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Langley Speedway News
Miss Utility Night Race Report Saturday, July 1, 2006
Jul 2, 2006 - updated Jul 2nd, 2006 2:02pm
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Langley Speedway
For many drivers, following an Independence Day fireworks extravaganza on the schedule would be an unenviable assignment. What can you possibly do to top the pyrotechnics?
Mark Wertz supplied the answer at Langley Speedway on Saturday, eliciting a few “oohs” and “aahs” of his own as he posted his third victory of the season in the Miss Utility 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service/Sunoco Dealers Late Models, the featured event (fireworks notwithstanding) of the evening’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program.
Wertz paced qualifying for the race, touring the .395-mile layout at 85.782 mph, and he got to keep the pole when a “0” came up on the inversion wheel. Greg Edwards lined up to Wertz’s outside on Row 1, while Danny Edwards and Paul DeBolt made up Row 2. Anthony Warren and Jeff Shiflett occupied Row 3.
The event got off to a rocky start as a four-car fracas broke out near the back of the pack on the opening lap, prompting a complete restart.
On the second attempt at a start, Wertz and Greg Edwards went door-to-door until they reached Turn 4. Exiting the corner, Wertz gained the upper hand and left a void that Danny Edwards was quick to fill. Greg Edwards fended off his older brother’s advance on the backstretch on lap 2 and settled into the runner-up spot.
Within a couple circuits, Greg Edwards had closed in on Wertz’s rear bumper. Danny Edwards rode in third place, a car-length behind the battle for the lead. DeBolt, in fourth, had fallen six lengths back and was feeling pressure from Warren.
On lap 11, Warren swept past DeBolt through Turns 1 and 2 to take over the fourth spot. Warren quickly drove away as Shiflett and Casey Wyatt moved in on DeBolt.
The second yellow flag flew on lap 14, bunching the field.
Back under green, Wertz and Greg Edwards resumed their duel at the head of the field. Deeper in the pack, DeBolt surrendered the fifth spot to Shiflett on lap 15, then slipped to seventh on the next lap as Wyatt scooted past.
Caution #3 appeared on lap 18.
Resuming, Wertz fashioned a two-length advantage over Greg Edwards. Meanwhile, Warren loomed just a car-length behind Danny Edwards, joining the lead pack.
The fourth caution flag was displayed on lap 24.
Settling in for an extended green-flag run, Wertz managed a slim margin over Greg Edwards, who closed in and began looking to the leader’s inside, hunting for an opening.
Wyatt, in search of his fifth win of ‘06, made his way into the top five on lap 27 with a strong outside pass of Shiflett through Turns 3 and 4. Within a handful laps, he had closed in on fourth-place Warren.
Reaching the halfway mark, Wertz’s lead stood at three lengths over Greg Edwards and he was beginning to ease away. When the fifth, and final, yellow flag waved on lap 46, he enjoyed a five-car-length edge.
As the field gathered for what would turn out to be the last restart, Wertz was out front, followed by Greg Edwards, Danny Edwards, Warren and Wyatt.
Returning to green, Wertz jumped out to a two-length lead, while Shiflett moved up to challenge Wyatt for fifth place. By lap 54, the top six had put half a straightaway between themselves and seventh-place DeBolt.
On lap 64, Wyatt suddenly slowed and made the turn to the pit lane, handing the fifth spot to Shiflett. He retired to a 17th-place finish.
At the front, Wertz was patiently sorting through slower traffic, nearly half a straightaway ahead of his closest pursuer.
At the end, Wertz cruised to the win, beating Greg Edwards to the line by 1.861 seconds to finish off the season’s first flag-to-flag performance. Danny Edwards was third to the line, followed by Warren and Shiflett.
DeBolt was sixth, while Jeff Sampson, Shawn Balluzzo, Aaron Adams and Bobby Dean completed the top 10. Ross Clements and Dalford Briley were 11th and 12th, respectively, the final drivers on the lead lap.
In Victory Lane after the race, Wertz recounted the efforts that paid off in Saturday night’s win, ending with what might be an ominous note for the other drivers in the division: “We had a rough week. I think we had a car that could’ve won last week. We had an oil problem, kinda soaked down both right-side tires. We didn’t want to touch the car, so we just fixed the oil leak, got the body beat back out, came here and qualified on the pole and I never really even used the car all night. Even there toward the end, when we decided to open it up, I was just riding.”
While he didn’t collect the win, runner-up Greg Edwards was glad to be back on the podium after a subpar outing on June 24: “Mark definitely had the car tonight. I thought I had it for a little while, but we were running into brake issues. I felt like all I had was rear brakes at the end. The front tires were shaking real bad in my hand. It’s still a good run for us, compared to last week. We’re inching back closer to a win. I think we’ll be there real soon.”
Meanwhile, Danny Edwards was pleased with his third-place run and looking forward to improvement in the weeks ahead: “We had decent run there. We were able to keep up tonight, anyway. I think we had about a third-place car. That’s where we finished exactly — started third, finished third. So, it wasn’t a bad night. We’ve got a little bit to work with here. We’ll just hope we can get it better for next week.”
Coming into the event, only six points separated the top three in the division — Greg Edwards, Danny Edwards and Wertz. And, with Saturday’s results, the title chase grew that much more interesting. Greg Edwards and Danny Edwards have both accumulated 452 points. Greg holds a slight edge with two race wins to Danny’s one. Wertz remains in third place, but now just two points behind the Edwardses, with 450.
In the evening’s other feature events:
Ricky Derrick rolled to his fourth win of the season in the Super 8 Motels/Dunkum’s Machine Shop Grand Stock feature, which was extended from 40 to 44 laps by a late caution flag.
Derrick was quickest in the afternoon qualifying session, at 78.321 mph. Like Wertz, he was the beneficiary of a kind spin of the inversion wheel — a “0” came up — and got to keep the pole. Jason Leftwich started on the outside of Row 1, while Brandon Ray and Dean Shiflett lined up in Row 2.
As the initial green flag fluttered, Derrick jumped out front. Ray tagged along with the leader and moved into second place. David Gray, who started fifth, took the third spot as the field came around to complete lap 1.
The first yellow flag appeared on lap 2 when Shiflett and Hank Karwoski had problems in Turn 4. Both drivers headed to the pits. Shiflett’s crew rectified a tire situation on the #06 machine and he rejoined the rear of the field for the restart. Karwoski, however, made a premature exit from the fray, completing only three laps before parking for the evening.
While Derrick maintained a firm grip on the top spot, Ray held down the runner-up position for the first six laps before giving way to Gray. Brandon Hinson moved into second place on lap 9 and tailed Derrick until lap 21 when he was bypassed by Jammie Goode.
The first 24 laps of the event were interrupted by a total of six yellow flags and officials began counting the caution laps. As the field bunched for a restart at lap 28, Derrick, Goode and Hinson made up the top three. Shiflett had clawed his way back up to fourth and Gray was fifth.
Back under green, Shiflett picked off Hinson for third place, while Danny Harrell slipped around Gray for fifth. Derrick led Goode by two lengths when the seventh caution flag flew on lap 32.
On the restart, at lap 36, Derrick pulled away by two lengths as Shiflett zeroed in on Goode. Three more circuits were completed when the eighth, and final, yellow flag appeared on lap 39.
To provide a “green-white-checkered” finish, the event stretched into “overtime,” as the field gathered for a restart at lap 42.
Under green for the last time, Derrick eased away as Goode and Shiflett resumed their duel for the runner-up position.
Just after the restart, Shiflett looked to the outside of Goode. Making no headway in the upper groove, he switched to the inside as the white flag waved. Heading into Turn 1, Shiflett’s car slipped loose and he had to chase it up the track as Goode drove away.
At the finish, Derrick wrapped up his wire-to-wire run, winning by 0.749-second over Goode. Shiflett was third to the line, followed by Harrell, who bypassed Hinson for fourth on the last lap.
Carl Livingston took the lead on lap 9 and sped on to this third straight victory in the 25-lap Verizon Super Truck race.
Livingston was fastest in time trials, clocking in at 72.510 mph. After a spin of the inversion wheel, he landed in third on the starting grid. Evan VanLeeuwen moved to the pole with Tommy Nixon alongside. Thomas Fontaine shared Row 2 with Livingston.
As the event got under way, VanLeeuwen took the lead as Nixon slipped into second, followed by Livingston and a side-by-side battle between Justin Ballo and Fontaine.
On lap 4, Nixon poked a fender to the inside of VanLeeuwen in Turn 4. He drew even on the frontstretch and grabbed the top spot through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 5, bringing Livingston along with him.
After shadowing Nixon for a couple circuits, Livingston launched his first bid for the lead on lap 7, pulling ahead off Turn 2. Before the lap was completed, though, a caution flag appeared and negated the pass.
Back under green, Livingston tailed Nixon until lap 8 when he dipped to the inside of the leader off the fourth corner. He finished off the pass at the entrance to Turn 1 on lap 9. This time, the move stuck and Livingston moved atop the leaderboard. Just one lap later, Livingston had already opened a four-length edge.
Ballo, meanwhile, had advanced to third place and was closing rapidly on Nixon. Before that battle could take shape, though, the last of the race’s three caution flags appeared on lap 14.
As the race resumed, Livingston and Nixon bolted from the pack as Hugo Belfiore took a look to the inside of Ballo. Ballo shook free of Belfiore and, within two laps, was hounding Nixon for second place.
At lap 18, Livingston enjoyed a lead of nearly half a straightaway and he was able to double his advantage when Nixon’s truck skittered sideways off Turn 4.
While Livingston strolled toward Victory Lane, Ballo continued to go after Nixon, finally working underneath him in Turn 4 on lap 22. Ballo snagged the second spot on lap 23.
Coming to the checkers, Livingston eased off the throttle, savoring his dominating run. He gave up a few lengths from his sizable margin, but still won by half a straightaway over Ballo, who was second for the third race in a row. Nixon was third, while Fontaine passed Belfiore on the final circuit to take fourth place.
Randy Prillaman posted his fifth win of the year in a caution-free 25-lapper for the E-Z Auto Rental UCARs. He took the lead on lap 12 and showed the way to the finish.
Kevin Alves followed up his victory on June 24 by setting the pace in qualifying with a lap at 69.258 mph. After the inversion, he started fourth. Glenn Healy Jr. and Prillaman shared the front row, while Robbie Davis lined up to Alves’ inside on Row 2.
Healy motored out front on the start to take the lead and Davis moved into second, passing Prillaman. Unlike the June 24 race, when he fell from the outside pole to sixth in the opening laps, Prillaman only dropped one position this time. And, he regained that spot on lap 6, getting back around Davis off Turn 2.
The shuffle of positions allowed Healy to open a half-straightaway lead. Joined by Alves, though, Prillaman began to whittle away at the gap.
On lap 11, Prillaman ducked under Healy into Turn 3. He drew even off Turn 4 and nabbed the lead through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 12. Alves tagged along with Prillaman and passed Healy for second place.
Heading into the closing circuits, Prillaman and Alves were locked in a tight battle, amidst a gaggle of lapped machines.
On lap 20, Prillaman was afforded some breathing room as Alves had trouble clearing one of the slower machines. The brief scuffle allowed Prillaman to pull away by four lengths and he maintained that margin to the finish, winning by 0.773-second.
Alves tailed Prillaman to the checkers, in second. Healy was third, equaling his best outing of the year. Matt Hockaday posted a season-best fourth-place run, while Jonathan Mullett completed the top five.
Starting on the outside of Row 1, Ashley Mullis took the lead from pole-sitter Bill Mullis, her dad, at the drop of the green flag and wired the field to win a 20-lap contest for the HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts, the evening’s first event.
Providing a drafting push, Bill Mullis remained in his daughter’s slipstream until the last turn of the final lap when he ducked low. The bid came up a little less than a kart-length short at the stripe as Ashley Mullis held on to win by 0.080-second.
George Rowland was third to the line, swiping the spot from jeffrey Johnson on the final circuit. They were nearly 11 seconds behind the Mullises at the finish, the only other karts on the lead lap. David Phelps was fifth to the line, a lap down.
• • •
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
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NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
Miss Utility Night
Saturday, July 1, 2006
CROSSROADS FUEL SERVICE/SUNOCO DEALERS
LATE MODELS - 75 laps
Fin. Pos., (Car #), Driver, Laps Compl.
1. (40) Mark Wertz, 75
2. (27) Greg Edwards, 75
3. (26) Danny Edwards, 75
4. (21) Anthony Warren, 75
5. (01) Jeff Shiflett, 75
6. (34) Paul DeBolt, 75
7. (8) Jeff Sampson, 75
8. (48) Shawn Balluzzo, 75
9. (6) Aaron Adams, 75
10. (03) Bobby Dean, 75
11. (4) Ross Clements, 75
12. (99) Dalford Briley, 75
13. (07) Rick Gdovic, 74
14. (08) Douglas Crigger, 71
15. (11) Kevin Morgan, 69
16. (71) Ron Blackburn, 67
17. (29) Casey Wyatt, 63
18. (81) Brian Carter, 60
19. (45) Doug Warren, 41
20. (13) Nick Smith, 29
21. (44) Robbie Babb, 24
Pole: Wertz -
None inverted for start.
Fast Qualifier: Wertz -
SUPER 8 MOTELS/DUNKUM'S MACHINE SHOP
GRAND STOCKS - 44* laps
Fin. Pos., (Car #), Driver, Laps Compl.
1. (8) Ricky Derrick, 44
2. (31) Jammie Goode, 44
3. (06) Dean Shiflett, 44
4. (95) Danny Harrell, 44
5. (81) Brandon Hinson, 44
6. (43) David Gray, 44
7. (24) Gene Smith, 44
8. (5) Robert Ellis, 44
9. (12) George VanGuilder, 44
10. (4) Matthew Waltz, 44
11. (29) Jack Robinson, 44
12. (48) Chris Sullivan, 44
13. (71) J.R. Smith, 43
14. (96) Harold Stanley, 43
15. (2) Brian Waters, 42
16. (84) Brandon Carteret, 39
17. (92) Jason Leftwich, 29
18. (88) Brandon Ray, 23
19. (69) Connie Stanley, 22
20. (44) Matt Slye, 17
21. (7) David Seed, 14
22. (23) Bobby Ferebee, 7
23. (33) Hank Karwoski, 3
* Due to a late caution flag, the event
was extended from 40 to 44 laps to provide
a "green-white-checkered" finish.
Pole: Derrick -
None inverted for start.
Fast Qualifier: Derrick -
VERIZON SUPER TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos., (Truck #), Driver, Laps Compl.
1. (89) Carl Livingston, 25
2. (55) Justin Ballo, 25
3. (8) Tommy Nixon, 25
4. (16) Thomas Fontaine, 25
5. (15) Hugo Belfiore, 25
6. (01) Evan VanLeeuwen, 25
7. (5) Craig Firman, 25
8. (77) John McDonald, 25
9. (11) Tommy Fleck, 25
10. (19) Bill Wallace, 25
11. (46) Patrick Walker, 13
12. (25) John Hollis, 12
13. (60) Charles Russell, 6
Pole: VanLeeuwen -
Top 3 qualifiers inverted for start.
Fast Qualifier: Livingston -
E-Z AUTO RENTAL UCARS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos., (Car #), Driver, Laps Compl.
1. (26) Randy Prillaman, 25
2. (84) Kevin Alves, 25
3. (4) Glenn Healy Jr., 25
4. (68) Matt Hockaday, 25
5. (23) Jonathan Mullett, 25
6. (14) Dusty Conner, 25
7. (15) Randy Sample, 25
8. (10) Robbie Davis, 25
9. (22) Donald Reynolds III, 25
10. (28) Jamie Sample, 25
11. (71) Dave Butler, 25
12. (8) Ron Shumate, 25
13. (25) Robbie Salas, 25
14. (40) Pat Ritchie, 25
15. (20) Michael Walters, 25
16. (98) Scott Hafner, 25
17. (3) Matt Bond, 25
18. (27) Joe Reynolds, 24
19. (92) Albert Anderson, 24
20. (55) Richard Smith, 24
21. (18) Don Shumate, 24
22. (33) Ben Weldon, 24
23. (64) Sara Langley, 22
24. (7) Buck Munger, 4
25. (43) Robert Rusinyak, 0
Pole: Healy -
Top 4 qualifiers inverted for start.
Fast Qualifier: Alves -
HRKC PRO WINGED CHAMP KARTS - 20 laps
Fin. Pos., (Kart #), Driver, Laps Compl.
1. (44) Ashley Mullis, 20
2. (45) Bill Mullis, 20
3. (34) George Rowland, 20
4. (30) Jeffrey Johnson, 20
5. (46) David Phelps, 19
6. (95) Linwood Harris, 19
7. (77) Steven Shaffer, 19
8. (27) Ashley Peach, 19
9. (7) Dwain Smith, 19
10. (52) Phillip Clarke, 19
11. (17) Greg Shaffer, 19
12. (88) David Srednicki, 19
13. (28) Robert Peach, 19
14. (33) Mike Conley, 19
15. (18) Cory Millard, 13
Pole: B. Mullis -
Fast Qualifier: B. Mullis -
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