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Langley Speedway

Langley Speedway News
USG Night Race Report Saturday, Sept. 29
Sep 30, 2007 - updated Sep 30th, 2007 11:10am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey

Hampton, VA --

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway

Returning to Victory Lane for the first time since July 7, Danny Edwards picked up his eighth win of the season in the USG 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 was quickest in the afternoon qualifying session, claiming the pole with a lap at 87.068 mph. He shared the front row with Nick Smith. Mark Claar and Dean Shiflett made up the second row, while Shawn Balluzzo and Jeff Shiflett occupied Row 3. Mark Wertz, Edwards’ chief rival for the ‘07 Late Model crown, lined up seventh.
As the race got under way, Edwards immediately jumped out front, beating Smith in the drag race to Turn 1. Smith settled into second place, followed by Claar, Dean Shiflett and Balluzzo.
Fighting to stay alive in the title hunt, Wertz moved into the top five on lap 4 when he ducked under Balluzzo in Turn 2 and grabbed the fifth spot on the backstretch. Seven laps later, he and Dean Shiflett teamed up to bypass Claar.
At the head of the field, Edwards had fashioned a solid working margin over Smith and was keeping him at arm’s length. All the while, the lead duo was pulling away from the pack. By lap 25, they were up by five lengths over third-place Dean Shiflett.
The race was slowed by two caution flags, both of which waved on lap 42. The first one appeared when D.J. Valente had problems at the end of the back straightaway, while David Butler’s spin on the ensuing restart brought out caution #2.
Setting the lineup, Edwards was the leader, followed by Smith, Dean Shiflett, Wertz and Claar, who was getting pressure from sixth-place Casey Wyatt.
Back under green, Edwards quickly regained his two-length edge over Smith, while Wyatt snagged the fifth spot from Claar and set out after Wertz.
After working on Wertz for several circuits, Wyatt took over the fourth position on lap 61, just nosing ahead at the start/finish line. He cleared Wertz’s #40 machine through Turns 1 and 2 on the next lap.
At the front, Edwards was maintaining a consistent two-length margin over Smith. Heading into the closing circuits, though, traffic loomed ahead in the form of Ross Clements and Jeff Sampson.
While Smith closed in, Edwards patiently made his way around the slower machines and drove on to the win. At the stripe, he was up by 0.147-second over Smith. Dean Shiflett was third to the line, followed by Wyatt and Wertz.
Jeff Shiflett, Claar, Craig Eastep and Balluzzo were sixth through ninth, in that order, all finishing on the lead lap. Sampson was 10th in the final rundown, a lap off the pace.
In Victory Lane after the race, Edwards celebrated the end of his 10-race winless drought: “It seems like it’s been forever. It’s the first time we’ve been here on these new (American Racer brand) tires since the midway point of the season. We won three in a row there (on June 23 and 30 and July 7) and weren’t sure we were gonna get back here. I know we were working awful hard. The guys on this crew have worked awful hard and haven’t given up on me.”
Asked about Smith’s late-race charge in traffic, Edwards explained, “When we got up into that lapped traffic, I slowed down, just to be careful, and I knew he was gonna catch me. But, I figured if I could stay side-by-side with one of ‘em, we’d be OK to the end, so I wasn’t getting too worried about it. But, I knew Nick would drive me clean. He’s an excellent driver. He’s up-and-coming. Gotta thank all the guys that we race with here every week.”
Turning his thoughts to the track title, Edwards continued, “This is gonna be a tough championship to win. We’re hoping to get to it and, as long as we can get through next week without any problems, hopefully we can win another championship here. We definitely want to run good (in next week’s final race). We don’t want to back into it that way. We hope we can run good and not have any trouble. We don’t hope any misfortune on Mark, either. Him and I are great friends. We talk about it all the time and we work together, so it’s gonna be a good season either way.”
Second-place Smith was generally pleased with his outing, but felt that, with a different late-race strategy, it could’ve been just a bit better: “It was a great run. He had a strong car all night and I was just trying to ride behind him and I seen him pulling away, so I had to catch back up. The lapped cars actually came into my benefit tonight. I mean, I was actually able to run him down through the lapped cars and finally got him right there at the end. I should’ve got in it a little sooner. I waited ‘til about 10 to go before I started giving it all I had and I should’ve stepped in it about five more laps earlier.”
Third-place Dean Shiflett, who finished 1.5 seconds behind the winner, recounted his evening’s efforts: “Won’t bad, won’t bad. The car was a little loose in, tight in the middle and loose off, but we did the best we could do and that’s all we can do. We got one more left to try to get us a win, man. I’m hungry. Just a little bit more and we’ll be there.”
As Shiflett noted, next week’s 75-lapper will close the books on the 2007 Late Model season. Heading into Toyota Championship Saturday on Oct. 6, Edwards now holds a 34-point edge over Wertz in the title chase, 1,090-1,056. He’ll seal the deal by finishing 17th or better in the finale.

In the evening’s other feature events:

The victim of a cut tire in the early going, Steve Dill completed a stunning back-to-front run by taking the lead off the final corner to bag his sixth win in the 50-lap Med Express Urgent Care Super Street season finale. With the victory, Dill also claimed his second Super Street title in three years.
Coming into the event, Dill held a razor-thin, two-point lead over defending champ Tommy Sweeney, 504-502. With the tiebreaker advantage in hand, Dill needed to finish either ahead of or directly behind Sweeney to win the championship.
Sweeney was the pole-sitter for the race, qualifying at 74.838 mph. Randy Akers started alongside Sweeney on the front row, while Dill was deployed in the third slot.
On the start, Sweeney motored into the lead, leaving an opening to the inside of Akers. Dill stepped up to fill the void and came away with the second position, putting himself right where he needed to be to win the crown.
Dill wasn’t going to be satisfied with second, though. On lap 3, he poked a fender underneath the leader off Turn 2 in a bid for the lead. When they reached the end of the backstretch, however, Sweeney slammed the door, forcing Dill back in line.
The race was slowed by yellow flags at laps 13 and 15 as Sweeney and Dill continued to run 1-2.
Back under green after the second caution flag, Dill suddenly pulled to the high side of the track and ground to a halt in Turn 1 as the rest of the field streamed past. With the third yellow flag flying, he limped back around to the pits with a flat right-front tire. His crew replaced the offending tire and returned him to the track for the restart. Now, however, he was at the tail of the field and facing an uphill climb.
When the race resumed, Sweeney managed a one-length edge over Akers, the new second-place runner, who was getting a challenge from Jason Moore. Moore gained the runner-up spot on lap 24. The exchange allowed Sweeney to open a four-length gap, but, soon, Moore had erased that margin.
In the meantime, Dill was charging through the field on his way back toward the front. He returned to the top five on lap 27, grabbed fourth on lap 30 and took over third on lap 36.
Working the 38th circuit, Moore fell off the pace and Dill flashed past to regain second. The second-place shuffle allowed Sweeney to stretch his lead to half a straightaway.
Still determined to finish the campaign with a flourish, Dill set off after Sweeeney and, by lap 45, he was filling the leader’s mirror.
Dill took a look to the inside of Sweeney in Turn 2 on lap 47, but was rebuffed. On the next circuit, he was at it again, getting a better run off the second corner. A lapped car blocked his path, though, forcing him back in line.
On the final lap, Dill drove hard into Turn 3 and pulled alongside Sweeney. As the crowd rose to its feet, the two made contact and exited Turn 4, sideways and tires smoking.
While Sweeney fought to maintain control of his car, Dill surged ahead and won the race back to the checkers by 0.216-second — about a car-length — over Sweeney, who spun across the start/finish line. Akers, Larry Venable and Jessica Wood completed the top five.
In the final points tally, pending official verification, Dill took the ‘07 title by four over Sweeney, 554-550.

Nick Smith scored his fourth win of the season, and second straight, in the 25-lap season-ender for the Peninsula Hardwood Mulch INEX Legends, taking the lead on lap 6.
Cameron Patrick, in action at Langley for the first time since June, started on the pole and led the first five laps before giving way to Smith in Turn 3 on lap 6.
Coming off Turn 4, Patrick tried to regain the lead, ducking under Smith. Instead, the two made contact in Turn 1 on lap 7 and Patrick spun to bring out the first caution flag.
Patrick’s miscue handed the runner-up position to Steve Causey, who tailed Smith all the way to the finish. At the checkers, Smith was the winner by 0.258-second over Causey. Jeremy Cook was third, followed by Jamie Price and Brian May.
After qualifying fifth, points leader Ryan Crites opted to start at the rear of the 15-car field. He ran a conservative race and came home in eighth place, seemingly putting the wraps on the ‘07 Legends championship.
Following the race, though, Cook, who ended up second in the unofficial standings, filed a protest of Crites’ carburetor, putting the race results and championship in limbo. Crites’ carb will be sent to INEX for an inspection and a ruling.

Jamie Sample set a new division record in qualifying for the 25-lap E-Z Auto Rental UCAR feature, at 70.834 mph, then backed it up by delivering his third win of the season, and second in a row, leading from flag to flag.
While Jamie Sample showed the way, his brother, Randy Sample, waged a door-to-door battle with Randy Prillaman for second in the early going. Between laps 3 and 9 the two traded the runner-up spot five times with Randy Sample finally coming out on top.
After gaining the second position, Randy Sample pulled to within a couple car-lengths of his brother’s rear bumper, but could get no closer.

The last of the race’s three caution flags waved on lap 18 and gave Randy Sample one more opportunity to overtake his brother. Back under green, he looked to the high side of the leader, but couldn’t make the move pay off as Jamie Sample darted away by two lengths off Turn 2.
Nearing the finish, Jamie Sample began to encounter slower cars and Randy Sample closed in again. He was unable to muster a winning pass, though, and finished 0.190-second back, in the runner-up spot.
Kevin Alves was third to the line and clinched the 2007 UCAR championship. He heads into next weekend’s finale with an insurmountable 66-point advantage over Jamie Sample
Robert Rusinyak and Dusty Connor completed the top five. Prillaman, who ran among the leaders for much of the event, was done in by a cut tire on lap 16 and wound up 15th, dropping from second into a tie for third in the standings.

Spencer Saunders picked up his first win in the Kim Jusino, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Kart race. Due to three caution flags, which raised fuel mileage concerns for the entire field, the event was trimmed from 20 to 16 laps.
Pole-sitter Greg Burgess and Ryan Hudgins were the early leaders. Burgess showed the way for four laps before pitting under the second caution flag and turning the lead over to Hudgins.
Casey Wyatt, who qualified fourth, dropped back in the pack on the start to gather up drafting partners Saunders and David Phelps. Once those three linked up, they made short work of the field, rolling into the top three positions on lap 6.
The last of the race’s three caution flags was displayed on lap 15 when Adam Chalkley spun in Turn 2, then absorbed a wicked hit from Josh Harris. Fortunately, both drivers were able to walk away.
During the caution period, officials issued the call for a “green-white-checkered” finish when the race resumed.
Under green for the final time, Wyatt, Saunders and Phelps again bolted from the pack. They maintained their disciplined nose-to-tail formation until the white-flag lap when Wyatt reportedly ran short of fuel on the backstretch.
As Wyatt slowed, Saunders ducked low, while Phelps went to the high side. Saunders emerged with the lead. With the lead draft dissolving into disarray, though, other challengers quickly moved into contention.
At the checkers, Saunders hung on to win by 0.095-second — barely a kart-length — over Phelps. David Srednicki, Jeremy Grogg and Hudgins rounded out the top five.. Wyatt, the leader at the white flag, ended up sixth.
After the race, questions were raised about the final finishing order and the results were declared unofficial, pending a review by the HRKC.
• • •


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