying session, touring the .395-mile oval at 72.525 mph. The inversion bumped him back to seventh, however, and moved Sean Calway up to the pole. Brad Skelding, the former Southampton Motor Speedway general manager, started on the outside of Row 1 in his Langley debut. J.T. Brown and Tommy Sweeney made up Row 2, while German and Ricky Derrick occupied Row 3.
As the event got under way, Calway pulled into the lead. His stay atop the leaderboard was short-lived, though, as Brown grabbed the top spot in Turns 3 and 4 on the opening circuit. As the field settled in, German moved up to second, followed by Parro, Sweeney and Derrick.
On lap 4, German ducked under Brown in Turns 3 and 4, completing the pass for the lead on the following circuit and bringing Parro along with him.
The first caution flag flew on lap 7 when Brown and Sweeney got tangled up in Turn 2 and Brown spun. Both drivers were relegated to the rear of the pack for the restart.
Back under green, Derrick, the new third-place runner, slipped by Parro for second and closed in on German. By lap 13, German, Derrick and Parro were bumper-to-bumper-to-bumper for the lead. They remained that way as the second caution flag appeared on lap 16.
As the race resumed, the top three bolted away from fourth-place Chris Roberts. German and Derrick dueled, nose-to-tail, while Parro enjoyed a front-row view.
On lap 18, Derrick took a look under German on the backstretch. German held him off and pulled away by three lengths when Derrick’s car skittered sideways in Turn 4. The third caution flag waved on lap 21 for Roberts’ spin in Turn 4.
Back under way, German and Derrick resumed their battle. On lap 22, Derrick’s car, again, slipped in Turn 4. He made the save that time, but couldn’t duplicate the feat on the next lap as he collected Brown, Calway and Rod Busitzky off the fourth corner, prompting caution #4.
As the ensuing caution period began, officials started counting the caution laps. It was a bad break for Derrick, who dropped a lap to the leaders before rejoining the rear of the field. Setting the running order, German was the leader, followed by Parro, Sweeney, Jason Langley and Skelding.
On the restart, at lap 28, German fashioned a one-length lead as Sweeney challenged Parro for second. Soon, though, Parro turned his attention to the leader and began pestering German for the top spot.
The fifth caution flag was displayed on lap 38 as Skelding put down fluid in Turns 1 and 2, causing Larry Venable to spin. After cleanup was completed, the field bunched for a restart at lap 48.
As the event resumed, German was able to keep Parro at arm’s length. Coming to the end of lap 50, though, the leader was greeted by the sixth, and final, yellow flag and the contest went into overtime.
On the last restart, at lap 53, German opened a one-length advantage. Parro tried to rally on the white-flag circuit (the second one of the race), but came up 0.154-second short at the stripe. Sweeney tailed German and Parro to the finish, in third, while Brown and Langley rounded out the top five.
Late Model regular Shawn Balluzzo bagged the win in a 50-lapper for the B&C Seafood Modifieds. He took the lead for good on lap 40.
Buddy Emory paced qualifying for the event, turning in an 85.844-mph effort. After the inversion, he started third. Balluzzo rolled off from the pole position, flanked by Jason Palmore. Bubba Farmer shared Row 2 with Emory. Buster Horne and Irvin Bell made up Row 3.
The race got off to a bumpy start as Farmer spun in Turn 1 on the opening circuit, collecting David Kendall. Mark Claar was the chief beneficiary of the accident. Tenth on the original starting grid, he moved up to sixth in the reconstituted lineup.
When the race finally got going, Balluzzo and Palmore went door-to-door until Turn 3. At that point, Palmore bobbled slightly and Balluzzo grabbed the clear-cut edge.
The second caution flag came out on lap 6 as Kendall slowed to a crawl near the flagstand. As that was happening, Bell skated up the track off Turn 2, nearing smacking the wall.
During the ensuing caution period, officials made a quick check of Palmore’s car and discovered an oil leak, bring his night to a premature end. Lining up for the restart, Balluzzo was followed by Emory, Claar, Horne and Farmer.
Back under green, Claar shadowed Emory for a couple laps, then drove to his inside on the back straightaway on lap 7. The two went door-to-door until lap 9 when Claar claimed the spot. By lap 18, he had closed to within a car-length of Balluzzo.
The third and fourth caution flags flew on laps 20 and 21.
As the race resumed, Claar immediately went after Balluzzo for the lead. He drove alongside the leader on lap 22 and took command of the event on lap 23. By lap 37, he had stretched his lead to almost half a straightaway.
Exiting Turn 4 on lap 40, though, a puff of white smoke belched from Claar’s machine. The smoke reappeared as he entered Turn 1 and the caution flag waved as officials detected fluid on the track. Claar turned out to be the source and he headed for the pits, retiring to a seventh-place finish and turning the lead back to Balluzzo.
Returning to green, Balluzzo managed a narrow edge over Emory. Within a handful of circuits, though, the advantage had grown to almost four lengths. Balluzzo’s drive to Victory Lane was interrupted, however, by one final caution flag, which appeared on lap 46.
On the last restart, Emory tried to hang with the leader, but Balluzzo proved to be too strong as he eased away in the closing laps.
At the finish, Balluzzo was the winner by 0.893-second — about four lengths. Emory, Farmer, Bell and Horne were second through fifth at the end.
C.E. Falk, a rookie on the USAR Hooters ProCup tour, made a cameo appearance at Langley Speedway on Saturday night and came away with the win in the 25-lap Cook’s Moving Service INEX Legends feature.
Cameron Patrick set the fast time in qualifying, at 77.705 mph, but had to start seventh after the inversion. Jeremy Cook and Dale Blankenship made up Row 1, followed by Rette Causey and Ryan Crites in Row 2. Don McLaughlin and Falk were in Row 3, while Patrick lined up in Row 4, to the inside of Kerry Gilbert.
Cook led the way for the first nine circuits, which were interrupted by yellow flags at laps 2 and 8. In the meantime, Patrick and Falk had worked their way into the second and third spots.
On lap 10, Patrick made a bid for the lead, pulling to the inside of Cook on the backstretch. Before they reached Turn 3, though, Falk had ducked below both cars and grabbed the lead.
Patrick pushed his car back to the front on lap 13, bringing McLaughlin along with him. McLaughlin rode in second until lap 16 when he moved to the point. Falk tagged along with McLaughlin and took over the runner-up position.
On lap 17, Falk powered under McLaughlin off Turn 2. He drew even on the back straightaway and grabbed the lead off Turn 4. Patrick was in the process of following Falk past McLaughlin when the third, and final, yellow flag waved on lap 18.
Under green for the last time, Falk sped away to a four-length lead as Patrick worked around McLaughlin. Nick Smith, the ‘05 division champ, started 10th and had been quiet for much of the event. All of a sudden, though, he popped up in third and in position to challenge Patrick for second.
Smith bypassed Patrick on lap 21. The exchange, however, allowed Falk to increase his lead to five lengths. It was too much of a deficit for Smith to overcome as Falk won by 0.414-second. Smith was second, followed by Patrick, McLaughlin and Gilbert.
Megan Dayton notched the win in the evening’s opening event, a 20-lap contest for the HRKC Mini Cup cars. She started on the pole, at 67.818 mph, and set the pace from flag-to-flag.
Matt Burchfield moved into second place on lap 6, but couldn’t make much headway against Dayton, who won by 2.312 seconds — about half a straightaway. Bill Mullis was third to the stripe, followed by Amanda Forney and John Price.
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