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Langley Speedway

Langley Speedway News
Wertz posts 2nd Late Model win, extends Dodge streak
Jun 10, 2007 - updated Jun 10th, 2007 10:35am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey

Hampton, VA --

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway

Craftsman/Wolf Contractors Night Race Report Saturday, June 9, 2007

Mark Wertz held off a determined Danny Edwards in the closing circuits to post his second victory of the season in the Craftsman/Wolf Contractors 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service Late Models, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
Edwards, the division points leader, was quickest in qualifying for the event, turning the .395-mile oval at 86.302 mph. By track rules, however, he had to start on the outside of Row 4 — his “reward” for winning the previous two races.
With Edwards dropping back to eighth on the grid, Wertz moved up to the pole position. Paul DeBolt started on the outside of the front row. Mark Claar and Craig Eastep made up Row 2, while Jeff Sampson and Jeff Shiflett shared Row 3. Shawn Balluzzo lined up to the inside of Edwards in Row 4.
As the race got under way, DeBolt remained to the outside of Wertz until they reached Turn 2. Exiting the corner, Wertz pulled ahead, while DeBolt settled into second place. Claar, Shiflett and Eastep emerged from the opening shuffle in third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and Edwards moved up to sixth.
Edwards cracked the top five on the second circuit, slipping by Eastep. Continuing his march toward the front, he picked off Shiflett for fourth on lap 7 and bypassed Claar on lap 14 to take over third.
After utilizing the high groove to get by Shiflett and Claar, Edwards switched to the bottom lane to overtake DeBolt for the runner-up on lap 27. He initiated the pass in Turn 2, nosed ahead at the flagstand and cleared DeBolt through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 28. With positions changing hands in his mirror, Wertz extended his lead to almost half a straightaway.
While his charge to second was accomplished fairly quickly, Edwards had a more difficult time making headway against Wertz, who was maintaining that half-straightaway advantage.
On lap 40, the leader encountered slower traffic for the first time and Edwards began to narrow the gap. When the first caution flag appeared, at lap 46, Edwards had drawn to within three lengths.
Back under green, Wertz fashioned a slim margin over Edwards as the lead duo set sail. Within just a couple laps, they had opened a half-straightaway edge over third-place DeBolt.
The second yellow flag flew on lap 50 as DeBolt fell off the pace and slowed to a crawl in Turn 2. Setting the running order, Wertz and Edwards were first and second, followed by Claar and Balluzzo, who had moved into the top five on lap 23 and took over fourth when DeBolt exited the event.
As the race resumed, Wertz and Edwards bolted to a two-length lead over Claar. The gap grew even larger when Claar slipped in Turn 4 on lap 51. Balluzzo took advantage of the bobble and grabbed the third spot on lap 53.
At the front, Edwards was filling Wertz’s mirror and looking for an opening.
After stalking Wertz for several circuits, Edwards took a run at the leader on lap 63, driving low in Turn 4. While Edwards was able to use the bottom groove to gain ground in the corners, Wertz held the upper hand coming off the turns and managed to scoot ahead each time they came back to the start/finish line.
Wertz cleared Edwards on lap 69 as Edwards backed off to cool his tires in preparation for one last bid. Heading to the white flag, Edwards had closed to within a car-length of Wertz’s bumper.
In Turns 3 and 4 for the final time, Edwards poked a fender to the inside of Wertz and the two exited the last corner door-to-door.
At the stripe, Wertz was the winner by less than half a car-length over Edwards. The official margin of victory was 49-thousandths of a second. Balluzzo, Shiflett and Claar completed the top five. Mitch Sarvis, Dean Shiflett and Eastep were sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, the final drivers to complete all 75 circuits. Ross Clements was ninth, while Sampson, an early retiree, was credited with 10th.
In Victory Lane after the race, Wertz directed a salute to Edwards: “Danny run me hard and clean and hats off to a good competitor right there. I mean, he could’ve took me out. I’m vulnerable out there on the outside and that was a good, clean race.”
Assessing his own prospects for the upcoming races, Wertz commented, “Every week deals a new card and we’ve just gotta take it week by week, but I think we’re pretty close. We’ve just gotta take the race at hand and deal with the car we’ve got. We had to do some adjusting on it and I think we made the right call.”
After a spate of tire- and wheel-related problems over the past few weeks, Wertz could hardly be blamed for being a bit jumpy during Saturday’s race. “I tell ya’, I’ve had so many flat tires, that second restart, I thought I had a flat. I was screaming on the radio, ‘Right-rear flat! Right-rear flat!’ I must’ve just not cleaned the tires up good.”
Runner-up Edwards, who saw his two-race winning streak come to a halt, offered his analysis of his evening’s efforts: “We missed the setup tonight. We got beat. He had a better car tonight. We were a little bit loose. There for a while, I thought I would be able to wear him down a little bit. He was pretty loose as well, when I was tucked up under his bumper, but he was able to hold on. I wasn’t pushing the issue. I was just trying to ride behind him and I figured I’d make my move a little bit later, but, when later came around, he seemed to get a little bit better and mine just got looser. Once we got on the inside, he was able to make that run on the outside and I couldn’t get any grip down there on the bottom of the race track. I was pretty much burnt up. But, overall, we had a good run. Having to start eighth, we stayed out of trouble and salvaged a good finish with it.”
While he couldn’t overhaul the front-running Dodges of Wertz and Edwards, third-place Balluzzo was pleased with his “best in class” showing: “We won another Chevrolet race! No, really, I’m so glad to be up here. Tom Ballos put the motor together in three days. There was nothing left when we blew with five laps to go, running third, last week. Without him, the guys putting it all in, working half the night and just getting the car back to where it needed to be and the car’s working good. I think, with some more work, we might have something for the Dodges. All the guys did a great job.”
With Wertz going to Victory Lane, the $1,000 bounty for the first non-Mopar Late Model winner went unclaimed for another week. Dodge products have now won the first eight Late Model events of the season, leading all 650 laps along the way.

In the evening’s other feature events:

Ricky Derrick posted his first win of the season in the 40-lap Super 8 Motels/Dunkum’s Machine Shop Grand Stock race. He started on the pole, at 78.416 mph, and led flag-to-flag.
Being the pole-sitter paid immediate dividends for Derrick, as it put him ahead of a Talladega-sized “Big One” in Turn 4 on the opening lap. Of the 25 starters, only six escaped without some degree of involvement and one of those, outside pole starter David Gray, visited the pits during the ensuing caution period. Most of the drivers were able to continue, but six, including pre-race points leader Brandon Hinson, were sidelined.
After the track was cleaned up and the field realigned, Derrick jumped out to a three-length lead over Gene Smith, the 11th-place starter who inherited the runner-up spot. Smith held onto second place until lap 8 when he gave way to Chris Roberts. A few laps later, Smith dropped off the pace and retired for the night, ending up 17th in the final rundown.
While Derrick was cruising along with a fairly comfortable lead, his drive to the winner’s circle did have an anxious moment or two.
On lap 23, he nearly got pinched between two slower cars when he tried to pull off a three-wide pass at the start/finish line. He managed to extricate himself from that potential tangle, however. Soon, he had fashioned a lead of nearly a full straightaway over Roberts, who had his hands full with a challenge from Jason Leftwich.
The Roberts/Leftwich battle went on until lap 37 when Roberts suddenly slowed with suspension problems, prompting the last of the race’s four caution flags.
Lining up for the final restart, a lapped machine separated Derrick from Leftwich, the new second-place runner. Derrick took full advantage of the buffer, powering away by four lengths.
By the finish, Derrick’s margin had grown to five lengths as he rolled to a 1.158-second win. Leftwich was second, followed by Paul Lubno, Chris Barrow and Danny Harrell.

Craig Firman remained unbeaten in the 25-lap Cook’s Moving Service Super Truck feature, scoring his fourth win of the year.
Tommy Nixon started on the pole, at 73.698 mph, but gave way to Firman, his front-row colleague, on the opening circuit. Nixon settled into second place and never fell more than a couple truck-lengths behind the leader.
Nixon faced his biggest obstacle on a restart at lap 14 when he failed to come up to speed right away and lost five lengths to Firman. Little by little, though, he nibbled away at the deficit. He made up a big chunk of ground on lap 22 when Firman’s truck skittered sideways off Turn 4.
The next time around, the rear of Firman’s truck kicked out again and Nixon pounced on the opening, driving to the inside of the leader off the fourth corner. The two made contact on the frontstretch. Firman quickly gathered his machine and drove away, leaving Nixon to tussle with John Hollis, Justin Ballo and Robbie Davis.
At the checkers, Firman was the winner by five lengths over Nixon. Hollis, Ballo and Davis completed the top five.

With drafting help from Ryan Hudgins, David Phelps moved out front on lap 9 and showed the way to his first win of the season in a 20-lapper for the Kim Jusino, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts.
Cory Millard started on the pole, at 60.224 mph, and, with Alan Purser in tow, set the pace for the first eight circuits. Meanwhile, Phelps and Hudgins, who started fifth and seventh, respectively, had linked up and were moving forward.
Joined by Danny Wyatt, Phelps and Hudgins overhauled Millard and Purser on lap 9. At the halfway mark, the front three had opened a five-length advantage over fourth-place Spencer Saunders.
The only caution flag appeared on lap 18. Setting the lineup, Phelps, Hudgins and Wyatt went 1-2-3, followed by Millard and Greg Burgess Jr.
Back under green, the lead trio pulled away by three lengths. As they headed onto the backstretch, though, Wyatt lost the draft and drifted back to Millard.
At the front, Phelps and Hudgins pulled away from the pack, maintaining their disciplined draft until the final turn of the final circuit.
Heading into Turn 4 for the last time, Hudgins took a look to the outside of Phelps, who moved up to block. When Phelps made his move, Hudgins crossed over to the inside line and began to pull alongside the leader off Turn 4.
Hudgins’ bid for the win came up just half a kart-length short, though, as Phelps held on to win by 52-thousandths of a second. Wyatt was third to the stripe, while Millard and Gabe Salisbury rounded out the top five. Twenty-two of the 24 starters were on the lead lap at the end.

Jeff Sampson notched his fourth straight win in a 10-lap sprint race for the Wolf Contractors Wolf Trucks, keeping his unbeaten streak alive.
Sampson started on the pole, at 82.420 mph, and set the pace for all 10 circuits, winning by 0.569-second. Randy Bradsher was second to the line. It was his fourth consecutive runner-up finish. Clyde Jefferson and Michael Farmer rounded out the field.

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway

Hampton, VA

Craftsman/Wolf Contractors Night Race Results Saturday, June 9, 2007

LATE MODELS - 75 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (40) Mark Wertz; 75
2. (26) Danny Edwards; 75
3. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 75
4. (01) Jeff Shiflett; 75
5. (7) Mark Claar; 75
6. (88) Mitch Sarvis; 75
7. (06) Dean Shiflett; 75
8. (2) Craig Eastep; 75
9. (12) Ross Clements; 74
10. (8) Jeff Sampson; 59
11. (34) Paul DeBolt; 50
12. (71) Ron Blackburn; 43
Pole: Mark Wertz.
Fast Qualifier: Danny Edwards - 86.302 mph.
(As winner of the previous two races,
Edwards could start no better than eighth.)

GRAND STOCKS - 40 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (8) Ricky Derrick; 40
2. (92) Jason Leftwich; 40
3. (14) Paul Lubno; 40
4. (17) Chris Barrow; 40
5. (95) Danny Harrell; 40
6. (43) David Gray; 40
7. (75) Jeff Driskill; 39
8. (84) Brandon Carteret; 39
9. (3) Allen Shiflett; 39
10. (33) Hank Karwoski; 39
11. (2) Brian Waters; 39
12. (5) Robert Ellis; 39
13. (11) Chris Roberts; 36
14. (23) Bobby Ferebee; 33
15. (69) Connie Stanley; 26
16. (4) Matthew Waltz; 18
17. (24) Gene Smith; 13
18. (88) Brandon Ray; 8
19. (29) Jack Robinson; 3
20. (81) Brandon Hinson; 0
21. (44) Matt Slye; 0
22. (12) Rob Hughes; 0
23. (31) Robert Brandt; 0
24. (27) Bernie Fairchild; 0
25. (37) Rich Nichols; 0
Pole: Ricky Derrick - 78.416 mph.

SUPER TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin.Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (5) Craig Firman; 25
2. (8) Tommy Nixon; 25
3. (96) John Hollis; 25
4. (55) Justin Ballo; 25
5. (10) Robbie Davis; 25
6. (01) Evan VanLeeuwen; 25
7. (21) Paul DeBolt; 25
8. (19) Bill Wallace; 25
9. (14) Debbie Biesecker; 25
10. (77) John McDonald; 25
11. (00) Andrew Baker; 22
12. (15) Hugo Belfiore; 12
Pole: Tommy Nixon - 73.698 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Kart #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (46) David Phelps; 20
2. (29) Ryan Hudgins; 20
3. (8) Danny Wyatt; 20
4. (18) Cory Millard; 20
5. (95x) Gabe Salisbury; 20
6. (52) Phillip Clarke; 20
7. (6) Greg Burgess Jr.; 20
8. (59) Alan Purser; 20
9. (23) Greg Burgess; 20
10. (95) Linwood Harris; 20
11. (81) Jeremy Grogg; 20
12. (5) Craig Brown; 20
13. (25) Adam Chalkley; 20
14. (17) Greg Shaffer; 20
15. (7) Josh Setledge; 20
16. (07) Matt Setledge; 20
17. (1) Spencer Saunders; 20
18. (28) Rob Cotic; 20
19. (97) Timmy Waltrip; 20
20. (10) Daniel Millard; 20
21. (27) David Srednicki; 20
22. (21) Jason Houck; 20
23. (00) Bill Dailey; 17
24. (10x) Mark Roberts; 1
Pole: Cory Millard - 60.224 mph.

WOLF TRUCKS - 10 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (8) Jeff Sampson; 10
2. (33) Randy Bradsher; 10
3. (36) Clyde Jefferson; 10
4. (9) Michael Farmer; 10
Pole: Jeff Sampson - 82.420 mph.

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