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Langley Speedway News
DuctWorx/Kenny's Plumbing Night Race Report Saturday, July 21, 2007
Jul 22, 2007 - updated Jul 22nd, 2007 9:07am
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Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway -
The plot included a few new twists and turns, but the denouement was very familiar as Mark Wertz scored his fourth win of the season (and second in a row) in the DuctWorx/Kenny’s Plumbing 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service Late Models, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
The first surprise of the day came in afternoon time trials when Nick Smith in a Chevy and Paul DeBolt in a Ford snagged the front-row starting spots. Smith’s pole-winning speed was 87.095 mph. It marked the first time this season that a Dodge didn’t set the fast time.
Danny Edwards and Wertz made up an all-Mopar Row 2, while Greg Edwards’ Dodge and Anthony Warren’s Chevy were in Row 3. Less than a tenth of a second separated the top six qualifiers.
As the race got under way, DeBolt remained on Smith’s flank and nosed ahead to lead the opening lap. It was the first time all year that someone other than one of the “Dodge Boys” had been atop the leaderboard — a string of 1,050 circuits.
DeBolt cleared Smith in Turns 1 and 2 on the second lap. Smith settled into second, followed by Danny and Greg Edwards and Wertz.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 7 when Kim Forrester spun in Turn 2.
Back under green, DeBolt eked out a one-car-length edge over Smith. Soon, though, Smith made up the lost ground and the top five were bumper-to-bumper.
Smith brought the “Bowtie Brigade” to its feet on lap 15 as he slipped under DeBolt off Turn 2 and inched ahead at the start/finish line to take the lead. Within three laps, Smith had pulled away by half a straightaway.
The second yellow flag appeared on lap 19 for debris on the frontstretch. On the ensuing restart, sixth-place Jeff Sampson stopped in Turn 2 with a cut right-front tire, prompting the third yellow flag. During the caution period, Danny Edwards headed to the pits with tire issues of his own, dropping from third to 11th in the running order.
The next green-flag segment lasted until lap 46. During that span, Smith set a blistering pace, stretching his lead to a full straightaway. Behind him, Greg Edwards swiped second place from DeBolt on lap 25, while Wertz followed suit on the next lap.
DeBolt continued to fall back and finally ground to a stop with mechanical problems on lap 46, bringing out the fourth caution flag. Lining up for the restart, two lapped cars separated Smith and Greg Edwards.
As the race resumed, Smith took full advantage of the two-car buffer, bolting to a half-straightaway lead as Greg Edwards worked to free himself.
On lap 50, Wertz scooted to the inside of Greg Edwards at the end of the backstretch. He completed the pass off Turn 4 to take over the runner-up spot. The exchange allowed Smith to add a few more car-lengths to his already-sizable margin.
Caution #5 flew on lap 53 when Forrester looped his machine in Turn 4. As the field bunched for the restart, the top four — Smith, Wertz, Greg Edwards and Warren — were nose-to-tail with no lappers in the mix.
Returning to green, Wertz immediately went on the attack, taking a look to the inside of Smith in Turn 2, then falling back in line. A lap later, though, he was back at it, poking a fender alongside the leader as they headed down the backstretch.
Entering Turn 3, Smith and Wertz tangled and Smith spun to bring out the last of the race’s six caution flags. In a call that drew cheers from some and loud howls of protest from others, Wertz was positioned in the top spot for the ensuing restart.
Under green for the final time, Wertz jumped out to a two-length lead and the margin grew even larger as the field rumbled onto the backstretch.
With 15 laps to go, Greg Edwards tried to stage a rally, drawing to within two lengths of Wertz’s rear bumper. That’s as close as he would get, though, as Wertz won by 0.344-second.
Warren tailed the lead duo to the line, in third, while Shawn Balluzzo was fourth. Danny Edwards rebounded from his early-race misfortune to salvage fifth place.
Jeff Shiflett, Mitch Sarvis, Craig Eastep and Smith were sixth through ninth, respectively, the final drivers to complete the entire distance. Ross Clements was 10th, a lap down.
Greeted by a raucous mixture of cheers and boos as he exited his car in Victory Lane, Wertz offered his take on the incident with Smith: “If you look at Nick’s car, I was all the way up to his door and I was sitting there thinking, ‘I know he’s not gonna come down. I’ve got position on him all the way down the back straightaway.’ There’s no mark on his car, other than his door number. The NASCAR officials saw what happened. I mean, they’ve been wanting somebody other than a Dodge to win, so they, by far, aren’t gonna show any favoritism, other than do the right thing tonight. I hate that it happened. Nick and I are good friends. We’re both sponsored by the same guy. But, I got all the way up to his door and he just come down on me.”
Runner-up Greg Edwards backed up Wertz’s version of the incident: “I gotta thank Mark for a good race. He’s catching some slack, but I think that was kinda Nick’s deal. He was clear under him and Nick drove him in the dirt and I think Nick probably knows it now, but that’s OK. Nick had a heckuva car. If wouldn’t have got the cautions at the end, to me, Nick was just running away with the show. I couldn’t do anything with him.”
Of his own efforts at the end of the race, Edwards continued, “It was a good run. First time on the tires (the American Racers vs. the Goodyears) and I feel like me and Mark were fairly equal right at the end, but I just couldn’t get close enough to him to get the air away from him. We’ll try it again next week.”
Asked to compare the American Racer tires with the Goodyear Late Model Stock Car tires he runs at South Boston Speedway, Edwards offered a noncommittal response: “I don’t know. They’re black and they’re round and they’ve got air in ‘em.”
Third-place Warren, Smith’s teammate, declined to join the discussion of the Smith/Wertz tangle: “I think Nick might’ve had the better car. I’m not sure what happened there. I couldn’t really see around Greg. I had a pretty decent car. I think I just used it up too much, too early, trying to get to the front. I got shuffled back a little bit and I just burned the right-rear off of it trying to get up to the front. We can keep seeing ‘em. We’ve just gotta work on getting it a little better so we can get by ‘em.”
While Dodge’s “fast qualifier” and “laps led” streaks came to an end on Saturday, the brand’s winning streak continues, thanks to Wertz. Dodges are now 14-for14 in Langley Late Model races this year.
In the evening’s other feature events:
Thomas Stinson started on the pole, at 84.307 mph, and wired the field for his second win of the year in a 50-lapper for the B&C Seafood Modifieds as the division returned to action following a month-long hiatus.
The first half of the event was something of a caution-strewn mess with the yellow flag flying eight times in the first 24 laps. Among the casualties were Donnie Medlin, Chris Hoylman, Bubba Farmer and Jimmy Kibler.
After such an inauspicious beginning, the second half of the race went caution-free.
Back under green at lap 24, Stinson led a five-car breakaway at the front of the field. Second-place Buddy Emory stayed within striking distance of the leader until around lap 30 when Stinson was able to open a three-length advantage.
Emory closed to within a couple lengths on lap 36. After that, however, Stinson asserted himself and eased away from the pack.
At the finish, Stinson was the winner by 1.609 seconds — nearly half a straightaway. Emory was second, followed by Joe Scarbrough. Shawn Balluzzo, who started last in the 17-car field after not posting a qualifying lap, roared through the pack to take fourth. Rusty Wood completed the top five.
Ritchie German led all 50 laps to nab his second victory in a caution-free event for the Med Express Urgent Care Super Streets.
Starting on the pole, at 74.155 mph, German grabbed the lead in Turn 1 of the opening circuit, pulling ahead of Randy Akers, the outside pole starter. Tommy Sweeney moved up to second briefly, but gave way to Steve Dill at the end of lap 1.
On the second lap, Sweeney got caught on the outside of a three-wide joust with Akers and Jason Langley and ended up falling all the way back to sixth.
At the front, German enjoyed a four-length lead as he headed into lapped traffic for the first time on lap 8. Working with expert efficiency past the slower cars, he emerged on lap 11 with a half-straightaway advantage.
German’s margin over Dill remained fairly consistent until lap 22 when traffic entered the picture again. Dill pulled to within three lengths, but got no closer as German broke free and set sail, quickly rebuilding his half-straightaway lead.
German had one more anxious moment on the way to the winner’s circle when two lapped cars blocked his path on lap 44. It took a couple laps, and he gave up a few car-lengths of his lead, but German sorted through the situation and drove on to a 1.522-second victory.
Dill was second to the line, while Sweeney came back from his earlier misadventure to finish third. Akers and Langley rounded out the top five.
Craig Firman took the lead on a restart at lap 6 and sped to his sixth win in a 25-lap contest for the Cook’s Moving Service Super Trucks.
Tommy Nixon, who snapped Firman’s five-race winning streak in the previous event, started on the pole, at 74.427 mph, and took the lead on the opening lap. Late Model regular Paul DeBolt emerged from the shuffle in second, followed by Firman.
On lap 5, DeBolt drifted wide in Turn 4 and dropped off the pace as the field streamed past. A lap later, the first caution flag appeared when officials spotted a fuel leak on the truck of third-place John Hollis.
Back under green, Firman went after Nixon for the lead right away. He ducked to the inside of Nixon off Turn 2 and completed the pass through Turns 3 and 4.
The second, and final, yellow flag waved on lap 7 when Bill Wallace slapped the wall off Turn 2. Setting the running order, Firman was out front, followed by Nixon, Justin Ballo, Robbie Davis and Hugo Belfiore.
As the race resumed, Firman quickly grabbed a three-length advantage over Nixon. That margin never varied too much all the way to the end as Firman won by 1.029 seconds.
Nixon was the runner-up for the third time this year, while Ballo held off a charging Hollis by half a truck-length for third. Davis was fifth to the stripe.
Randy Bradsher started on the pole, at 79.149 mph, and rolled to his first win in the 25-lap Wolf Contractors Wolf Truck race, holding off six-time winner Jeff Sampson down the stretch.
Bradsher took the lead in Turn 1 on the first lap, leaving Michael Farmer to tussle with Sampson for second place. Sampson grabbed the runner-up spot on lap 5. By then, however, Bradsher was up by almost half a straightaway.
Sampson quickly erased Bradsher’s lead and, by the halfway mark, he was eagerly hunting for an opening.
With Sampson on his bumper, Bradsher tenaciously guarded the low groove, forcing Sampson to look to the high side. On a couple occasions, Sampson was able to slide a fender to the outside of the leader, but he couldn’t pull off the pass.
On the final lap, Sampson mustered one more hard charge into Turn 3 in an effort to overcome Bradsher. Midway through the corner, though, the back end of Sampson’s truck began to skate sideways.
Sampson’s bobble allowed Bradsher to pull away and he won by 0.578-second — about two truck-lengths. Sampson was second, followed by Farmer and Jeff Hellner.
• • •
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
DuctWorx/Kenny's Plumbing Night
Saturday, July 21, 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. (21) Anthony Warren; 75
4. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 75
5. (26) Danny Edwards; 75
6. (01) Jeff Shiflett; 75
7. (88) Mitch Sarvis; 75
8. (2) Craig Eastep; 75
9. (47) Nick Smith; 75
10. (12) Ross Clements; 74
11. (71) Ron Blackburn; 73
12. (38) Kim Forrester; 72
13. (8) Jeff Sampson; 68
14. (34) Paul DeBolt; 45
15. (06) Dean Shiflett; 3
Pole: Smith - 87.095 mph.
B&C SEAFOOD MODIFIEDS - 50 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (4) Thomas Stinson; 50
2. (44) Buddy Emory; 50
3. (30) Joe Scarbrough; 50
4. (57) Shawn Balluzzo; 50
5. (69) Rusty Wood; 50
6. (6) Buster Horne; 50
7. (36) Chris Johnson; 50
8. (51) Jason Eberth; 50
9. (88) Kerry Gilbert; 50
10. (19) Dwayne VanTassel; 50
11. (5) Michael Leech; 49
12. (39) Toby Davis; 49
13. (37) Jason Palmore; 45
14. (84) Donnie Medlin; 23
15. (42) Chris Hoylman; 23
16. (11) Bubba Farmer; 16
17. (65) Jimmy Kibler; 2
Pole: Stinson - 84.307 mph.
MED EXPRESS URGENT CARE
SUPER STREETS - 50 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (10) Ritchie German; 50
2. (3) Steve Dill; 50
3. (11) Tommy Sweeney; 50
4. (21) Randy Akers; 50
5. (54) Jason Langley; 50
6. (86) Jessica Wood; 50
7. (15) Dale Parro; 50
8. (5) Jason Moore; 50
9. (81) Jeff Shannon; 49
10. (16) Chris Flowers; 49
11. (58) Doug Woodyard; 49
12. (12) Sean Calway; 49
13. (22) Brad Skelding; 48
14. (7) Mike West; 48
15. (26) Mickey Evans; 48
16. (1) Kyle Waltz; 47
17. (8) Dennis Nagle; 47
18. (14) Larry Venable; 46
19. (09) Harry VanGuilder; 46
20. (05) Will Purhamus; 42
21. (2) Rod Busitzky; 35
22. (18) Dennis Nowak; 12
23. (41) Richard Ellis; 11
24. (39) Garrett Wilcox; 2
Pole: German - 74.155 mph.
COOK'S MOVING SERVICE
SUPER TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (5) Craig Firman; 25
2. (8) Tommy Nixon; 25
3. (55) Justin Ballo; 25
4. (96) John Hollis; 25
5. (10) Robbie Davis; 25
6. (15) Hugo Belfiore; 25
7. (77) John McDonald; 25
8. (90) Troy Turnage; 25
9. (1) Evan VanLeeuwen; 11
10. (21) Paul DeBolt; 6
11. (19) Bill Wallace; 6
Pole: Nixon - 74.427 mph.
WOLF TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (33) Randy Bradsher; 25
2. (8) Jeff Sampson; 25
3. (9) Michael Farmer; 25
4. (00) Jeff Hellner; 22
Pole: Bradsher - 79.149 mph.
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