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Langley Speedway

Langley Speedway News
Wertz notches 5th Late Model win in Toyota/Coke 75
Aug 5, 2007 - updated Aug 5th, 2007 10:22am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey

Hampton, VA --

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway

Toyota/Coca-Cola Night Race Report Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007

With an assist from a friendly caution flag, Mark Wertz picked up his fifth victory of the season in the Hampton Roads Toyota Dealers/Coca-Cola 75 for the Crossroads Fuel Service Late Models, the headlining event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
Wertz set the pace in afternoon time trials, lapping the .395-mile oval at 86.581 mph. He was joined on the front row by fellow Dodge driver and points leader Danny Edwards. Paul DeBolt and Jeff Sampson made up Row 2, while Nick Smith and Dean Shiflett launched from Row 3.
At the initial green flag, Wertz jumped out front, motoring ahead of Edwards as the field reached Turn 1 for the first time. Edwards settled into second, followed by DeBolt, Smith and Sampson. By lap 2, Wertz had already opened a three-length lead.
On lap 4, Smith ducked under DeBolt for third place. At the same time, Shawn Balluzzo worked his way to the inside of Sampson in a bid for fifth. As Smith cleared DeBolt, Balluzzo rushed in to fill the void. At the end of the circuit, Smith and Balluzzo were running third and fourth, respectively.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 5 as DeBolt ground to a halt in Turn 2 with a cut right-front tire. Setting the running order, Wertz was the leader, followed by Edwards, Smith, Balluzzo and Dean Shiflett.
Back under green, Jeff Shiflett went after his brother for the fifth spot. He took the position on lap 7 and brought Sampson along with him, dropping Dean Shiflett to seventh.
The second and third caution flag waved on laps 11 and 17.
As the race resumed, Wertz fashioned a three-length edge, while Smith moved up to challenge Edwards for the runner-up spot. After tailing the points leader for a couple laps, Smith slipped past on lap 19. Balluzzo followed Smith’s cue and bypassed Edwards for third on lap 20.
The shuffle allowed Wertz to pad his lead to four car-lengths. By lap 25, Smith had trimmed that gap in half. For the next 15 laps or so, the margin remained stable at two or three lengths.
Just past the halfway mark, Wertz encountered slower traffic and Smith closed in. Smith’s bobble in Turn 2 on lap 44, however, cost him some ground. He quickly made up the lost real estate and took a look to the inside of Wertz in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 48.
While that bid failed to produce any results, Smith was back at it again on lap 50. This time, he was able to poke a fender alongside Wertz off Turn 4. Wertz held the edge as they crossed the start/finish line. Smith kept digging in the bottom groove, though, and nosed ahead on lap 51.
Before the 51st circuit was in the books, the last of the race’s four caution flags waved as Douglas Crigger and Ron Blackburn pounded the Turn 3 wall. Scoring reverted to the last completed lap — lap 50 — and Wertz was returned to the head of the field.
Under green for the final time, Wertz and Smith bolted from the pack. Edwards, meanwhile, scooted past Balluzzo in Turns 1 and 2 to regain the third spot. Jeff Shiflett followed Edwards and moved into fourth.
On lap 53, Shiflett powered to the inside of Edwards on the backstretch and grabbed third place in Turns 3 and 4. Balluzzo tagged along with Shiflett and took over fourth, dropping Edwards to fifth.
At the front, Wertz was beginning to ease away from Smith. By lap 58, his lead had grown to almost half a straightaway.
In the closing laps, Wertz gave up a few car-lengths of his margin as he carefully navigated past slower machines. Smith wasn’t able to close to within striking distance, however, as Wertz won by 0.898-second — about five lengths. Jeff Shiflett followed Wertz and Smith to the checkers, in third, while Balluzzo and Edwards completed the top five.
Dean Shiflett was sixth in the final rundown, while DeBolt and Sampson were seventh and eighth, the final drivers to finish the entire distance. Ross Clements was a lap down in ninth and Kim Forrester was two laps back in 10th.
In Victory Lane after the race, a winded Wertz was asked about his prospects if the caution hadn’t flown on lap 51: “Well, it would have been a good run. My guys were telling me, ‘Don’t go yet. Don’t go yet.’ I seen he was there and I said, ‘I’m going.’ And, he said, ‘Nah, not yet.’ Nick got under us down there. That’s a testament, that boy’s gonna be one heckuva Late Model stock car driver. We rubbed tires and sent me up the racetrack. He drove me clean. Hats off to Nick.”
Runner-up Smith commented on chasing that elusive win — and the $1,300 bounty for the first non-Dodge Late Model winner: “I’m sooo close, week to week. Man, I just wanna get there. I’m driving so hard. I ain’t never drove this hard in my life, I swear. Langley Speedway’s one of the hardest tracks around here to drive. It’s flat, it’s fast. A ton of horsepower. Ain’t no tire. It’s all handling from there.”
While he was upbeat over his third-place outing, Jeff Shiflett couldn’t help but think back to one that might’ve gotten away: “It ain’t quite as good as last week. It’s always nice to get out there and lead some laps like we did last week and I felt like we could’ve won last week if it hadn’t been for the cut tire, but you never know. Third ain’t bad for tonight, coming from eighth. We missed the setup on qualifying a little bit, but we made a good comeback.”
With Wertz’s win, Dodges are now 16-for-16 in Langley Late Model features and the $1,300 bonus will remain safely tucked away for another week.

In the evening’s other feature events:

In the 50-lap Med Express Urgent Care Super Street race, Steve Dill led from flag to flag to capture his third victory of the year. It was his seventh straight top-two run.
Dill qualified on the pole for the event, at 74.260 mph, lining up to the inside of Randy Akers. Ritchie German and Jason Moore started in Row 2, while points leader Tommy Sweeney and Jason Langley occupied Row 3.
Led by Dill, the inside line got a tremendous jump at the start of the race as Dill, German and Sweeney grabbed the top three positions.
On lap 4, Sweeney slipped around German to take over second place. The exchange allowed Dill to open a five-car-length lead. Five laps later, the margin had swelled to almost half a straightaway.
The only caution flag appeared on lap 12 when smoke began trailing from Sean Calway’s car. Lining up for the restart, a lapped car separated Dill and Sweeney.
Back under green, Dill took advantage of the buffer and opened a two-car-length lead over Sweeney. By the halfway point, Dill had reclaimed his half-straightaway margin from earlier in the race.
On lap 27, Dill found himself trapped amidst a gaggle of slower machines and Sweeney began to narrow the gap. At lap 33, Sweeney had pulled to within a car-length.
Meanwhile, German, second in points coming into the night, was having his problems. Running third, he dropped three positions on lap 28 and two more on lap 29 before calling it a night. He was 20th in the official rundown.
Back at the front, Dill faced more lapped traffic on the 29th circuit. This time, though, he sliced through the slower machines and emerged with a four-length edge, well on his way to the victory.
At the finish, Dill was the winner by 1.027 seconds over Sweeney. Ricky Derrick qualified ninth, but left the track with his car after time trials and had to start last in the 23-car field. Undeterred, he roared up through the pack to come home in third. Moore and Langley were fourth and fifth, in that order, at the end.

Robbie Davis assumed the lead on lap 16 and drove on to his first victory of the season in a 25-lapper for the Cook’s Moving Service Super Trucks.
Tommy Nixon started on the pole, at 73.466 mph, but was nosed out by Craig Firman at the end of lap 1. Nixon battled back on the second circuit, though, and gained the clear-cut advantage off Turn 4.
As Nixon was pulling ahead, third-place John Hollis tried to fill the opening to Firman’s inside. Instead, the two made contact as they headed toward Turn 1. Hollis slowed with a cut right-front tire, while, behind him, Justin Ballo and Debbie Biesecker tangled to bring out the first caution flag.
Returning to green, Firman took a look to the inside of Nixon off Turn 2 before falling back in line. He continued to hound the leader until lap 16.
Working through Turns 3 and 4 on the 16th circuit, Firman and Nixon locked horns and Nixon spun, prompting the second, and final, caution flag. Both drivers were sent to the rear of the field for the restart, elevating Davis to the lead.
Under green for the dash to the finish, Davis quickly forged a one-length lead over Evan VanLeeuwen. Behind them, Ballo and Hollis were negotiating their way around a lapped truck.
Davis’ lead remained at one truck-length until the last couple circuits when he began to pull away. At the finish, he was the winner by 0.666-second over VanLeeuwen, who equaled his best run of the season. Ballo and Hollis were third and fourth, while Nixon and Firman rebounded from their scrape to take fifth and sixth.

Dwain Smith took the lead off the final corner and won a 20-lap contest for the Kim Jusino, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts.
Greg Burgess was the pole-sitter for the race, qualifying at 61.106 mph, and he jumped out front on the start with Smith, his front-row mate, in tow.
While there was plenty of scrambling and swapping of positions from third on back, Burgess and Smith maintained a disciplined, nose-to-tail draft. By lap 12, they were up by a full straightaway.
Smith didn’t break out of line until Turn 4 on the final circuit when he swung to Burgess’ outside. The two made contact and Smith surged ahead as smoke began to stream from Burgess’ kart.
At the finish, Smith was the winner by 0.530-second — a veritable blowout when it comes to the Champ Karts, where margins of victory are typically measured in thousandths of a second, not tenths.
Since he and Smith had such a big lead on the rest of the field, Burgess was able to nurse his kart across the line in second, despite the engine problems. He finally rolled to a stop on the backstretch on the cool-down lap.
Rob Cotic, the 17th-place starter, was third to the line, 7-1/2 seconds behind the winner. Jeremy Grogg and Bobby Peach rounded out the top five.

Jeff Sampson started on the pole, at 80.695 mph, and led all the way for his seventh win of the year in the 25-lap Wolf Contractors Wolf Truck feature.
Sampson jumped out front as the initial green flag waved and enjoyed a five-length advantage over Randy Bradsher when the race’s only caution flag appeared on lap 10.
Back under green, Sampson fashioned a two-length edge on Bradsher and began to ease away, eventually building the lead to four lengths.
Nearing the finish, however, Bradsher began to rally and the two were nose-to-tail at the beginning of the white-flag lap.
In Turn 2 for the last time, Bradsher’s truck bobbled just a bit. It was all that Sampson needed as he pulled away and won by 0.655-second — about three lengths.
Bradsher was second to the line, followed by Michael Farmer. Eric Schaffer was fourth, while early retiree Matt Carter was credited with fifth.

Casey Sipe took the lead on lap 12 and motored to the win as the Pro 6 Series closed out its 2007 Langley Speedway schedule with a 25-lapper.
D.J. Watson started on the pole, at 80.353 mph. On the opening lap, however, Sipe, the outside pole starter, nosed ahead to take the lead. Watson fought back on lap 2 and cleared Sipe as the leaders headed onto the backstretch.
Continuing to work the high side, Sipe pulled to the outside of Watson on lap 3. Watson was able to hold him at bay, though, and gained the clear-cut advantage through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 5.
On lap 11, Sipe switched tactics, ducking to the inside of Watson off Turn 4. The two went door-to-door for a lap with Sipe pulling ahead off the fourth corner on lap 12. Within half a lap, Sipe had already forged a two-length edge.
That margin remained fairly constant until the closing circuits when Sipe began to drive away. At the finish, he was the winner by four car-lengths over Watson. Tim Layne was third, followed by Warren Smigo and Kevin Wagner.
• • •

Race Results Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007

LATE MODELS - 75 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (40) Mark Wertz; 75
2. (21) Nick Smith; 75
3. (01) Jeff Shiflett; 75
4. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 75
5. (26) Danny Edwards; 75
6. (06) Dean Shiflett; 75
7. (34) Paul DeBolt; 75
8. (8) Jeff Sampson; 75
9. (12) Ross Clements; 74
10. (38) Kim Forrester; 73
11. (2) Craig Eastep; 55
12. (08) Douglas Crigger; 49
13. (71) Ron Blackburn; 49
Pole: Mark Wertz - 86.581 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (3) Steve Dill; 50
2. (11) Tommy Sweeney; 50
3. (0) Ricky Derrick; 50
4. (5) Jason Moore; 50
5. (54) Jason Langley; 50
6. (86) Jessica Wood; 50
7. (81) Jeff Shannon; 49
8. (58) Doug Woodyard; 49
9. (18) Dennis Nowak; 49
10. (21) Randy Akers; 49
11. (1) Kyle Waltz; 49
12. (26) Mickey Evans; 48
13. (7) Mike West; 48
14. (14) Larry Venable; 48
15. (38) Jeff LaBeau; 47
16. (91) Paul Phelps; 46
17. (09) Harry VanGuilder; 46
18. (2) Rod Busitzky; 45
19. (39) Garrett Wilcox; 40
20. (10) Ritchie German; 30
21. (12) Sean Calway; 11
22. (41) Richard Ellis; 4
DQ (16) Chris Flowers; 50
(Finished 6th, but failed to clear
post-race inspection.)
Pole: Steve Dill - 74.260 mph.

SUPER TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (10) Robbie Davis; 25
2. (01) Evan VanLeeuwen; 25
3. (55) Justin Ballo; 25
4. (96) John Hollis; 25
5. (8) Tommy Nixon; 25
6. (5) Craig Firman; 25
7. (77) John McDonald; 25
8. (19) Bill Wallace; 25
9. (14) Debbie Biesecker; 25
10. (90) Troy Turnage; 24
Pole: Tommy Nixon - 73.466 mph.

WOLF TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (8) Jeff Sampson; 25
2. (33) Randy Bradsher; 25
3. (9) Michael Farmer; 25
4. (3) Eric Schaffer; 24
5. (17) Matt Carter; 1
Pole: Jeff Sampson - 80.695 mph.

PRO 6 SERIES- 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (23) Casey Sipe; 25
2. (8) D.J. Watson; 25
3. (22) Tim Layne; 25
4. (41) Warren Smigo; 25
5. (45) Kevin Wagner; 25
6. (7) Matt Settlege; 25
7. (9) Josh Settlege; 25
Pole: D.J. Watson - 80.353 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Kart #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (33) Dwain Smith; 20
2. (23) Greg Burgess; 20
3. (27) Rob Cotic; 20
4. (81) Jeremy Grogg; 20
5. (28) Bobby Peach; 20
6. (45) Casey Wyatt; 20
7. (8) Danny Wyatt; 20
8. (46) David Phelps; 20
9. (29) Ryan Hudgins; 20
10. (18) Cory Millard; 20
11. (02) David Millard; 20
12. (1) Spencer Saunders; 20
13. (21) Jason Houck; 20
14. (01) Dennis Nash; 20
15. (25) Adam Chalkley; 20
16. (17) Greg Shaffer; 19
17. (10) Daniel Millard; 19
18. (5) Craig Brown; 19
19. (77) Eddie Mitchell; 19
20. (52) Phillip Clarke; 15
21. (6) Greg Burgess Jr.; 11
Pole: Greg Burgess - 61.106 mph.

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