Langley Speedway News
Wertz wires field for 3rd Late Model win, keeps Dodge streak intact
Jul 15, 2007 - updated Jul 15th, 2007 9:28am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway
Allstate/Little GI Joe's Night Race Report Saturday, July 14, 2007
A new brand of tire proved to be no hindrance to Mark Wertz as he led from pole to checkers for his third victory of the season in the Allstate/Little GI Joe’s 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service Late Models, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
Shod with American Racer rubber, Wertz set the pace in time trials for the race, qualifying at 86.882 mph. Jeff Sampson was second-quickest and shared the front row with Wertz. Dean Shiflett and Anthony Warren made up Row 2, while Jeff Shiflett and points leader Danny Edwards were in Row 3.
As the race got under way, Wertz leaped into the lead, clearing Sampson before the field reached Turn 1 for the first time. Dean Shiflett stepped up to fill the void to the inside of Sampson and took over the second spot.
The yellow flag made an early appearance when Mark Claar slowed on the frontstretch on lap 5, triggering a four-car pileup in his wake. Those involved included Bobby Spivey, Ron Blackburn, Douglas Crigger and Kim Forrester. Claar, Blackburn, Crigger and Forrester were all relegated to the sidelines, while Spivey returned to complete 10 more circuits before parking his car for the night.
During the delay for cleanup, misfortune struck third-place Sampson as his right-front tire went flat. He was forced to the pits for a replacement and rejoined the tail of the field for the restart.
Prior to the caution, Dean Shiflett had been gaining ground on Wertz. Returning to green-flag racing, though, it was a different story as Wertz quickly fashioned a two-length lead and began to ease away. By lap 9, he had pulled off by nearly half a straightaway.
Danny Edwards began to make some noise on lap 13, taking the fourth spot from Jeff Shiflett. Mitch Sarvis tagged along with Edwards to gain fifth place.
The second and third caution flags flew on laps 18 and 20 for spins by Chris Munger and David Butler, respectively.
Back under green, Wertz grabbed a two-length edge over Dean Shiflett, who was busy defending his position from Warren’s advances. Within a handful of circuits, Wertz had increased his margin to four lengths, while Shiflett enjoyed a similar lead over Warren.
On lap 34, Wertz headed into heavy traffic for the first time and Dean Shiflett closed to within a couple car-lengths. Wertz, however, quickly dispensed with the slower cars and set sail. At the halfway mark, he was up by five lengths.
Edwards gained another position on lap 53, scooting past Warren through Turns 3 and 4 to move into third place. He began to close on second-place Dean Shiflett, but, before that battle could materialize, the field was slowed by caution #3 for Butler’s excursion into the infield off Turn 3. The interruption erased Wertz’s full-straightaway lead.
On the restart, Wertz bolted to a four-length advantage, while Edwards went to work on Dean Shiflett for the runner-up spot. Edwards powered alongside Shiflett in Turns 1 and 2 just after the restart and the two went at it until lap 66 when Paul DeBolt ground to a halt in Turn 3 to bring out the fifth yellow flag. Setting the lineup, Wertz was the leader, followed by Dean Shiflett, Edwards, Warren and Sarvis.
Returning to green, the rear of Dean Shiflett’s car skittered sideways off Turn 4 and Wertz pulled away by almost four lengths.
On lap 68, Edwards took another shot at Shiflett for the second spot, ducking low in Turn 2. Edwards held a slight advantage as they returned to the flagstand. He finally cleared the Shiflett machine on lap 70 and left the door open for Warren, who slipped around Shiflett on that same circuit.
The last of the race’s six caution flags appeared on lap 73 when Sarvis, who had just given up the fifth position to Jeff Shiflett, spun in Turn 2.
On the final restart, Wertz forged a two-length lead over Edwards. By the finish, the margin had grown to three lengths as Wertz won by 0.510-second. Warren was third, while Jeff Shiflett and Shawn Balluzzo completed the top five.
After holding down the runner-up spot for most of the race, Dean Shiflett slipped to a sixth-place finish in the closing laps. Nick Smith was seventh, followed by Sampson and Craig Eastep. Sarvis was 10th, the final driver on the lead lap.
In Victory Lane after the event, Wertz was enthused about the new tires: “This is a Late Model stock car race right here. Throw an obstacle at you and it’s almost like going out of town. Every team on this pit road had to work today to figure out a little bit different setup. It’s almost like going to a different racetrack, but these I’ve got, we’ve been together almost nine years and we overcame an obstacle. This bad boy was on. We turned some of our fastest laps right there at the end of the race. American Racer tire, where have you been for the last 10 years? These are some great tires.”
Seven-time winner Edwards, who saw his three-race winning streak come to an end, didn’t quite share Wertz’s enthusiasm, but he did see some potential in the new rubber: “I think they’ll be OK. It’ll take a few races to get ‘em dialed in there. We definitely missed the setup tonight. Started out really tight. The car freed up a little bit for us. But, we were able to make a little bit of a comeback, get back to second. That’s probably about the best we could hope for tonight. Looked like Mark really had his hooked up pretty good and we were struggling a little bit back there, but we never gave up. We kept on coming.”
Asked about the protracted duel with Dean Shiflett, Edwards continued, “It was pretty tight right there because he was running pretty fast, the cars were pretty equal. He started giving up. My car was giving up as well, but it looked like his gave up a little bit more than mine, especially when I got tucked up on his bumper and loosened him up a little bit. I was able to get under him, but, when I did, it looked like both of our tires went away at the same time, right there after that restart at the end. I kinda thought it was something on the track, but I was watching Mark and he wasn’t having the trouble we were having. One of them deals. We’ll just have to go back and do some more work and we’ll get it figured out.”
Third-place Warren commented on his “best-in-class” outing: “I’ve been the top Chevy a couple of times. I want to be the top car one of these days. I thought, at the end of the race, I had a really good chance at it, but just a little bit tight. We know we need to free the car up a little bit now, but this tire is way, way better than that Goodyear. You could drive this car as hard as you wanted to all night long. I mean, it felt like we were running 16.50s all night long, where we were running 17.50s normally and sliding all over the place. The car never slid around ‘cept for when I got loose going down into 3 down there and I think I just overdrove it. This is what we should’ve been on a long time ago.”
With Wertz’s win, the Dodges remain unbeaten in 2007. Dodge products have now won all 13 Late Model features, leading all 1,050 laps along the way. And, the $1,300 bounty for the first non-Mopar driver to break the stranglehold will stay safely locked away for another week.
In the evening’s other feature events:
Jason Leftwich started on the pole, at 78.855 mph, and led 39 of 40 laps to capture his first win in the Dunkum’s Machine Shop/Super 8 Motels Grand Stock race, becoming the sixth different winner in seven events this season.
Leftwich shared the front row with Brandon Hinson, who edged him out by a nose to lead the opening circuit. Working the inside groove, though, Leftwich rallied and was up by half a car-length at the end of the second circuit.
On lap 3, the first caution flag waved as Chris Roberts and Paul Lubno got together in Turn 2. Since he was ahead at the end of the last completed lap, Leftwich was placed at the head of the field for the restart.
Back under green, Leftwich managed a slim edge over Hinson. Meanwhile, Ricky Derrick, last week’s winner, was working on David Gray for the third spot. He took the position on lap 4, bringing Danny Harrell along with him.
Derrick’s stay in third was short-lived. On lap 8, heavy, white smoke erupted from his machine in Turn 1, prompting the second yellow flag.
On the restart, Leftwich and Hinson broke away nose-to-tail. Soon, however, Leftwich began to distance himself from the second-place car. At lap 12, Leftwich’s margin stood at five lengths.
The third caution flag appeared on lap 17 when Matthew Waltz slowed with mechanical problems after a three-way joust with Lubno and Robbie Parker.
The final yellow flag waved on lap 19 when Bobby Ferebee and Todd VanGuilder locked horns in Turn 2. At that point, officials began scoring the caution laps.
Returning to green, at lap 25, Leftwich jumped out to a 1-1/2-length lead. Within a couple laps, that margin had doubled.
Hinson suddenly dropped off the pace on lap 29 and tumbled down the running order. Eventually, he got his car back up to speed, but not before losing nearly three-quarters of a lap to the leader.
Hinson’s ill fortune left Leftwich with a large advantage over the rest of the field. At the finish, Leftwich’s margin of victory was a whopping 5.110 seconds over Harrell.
Gray was third to the line, but failed to clear the post-race inspection when officials detected an unapproved torque converter, resulting in his disqualification.
Roberts and Lubno, the principals in the race’s first caution-causing incident, rebounded to take third and fourth in the amended rundown, while Gene Smith rounded out the top five.
Ryan Crites took the lead on lap 6 and rolled to his second win in a 25-lapper for the Peninsula Hardwood Mulch INEX Legends, becoming the division’s first repeat winner this season.
Don McLaughlin started on the pole, at 77.730 mph, and led the first lap before giving way to Jeremy Cook, Crites and Nick Smith.
Crites tailed Cook until lap 5 when he launched a bid for the lead out of Turn 4. He slipped ahead of Cook in Turn 2 on lap 6 to take over the top spot. Smith grabbed second on lap 7, only to see Cook return the favor on the eighth circuit. The shuffle allowed Crites to extend his lead to 10 lengths.
On lap 10, Smith was back on the attack. He bypassed Cook and brought McLaughlin, Brian May and Steve Causey along with him, kicking Cook back to sixth.
McLaughlin moved by Smith for the runner-up spot on lap 12 and set off after Crites, who enjoyed a half-straightaway advantage.
Over the second half of the caution-free event, McLaughlin was able to narrow the gap somewhat. He never got close enough to contemplate a bid for the lead, however, as Crites won by 0.635-second.
Smith was third to the stripe, followed by Cook and Casey Wyatt, who was subbing for Rette Causey in the #33 car.
Shut out of Victory Lane for two straight races, Kevin Alves got back on the winning track in Saturday’s 25-lap E-Z Auto Rental UCAR race, leading all the way for his sixth win of the season.
Alves started on the pole, at 69.785 mph, and pulled ahead of front-row colleague Jamie Sample to take the lead in Turn 3 on the first lap. Randy Prillaman, who started third, also slipped ahead of Sample. The man on the move, though, was Matt Hockaday. Hockaday, the fifth-place starter, overhauled Prillaman on lap 2 to nab the runner-up spot.
In search of his first victory, Hockaday parked himself on Alves’ rear bumper and shadowed the leader until lap 5 when Alves managed to manufacture a little breathing room off Turn 2.
As the laps clicked off, Alves’ advantage only grew larger. By the halfway mark, he was up by nearly seven car-lengths over Hockaday.
Nearing the finish, Hockaday began to close on Alves, chopping the gap in half. In the end, though, it was too large of a deficit to overcome as Alves breezed to a 0.834-second win, while Hockaday settled for his fourth runner-up finish of the year.
Jamie Sample was third to the line. Since he had won the previous two races, Jamie’s brother, Randy Sample, had to start from the outside of Row 4. While he couldn’t extend his winning streak, Randy Sample did turn in a solid fourth-place performance. Robert Rusinyak completed the top five.
With a drafting boost from David Phelps, Danny Wyatt scored his second win of the year in a 20-lapper for the Kim Jusino, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts.
Greg Burgess was the pole-sitter for the event, at 62.904 mph (a new record for the division), but gave way to Dwain Smith on the start. With Greg Shaffer in tow, Smith led the first four circuits.
On lap 5, Smith briefly lost touch with his drafting partner and was easy prey for David Srednicki and Bobby Peach, who took over the top two spots. A lap later, Smith and Shaffer were bypassed by Wyatt and Phelps.
At the halfway mark, Srednicki and Peach were up by five lengths over Wyatt and Phelps. That margin rapidly dwindled, though. By lap 14, Wyatt and Phelps had run down the lead duo and were looking for an opening.
After looking to the high side a couple times, Wyatt finally took the low route in Turn 4 on lap 15. With Phelps providing the push, Wyatt grabbed the lead in Turn 2 on lap 16.
Srednicki and Peach tried to rally on lap 19, looking to the high side of Wyatt and Phelps. They came up empty, however.
At the finish, Wyatt was the winner by just 0.087-second over Phelps, who only broke out of line a few yards from the stripe. Srednicki and Peach were third and fourth, respectively, while Smith was 8.558 seconds back, in fifth.
• • •
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway
Allstate/Little GI Joe's Night Race Results Saturday, July 14, 2007
CROSSROADS FUEL SERVICE
LATE MODELS - 75 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (40) Mark Wertz; 75
2. (26) Danny Edwards; 75
3. (21) Anthony Warren; 75
4. (01) Jeff Shiflett; 75
5. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 75
6. (06) Dean Shiflett; 75
7. (15) Nick Smith; 75
8. (8) Jeff Sampson; 75
9. (2) Craig Eastep; 75
10. (88) Mitch Sarvis; 75
11. (12) Ross Clements; 74
12. (02) Chris Munger; 71
13. (34) Paul DeBolt; 65
14. (72) David Butler; 54
15. (53) Troy Hutcheson; 19
16. (67) Bobby Spivey; 14
17. (7) Mark Claar; 4
18. (08) Douglas Crigger; 4
19. (71) Ron Blackburn; 4
20. (38) Kim Forrester; 4
Pole: Mark Wertz - 86.882 mph.
DUNKUM'S MACHINE SHOP/SUPER 8 MOTELS
GRAND STOCKS - 40 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (92) Jason Leftwich; 40
2. (95) Danny Harrell; 40
3. (11) Chris Roberts; 40
4. (14) Paul Lubno; 40
5. (24) Gene Smith; 40
6. (19) Robbie Parker; 40
7. (44) Matt Slye; 40
8. (84) Brandon Carteret; 40
9. (81) Brandon Hinson; 40
10. (27) Bernie Fairchild; 40
11. (75) Jeff Driskill; 39
12. (29) Jack Robinson; 39
13. (77) Carl Livingston; 37
14. (23) Bobby Ferebee; 37
15. (12) Todd VanGuilder; 25
16. (4) Matthew Waltz; 15
17. (33) Hank Karwoski; 9
18. (8) Ricky Derrick; 7
19. (69) Connie Stanley; 2
DQ (43) David Gray; 40
(Finished third, but failed to clear
the post-race inspection.)
Pole: Jason Leftwich - 78.855 mph.
PENINSULA HARDWOOD MULCH
INEX LEGENDS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (00) Ryan Crites; 25
2. (21) Don McLaughlin; 25
3. (12) Nick Smith; 25
4. (27) Jeremy Cook; 25
5. (33) Casey Wyatt; 25
6. (22) Brian May; 25
7. (9) Steve Causey; 25
8. (30) Joe Hendricks; 25
9. (16) Chris Peterson; 25
10. (36) Kenny Tellez; 25
11. (18) R.J. Davis; 25
12. (25) Dale Blankenship; 25
13. (0) Steve Keesee; 10
14. (8) Jamie Price; 0
15. (87) Darrell Vance; 0
Pole: Don McLaughlin - 77.730 mph.
E-Z AUTO RENTAL UCARS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (84) Kevin Alves; 25
2. (68) Matt Hockaday; 25
3. (28) Jamie Sample; 25
4. (15) Randy Sample; 25
5. (43) Robert Rusinyak; 25
6. (26) Randy Prillaman; 25
7. (14) Dusty Connor; 25
8. (68) Chris Hildebrand; 25
9. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 25
10. (7) Buck Munger; 25
11. (25) Robbie Salas; 25
12. (89) Allen Dail; 25
13. (22) Donald Reynolds III; 24
14. (11) Jason Aukland; 24
15. (52) Chris Bechtel; 24
16. (27) Joe Reynolds; 24
17. (77) Andy Graham; 24
18. (64) Sara Langley; 24
19. (71) Theresa Butler; 24
20. (16) Ryan Leland; 24
21. (1) Jordon Bell; 24
22. (6) Wayne Lyon; 23
23. (66) Lauren Edgerton; 23
24. (29) Matt Bond; 12
Pole: Kevin Alves - 69.785 mph.
KIM JUSINO, REALTOR
HRKC PRO WINGED CHAMP KARTS - 20 laps
Fin. Pos. (Kart #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (8) Danny Wyatt; 20
2. (46) David Phelps; 20
3. (27) David Srednicki; 20
4. (28) Bobby Peach; 20
5. (33) Dwain Smith; 20
6. (17) Greg Shaffer; 20
7. (18) Cory Millard; 20
8. (02) David Millard; 20
9. (6) Greg Burgess Jr.; 20
10. (1) Casey Wyatt; 20
11. (52) Phillip Clarke; 20
12. (25) Adam Chalkley; 20
13. (23) Greg Burgess; 20
14. (81) Jeremy Grogg; 20
15. (21) Jason Houck; 19
16. (10) Daniel Millard; 18
17. (29) Ryan Hudgins; 16
Pole: Greg Burgess - 62.904 mph.