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Langley Speedway News
Wertz fights off Greg Edwards for Late Model victory
Apr 29, 2007 - updated Apr 29th, 2007 9:45am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway
Hampton Chevrolet/Daily Press Night Race Report Saturday, April 28, 2007
Mark Wertz gave up the lead on the opening lap, got it back on the 11th circuit, survived a blizzard of yellow flags, then hung on for dear life in the waning laps to score his first victory of the season in the Hampton Chevrolet/Daily Press 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service Late Models, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
Wertz set the pace in afternoon qualifying for the race, touring Langley’s .395-mile oval at 87.589 mph. Greg Edwards was second-fastest and shared the front row with Wertz. Danny Edwards, Greg’s brother, lined up on the inside of Row 2 with Bobby Spivey alongside, while Anthony Warren and Jeff Shiflett occupied Row 3.
As the event began, Greg Edwards got the drop on Wertz and grabbed the point as the field headed off into Turn 1 for the first time. Wertz settled in on Edwards’ rear bumper, in second, followed by Danny Edwards, Warren and Spivey. That was the running order when the first caution flag flew on lap 8 for fluid on the track.
Back under green, Shiflett slipped around Spivey to take over the fifth position. Meanwhile, at the head of the pack, Wertz was all over Greg Edwards for the lead.
Wertz stalked Edwards until lap 10 when he ducked low in Turn 4 and poked a fender to the leader’s inside. Drawing even along the frontstretch, Wertz completed the pass for the lead through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 11.
As Wertz pulled away, Danny Edwards rushed to fill the void and scooted ahead of his brother to take over second place on lap 12. The exchange allowed Wertz to pad his lead to five lengths.
The second yellow flag waved on lap 17 when Chris Munger spun at the start/finish line.
When the race resumed, Wertz quickly fashioned a two-length advantage as the Edwardses renewed their tussle for second. Greg Edwards finally got the better of that duel, reclaiming the runner-up spot on lap 21.
Caution #3 appeared on lap 23 when Spivey and Scott Roser tangled and spun in Turn 4. Two tries at a restart produced cautions #4 and #5 as the field struggled to find a rhythm.
Three more laps were in the books when the sixth caution flag waved for Roser’s spin in the middle of Turns 1 and 2. Setting the lineup, Wertz maintained the lead, followed by Greg Edwards, Danny Edwards, Warren and Shiflett.
On the restart, Wertz pulled away by three car-lengths. Soon, though, Greg Edwards began to close the gap. By lap 35, he was filling Wertz’s mirror and searching for an opening.
One lap shy of halfway, the seventh yellow flag flew as Spivey and Douglas Crigger crashed in Turn 1, relegating both drivers to the sidelines for the evening.
A major logjam in Turn 4 on the ensuing restart prompted the eighth caution flag. Added to the suddenly-lengthy attrition list were Mitch Sarvis and Aaron Adams, the sixth- and seventh-place drivers.
When the green flag reappeared, Wertz opened a two-length lead over Greg Edwards. Behind the leaders, Jeff Sampson and Ross Clements tangled in Turn 1 and Sampson executed a half-spin. He kept rolling, though, as the caution flag stayed under wraps.
The yellow banner was unfurled for the ninth time, though, on lap 43 when Sampson spun on the backstretch. And the caution total reached double digits on lap 44 when Sampson and Clements locked horns again in Turn 1.
Back under way, Wertz bolted to a 2-1/2-length lead over Greg Edwards. Within three laps, though, Edwards had erased that margin.
On lap 48, Greg Edwards drove under Wertz at the entrance to Turn 1 and the battle for the lead was on. With Wertz managing to eke out a slim lead each time they reached the stripe, the two went side-by-side until lap 56 when Wertz regained the clear-cut advantage.
The last of the race’s 11 yellow flags was displayed on lap 67 when D.J. Valente slapped the wall between Turns 1 and 2.
Under green for the last time, the front three cars — Wertz and the Edwardses — broke away nose-to-tail. Exiting Turn 2, Wertz gained a two-length edge. Before long, however, Greg Edwards was knocking on the door again.
On lap 71, Greg Edwards worked his way under Wertz off Turn 2. As in their previous faceoff, Wertz was able to keep his machine wound up on the outside and beat Edwards back to the line. Wertz finally cleared Edwards on the white-flag circuit.
Exiting Turn 4, with the checkers in sight, Greg Edwards took one last run at the leader, planting his car on the bottom of the turn.
At the finish, Edwards could only manage to work his front bumper alongside Wertz, who held on to win by 0.118-second — just less than a car-length. Danny Edwards was third, followed by Warren and Shawn Balluzzo.
Albert Falk was sixth at the end, while Craig Eastep, Dean Shiflett and Jeff Shiflett were seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, the final drivers on the lead lap. Roser came home 10th, a lap down.
In Victory Lane after the race, Wertz discussed his battles with, and respect for, the Edwards brothers: “I feel like I just won the shootout at the OK Corral. They are two good drivers right there. We went door-to-door I don’t know how many laps and never touched and that’s total respect right there. Two good race cars and, right now, I think it’s a point of whoever’s got that last little bit each day. The cars are so close, it’s ridiculous.”
Second-place Greg Edwards could only tip his cap to Wertz and lament the abundance of yellow flags, which hurt his momentum: “I think Mark drove a smart race. He got underneath of me early and I was a little bit loose, so I didn’t want to fight him, so I let him go. I was gonna try to do that strategy back to him and it was working, but I just needed some laps to run and seemed like we couldn’t run three laps without somebody wrecking. I finally got going and I could make a run on him. I think he knew it, but I was just too loose every time I stuck the nose all the way underneath of him. I couldn’t get any grip off and he could, but it was a great race. He drove me clean.”
For his part, Danny Edwards was fairly satisfied with his third-place outing and enjoyed his front-row seat for the lead battle: “We had a decent run tonight. We missed it a little bit, but we had a good run, nevertheless. We got beat, but we’ve a car to work with. We’ll come back at the next race in two weeks and see if we can improve a little bit. It was a great race tonight. I enjoyed watching Greg and Mark battle it out at the end. I was hoping I could get up there and be a part of it, but it didn’t work out tonight.”
In the evening’s other feature events:
Ritchie German took the lead for good on a restart at lap 35 and rolled on to his first win of the new season in the 50-lap Med Express Urgent Care Super Street feature.
German was the polesitter for the event, claiming the preferred starting spot with a 75.218-mph qualifying effort. Jimmy Adkins lined up on the outside of the front. Tommy Sweeney and Randy Akers made up Row 2 and Steve Dill and Jason Langley launched from Row 3.
On the start, German jumped ahead of Adkins to take the lead. Sweeney followed him through, leaving Adkins in a door-to-door tussle with Dill, who claimed the third spot on lap 2.
Quickly gathering himself, Adkins regained third from Dill on lap 3, then picked off Sweeney for second place on lap 13. The shuffling allowed German to get away by five car-lengths. By lap 19, though, Adkins was parked on his rear bumper.
Coming around to complete lap 21, the lead duo ran up on Harry VanGuilder. German went high, while Adkins chose the low side. Clearing VanGuilder, they emerged side-by-side in Turn 1 on lap 22. Holding the favored groove, Adkins rocketed ahead off Turn 4 to take the lead. By lap 32, his advantage had swelled to half a straightaway.
The first caution appeared on lap 35. It was followed by two more on ensuing restarts.
When the race got going again, Adkins failed to come up to speed and pulled aside as German moved back to the point and the rest of the field streamed past. Salvation for Adkins, who had a right-front tire going down, came in the form of caution #4, which flew on lap 36 and allowed him to come to the pits and replace the offending tire without losing a lap.
Back under green, German fashioned a slim lead over Sweeney, while Dill and Akers battled for third place. Meanwhile, Adkins, who restarted at the back of the pack, was quickly slicing his way forward. He rejoined the top five on the 47th circuit.
The fifth, and final, yellow flag appeared on lap 49, setting up a “green-white-checkered” conclusion to the event.
On the last restart, German established a two-length edge over Sweeney and went on to win by 0.824-second — about three lengths. Dill was third, while Adkins rallied to salvage fourth place and Akers was fifth to the line.
For the second straight race, Joe Scarbrough started on the pole and led the entire distance to claim victory in the 50-lap B&C Seafood Modified feature.
Scarbrough, who clocked in at 84.688 mph, and Buster Horne made up the front row for the start. Rusty Wood and Shawn Balluzzo were in Row 2, while Kerry Gilbert and Bubba Farmer filled Row 3.
The race got off to a rocky start with a caution flag on the initial lap, which prompted a complete restart, and another on lap 2. After that, though, the event was “clean and green” to the finish.
While Scarbrough jumped out front and raced to a commanding lead, Wood motored into second and held that spot for the first 27 laps. On lap 28, though, he suddenly fell off the pace out of Turn 2 and brought his machine to the pits, retiring to a 12th-place finish.
Wood’s premature exit left Scarbrough with a full-straightaway lead over Balluzzo, the new second-place runner.
Over the remaining circuits, Scarbrough seemed content to maintain that advantage as he eased to a 3.711-second win. Balluzzo was second to the line, followed by Farmer, Gilbert and Dwayne Van Tassel, who snagged the fifth spot from Horne on lap 33.
Maintaining the momentum from his win in last season’s final race, Craig Firman led all 25 laps from the pole to bag the victory in the ‘07 opener for the Cook’s Moving Service Super Trucks.
While Firman grabbed the pole position, at 73.920 mph, Evan VanLeeuwen, Hugo Belfiore, John Hollis and ‘06 champ Justin Ballo followed him on the speed chart.
On the start, Firman leaped into the lead as the field hustled off into Turn 1. Belfiore moved up to second, while VanLeeuwen slipped to third.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 5 for John McDonald’s spin in Turn 2.
Back under green, Firman pulled away by three lengths. Meanwhile, Tommy Nixon, who started 11th after missing time trials, was making his way toward the front. By lap 3, he was solidly in the top five.
VanLeeuwen regained second place from Belfiore on lap 5. Meanwhile, Nixon scooted past Ballo for fourth and began to close rapidly on the leaders.
Nixon picked off Belfiore on lap 9 to take over third place. A lap later, Belfiore tangled with a lapped truck and spun in Turn 1 to bring out the second, and final, caution flag. The delay erased Firman’s lead, which had grown to a full straightaway.
Returning to green, Firman darted away from VanLeeuwen by three lengths, soon stretching it to four. Just a few laps later, though, he had an anxious moment when he momentarily fell off the pace at the start/finish line, allowing his pursuers to close in.
Firman steadied himself, however, and began to rebuild his lead. By the finish, he was up by 1.083 seconds over runner-up VanLeeuwen. Nixon was third to the checkers, followed by Ballo and Robbie Davis.
Brian Waltrip overtook his brother, Timmy Waltrip, off the final corner to score the win in a 20-lapper for the Kim Jusino, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts.
Dwain Smith started on the pole at 62.445 mph — a new division record. He was flanked by Bobby Peach, the former record-holder. Cory Millard and Greg Shaffer made up the second row, followed by Timmy Waltrip and David Phelps in Row 3. Brian Waltrip started seventh, right behind his brother.
As the race got under way, Smith motored out front with a drafting boost from Millard. On lap 2, Millard took over the top spot. Smith settled into second, while Phelps moved up to third, shuffling Peach out of the lead draft.
On lap 3, the Waltrips, joined by Jeffrey Johnson and Shaffer, bypassed Peach, dropping him to eighth. He quickly regained the seventh spot from Shaffer, though.
On lap 5, second-place Smith spun in Turn 2. He kept going and the caution remained hidden, but the miscue upset the lead draft, allowing Timmy and Brian Waltrip to breeze into the top two positions on lap 7. On that same circuit, Millard, having given up the lead, did a half-spin in Turn 3 and dropped to eighth.
Third-place Phelps hooked up with Peach and Johnson on lap 12 and began to track down the leaders. Before that effort really got off the ground, however, Peach dropped off the pace and headed for the pits. The disruption in the second pack allowed the Waltrips to pull away by nearly half a straightaway.
The brothers remained nose-to-tail until the final circuit. Entering Turn 3, Brian Waltrip powered to the outside of Timmy Waltrip and they exited Turn 4 in a dead heat.
At the line, Brian Waltrip was the winner by one length — 0.074-second, to be exact — over Timmy Waltrip. Phelps was third, while Millard rebounded from her earlier misstep to take fourth. Phillip Clarke was fifth at the stripe.
Tim Layne was the winner in a 25-lap contest for the Pro 6 Series, which was making the first of its five scheduled stops at Langley this season.
Longtime Langley veteran Bill Mullis claimed the pole, at 79.348 mph, but gave way to his front-row partner, Casey Sipe, on the start.
Mullis rallied on lap 2, though, and took the lead, bringing Layne along with him. By lap 6, Mullis and Layne had opened a half-straightaway gap over Sipe.
Layne shadowed Mullis until lap 18 when he ducked under the leader off Turn 2. He led by a nose at the start/finish line and gained the clear-cut advantage through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 19. Just one lap later, he had already pulled away by five car-lengths.
Mullis tried to stage a comeback in the closing circuits, but his effort came up a car-length short at the checkers as Layne held on for the win. Sipe tailed the lead duo to the line, in third, followed by Warren Smigo and Matt Settlage.
• • •
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
Hampton Chevrolet/Daily Press Night Race Results Saturday, April 28, 2007
CROSSROADS FUEL SERVICE
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. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 75
6. (17) Albert Falk; 75
7. (2) Craig Eastep; 75
8. (06) Dean Shiflett; 75
9. (01) Jeff Shiflett; 75
10. (00) Scott Roser; 74
11. (71) Ron Blackburn; 74
12. (12) Ross Clements; 73
13. (18) D.J. Valente; 66
14. (8) Jeff Sampson; 42
15. (88) Mitch Sarvis; 37
16. (6) Aaron Adams; 37
17. (7) Mark Claar; 37
18. (08) Douglas Crigger; 37
19. (67) Bobby Spivey; 37
20. (11) Kevin Morgan; 28
21. (02) Chris Munger; 22
22. (44) Robbie Babb; 6
Pole: Mark Wertz - 87.589 mph.
MED EXPRESS URGENT CARE
SUPER STREETS - 50 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (10) Ritchie German; 50
2. (11) Tommy Sweeney; 50
3. (3) Steve Dill; 50
4. (0) Jimmy Adkins; 50
5. (21) Randy Akers; 50
6. (5) Jason Moore; 50
7. (54) Jason Langley; 50
8. (86) Jessica Wood; 49
9. (58) Doug Woodyard; 49
10. (2) Rod Busitzky; 49
11. (81) Jeff Shannon; 49
12. (12) Sean Calway; 49
13. (14) Larry Venable; 48
14. (91) Paul Phelps; 47
15. (41) Richard Ellis; 46
16. (09) Harry VanGuilder; 46
17. (20) Bill Burns; 41
18. (26) Mickey Evans; 36
19. (15) Dale Parro; 34
20. (18) Dennis Nowak; 31
21. (03) Jerry LaMontagne; 20
22. (7) Mike West; 7
Pole: Ritchie German - 75.218 mph.
B&C SEAFOOD MODIFIEDS - 50 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (30) Joe Scarbrough; 50
2. (02) Shawn Balluzzo; 50
3. (11) Bubba Farmer; 50
4. (88) Kerry Gilbert; 50
5. (19) Dwayne VanTassel; 50
6. (79) Kyle Wood; 50
7. (6) Buster Horne; 49
8. (5) Michael Leech; 48
9. (39) Toby Davis; 48
10. (65) Jimmy Kibler; 47
11. (33) Rob Wells; 46
12. (69) Rusty Wood; 28
13. (20) Steven McGuire; 0
14. (34) David Kendall; 0
Pole: Joe Scarbrough - 84.688 mph.
COOK'S MOVING SERVICE
SUPER TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (5) Craig Firman; 25
2. (01) Evan VanLeeuwen; 25
3. (8) Tommy Nixon; 25
4. (55) Justin Ballo; 25
5. (10) Robbie Davis; 25
6. (15) Hugo Belfiore; 25
7. (96) John Hollis; 25
8. (90) Troy Turnage; 25
9. (77) John McDonald; 25
10. (14) Debbie Biesecker; 24
11. (00) Andrew Baker; 13
Pole: Craig Firman - 73.920 mph.
KIM JUSINO, REALTOR
HRKC PRO WINGED CHAMP KARTS - 20 laps
Fin. Pos. (Kart #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (14) Brian Waltrip; 20
2. (97) Timmy Waltrip; 20
3. (46) David Phelps; 20
4. (18) Cory Millard; 20
5. (52) Phillip Clarke; 20
6. (30) Jeffrey Johnson; 20
7. (33) Dwain Smith; 20
8. (81) Jeremy Grogg; 20
9. (17) Greg Shaffer; 20
10. (21) Jason Houck; 20
11. (1) Kevin Connell; 20
12. (25) Adam Chalkey; 20
13. (5) Greg Burgess; 20
14. (77) Steven Shaffer; 19
15. (10) Daniel Millard; 19
16. (6) Greg Burgess Sr.; 19
17. (02) Jordan Wood; 19
18. (01) Dennis Nash; 15
19. (28) Bobby Peach; 12
Pole: Dwain Smith - 62.445 mph.
(NEW DIVISION RECORD)
PRO 6 SERIES - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver
1. (22) Tim Layne
2. (45) Bill Mullis
3. (23) Casey Sipe
4. (41) Warren Smigo
5. (7) Matt Settlage
Pole: Bill Mullis - 79.348 mph.
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