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Langley Speedway News
Johnson nabs 3rd Mod win; Venable breaks through with Super Street victory
Jun 8, 2008 - updated Jun 8th, 2008 10:45am
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey
Hampton, VA --
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway
Law Enforcement Night presented by Langley Federal Credit Union and Craftsman Race Report Saturday, June 7, 2008
Urged by his team to practice patience, Chris Johnson took the message to heart and came away with his third victory of the season in the Langley Federal Credit Union 50 presented by Craftsman for the B&C Seafood Modifieds, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
Johnson set the pace in afternoon time trials, clocking in at 84.668 mph. He shared the front row with Rusty Wood. Buster Horne Jr. and Shawn Balluzzo made up Row 2, followed by Joe Scarbrough and Michael Leech in Row 3.
On the initial start, Wood nosed ahead of Johnson at the end of lap 1. Behind them, however, Danny Baker spun in the middle of Turns 3 and 4, bringing out what would turn out to be the race’s only caution flag. A full, double-file restart was ordered.
Under green for a second time, Wood leaped ahead of Johnson as the field rolled through the first and second corners. Johnson settled into second, followed by Balluzzo, Scarbrough and Horne. By lap 3, Wood had fashioned a three-length edge over Johnson.
At lap 15, Wood was still up by nearly three lengths and Balluzzo was pressuring Johnson for the second spot. Johnson got the wakeup call and began to close in on Wood as the leader worked past slower traffic.
Wood freed himself of the lapped machines on the 19th circuit, but he couldn’t shake Johnson, who lingered just a car-length back.
Coming to the crossed flags, Johnson slipped a bit off Turn 4, allowing Wood to stretch his advantage to two lengths. Soon, though, Johnson was right back on his bumper.
On lap 27, Johnson launched a bid for the lead, ducking low on Wood off the fourth turn. As they reached the other end of the front straightaway, Wood left Johnson some running room to the inside. Johnson drew even and took the lead off Turn 2.
As Johnson pulled ahead, Balluzzo moved to fill the opening to Wood’s inside. He snagged the runner-up position on lap 29. The exchange allowed Johnson to pad his lead to nearly half a straightaway.
On lap 33, Johnson waded into traffic. Working lap 34, he found himself boxed in and Balluzzo closed to within a car-length. The anxious moment lasted until lap 37 when the two front-runners broke into the clear.
With some room to operate, Johnson eased away from Balluzzo. By lap 42, he had widened the gap to five car-lengths. Balluzzo chopped a couple lengths from that margin on lap 47 as Johnson carefully navigated past a slower car, only to see Johnson extend the lead again.
At the finish, Johnson was the winner by 1.051 seconds — about five lengths. Balluzzo was the runner-up, while Wood held off a challenge from Scarbrough to take third. Horne rounded out the top five. Baker was sixth, the final driver on the lead lap.
In Victory Lane after the race, Johnson explained his orders for the event: “The last couple weeks, I’ve been a little impatient and have had some bad luck and torn the car up a couple times. Bret Hamilton’s been able to put this car back together for us. They all keep preaching at me, ‘Be patient,’ so tonight I sat back there and rode, like I did earlier this year, and it paid off.”
Asked about falling behind Wood on the start, Johnson reiterated his mantra for the night: “They keep preaching to me, ‘Patience, patience and patience.’ When he got by me, I just kinda let him ride and I just sat there and rode. Shawn got up to me and put some pressure on me and that told me it was time to go, so we tried to pick it up a little bit and it ended up working out great.”
In the evening’s other feature events:
Larry Venable took the lead for good on lap 26 and sped on to his first victory in a 50-lapper for the Bass Pro Shops Super Streets.
Randy Akers topped time trials for the division, at 74.720 mph, to grab the pole. Venable was second-fastest, followed by Randy Sample, Jessica Wood and Ryan Nester.
As the race got under way, Akers immediately jumped into the lead. Venable dropped in line in second, while Sample and Wood went door-to-door for third. Sample gained the third spot on lap 2 and left the door open for Nester, who bypassed Wood for fourth.
By lap 6, Akers had forged a four-car-length lead over Venable, who enjoyed a half-straightaway edge over third-place Sample. On the next circuit, though, the first caution flag waved and bunched the field.
Back under green, Akers quickly pulled off by two lengths, while Sample moved up to challenge Venable for second. Sample’s bid was unsuccessful and, two laps later, he gave way to Nester and Wood. Caught on the high side, he tumbled to eighth before finding a place in line.
Akers’ stint in the top spot came to an end on lap 15 when he and Venable locked horns off Turn 2. Akers spun to bring out the second caution flag, handing the lead over to Venable. Nester moved up to second for the restart.
As the race resumed, Venable and Nester pulled away, while Sean Calway hounded Wood for third place. Calway snagged the position on lap 16, but faced a half-straightaway deficit to the lead duo.
On lap 21, Nester went after Venable for the lead, driving low off the fourth turn. He motored alongside Venable through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 22, inched ahead at the stripe and gained the clear-cut edge on lap 23.
The complexion of the event took another turn on lap 26 when Nester tangled with a lapped car in Turn 3 and spun, prompting the third caution flag. With Nester falling to the back of the pack, Venable regained the lead. Setting the lineup, Venable was first, followed by Calway, Dale Parro and Wood.
Back under way, Venable managed a two-length advantage over Calway. Behind them, Jamie Sample went after Wood for fourth place. A bobble in Turn 4 blunted Sample’s charge, though, and he fell back to ninth in the running order.
On lap 34, Wood tracked down and overhauled Parro for third place. Meanwhile, at the front, Venable enjoyed a five-length lead over Calway.
The last of the race’s four caution flags appeared on lap 43 when Parro spun off Turn 2. As the field gathered for a sprint to the finish, Venable, Calway, Wood and Jonathan Mullett made up the top four, while Nester had clawed his way back into fifth.
Under green for the final time, Wood ducked to the inside of Calway and swiped second. Behind them, Nester completed a high-side pass of Mullett to take fourth, then grabbed third from Calway.
The furious swapping of positions worked in Venable’s favor. He gained a three-length edge on the restart and maintained that margin to the checkers, winning by 0.835-second over Wood. Nester was third, followed by Calway and Mullett.
Charlie Barclay was the winner of a 25-lap feature for the Med Express Urgent Care Super Trucks. He started on the pole, at 74.548 mph, and led all but half a lap. The victory was Barclay’s third of the season.
Hugo Belfiore, Barclay’s front-row colleague, got the drop on the pole-sitter as the race got under way, leaping ahead before the field reached Turn 1 for the first time.
Exiting Turn 2, though, Barclay flexed his muscle and shot into the lead. By lap 9, he had pulled away by six lengths.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 10 for debris. As the field gathered for the restart, Barclay and Belfiore ran 1-2, followed by Tommy Nixon, Robbie Davis and Brad Adams.
Back under green, Barclay quickly opened a three-length lead over Belfiore. Coming around to complete lap 11, Belfiore skated wide off Turn 4 and caused a brief stackup. Robbie Davis emerged from the scramble in second, followed by Belfiore, Adams and Nixon. While all of this was happening, Barclay was steadily driving away, extending his lead to nearly a full straightaway.
On lap 14, Belfiore turned onto the pit lane and gave up third place to Adams, who was busy fighting off a challenge from Nixon.
The second, and final, yellow flag flew on lap 22 when Nixon and Adams tangled at the start/finish line and Adams spun, clipping the inside wall.
Under green for a quick dash to the checkers, Barclay opened a four-length lead over Davis and eased to a half-straightaway victory. Nixon was third to the line, followed by Debbie Biesecker and Cory Millard.
Matt Hockaday started on the pole, at 69.518 mph, and led all the way for his second straight victory in the 25-lap E-Z Auto of Newport News UCAR race.
Dusty Connor started alongside Hockaday on the front row and stayed on the pole-sitter’s flank until they reached Turn 4 on the opening lap. Exiting the corner, Hockaday gained the clear-cut advantage and brought Robert Rusinyak along with him, leaving Connor in a third-place tussle with Renno Marchetti IV.
On lap 4, having dispensed with Connor, Marchetti went after Rusinyak for second and grabbed the spot in Turns 1 and 2. Meanwhile, Hockaday was steadily building his lead. By lap 10, his margin had grown to nearly half a straightaway.
The first caution flag waved on lap 11 when Chris Hildebrand ground to a halt in the middle of the backstretch.
On the restart, Hockaday quickly established a two-length edge over Marchetti, then began to ease away. He was up by four lengths as the field received the crossed flags, signifying the halfway mark.
The second yellow flag flew on lap 15 as Trey Taylor slowed to a crawl along the back straightaway.
Only two more laps were in the books when the third, and final, caution flag appeared for a multi-car mess in Turns 3 and 4. Sammy Gaita was the star of that melee as he ran up and over the nose of Mike Joyner’s machine and nearly overturned.
Back under green, Hockaday again showed his strength, pulling away by three lengths as Marchetti, Connor and Rusinyak raced nose-to-tail behind him. Soon, Marchetti broke away from that battle and began to inch closer to the leader.
By lap 19, Marchetti had drawn to within two lengths of Hockaday. As they exited Turn 4, however, Marchetti slipped just a bit and Hockaday instantly doubled his lead to four lengths.
At the finish, Hockaday had stretched his winning margin to six car-lengths over Marchetti. Connor was third, while Robbie Salas and Randy Prillaman bypassed Rusinyak on lap 21 and came home in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Dannie Wyatt picked up his third win in the evening’s opening contest, a 20-lapper for the Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts.
Chuck Weeks was the pole-sitter for the race, qualifying at 61.314 mph. Wyatt lined up to his outside. Greg Burgess and Ryan Hudgins made up Row 2, while Adam Chalkley and Spencer Saunders shared Row 3.
On the start, Weeks gained the early advantage. Wyatt, Hudgins and Saunders linked up in a tight draft to the outside, though, and seized command of the event at the end of the second circuit. The top three were soon joined by Burgess and Chalkley. By lap 8, the top five had put half a straightaway between themselves and Weeks, who had dropped to sixth.
The lead draft remained a five-kart affair until lap 14 when Burgess and Chalkley were briefly stymied by slower machines and lost contact with the front three. Two laps later, Chalkley bypassed Burgess to take over fourth.
At the front, Wyatt, Hudgins and Saunders remained locked together, bumper-to-bumper, until the final circuit.
Heading into the Turn 3 for the last time, Wyatt powered away from his two drafting partners by a kart-length. It was all the advantage he would need as he rolled on to a 0.124-second win. Hudgins, Saunders, Chalkley and Burgess completed the top five.
• • •
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Langley Speedway
Law Enforcement Night presented by Langley Federal Credit Union and Craftsman Race Results Saturday, June 7, 2008
B&C SEAFOOD MODIFIEDS - 50 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (36) Chris Johnson; 50
2. (57) Shawn Balluzzo; 50
3. (69) Rusty Wood; 50
4. (30) Joe Scarbrough; 50
5. (9) Buster Horne Jr.; 50
6. (21) Danny Baker; 50
7. (20) Cameron Patrick; 49
8. (26) Steve McGuire; 49
9. (23) Greg Burgess; 47
10. (33) Rob Wells; 41
11. (5) Michael Leech; 31
12. (88) Kerry Gilbert; 17
Pole: Johnson - 84.668 mph.
BASS PRO SHOPS SUPER STREETS - 50 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (14) Larry Venable; 50
2. (3) Jessica Wood; 50
3. (51) Ryan Nester; 50
4. (12) Sean Calway; 50
5. (95) Jonathan Mullett; 50
6. (02) Jeramie Wood; 50
7. (28) Jamie Sample; 50
8. (21) Randy Akers; 50
9. (18) Dennis Nowak; 50
10. (24) Randy Sample; 50
11. (15) Dale Parro; 50
12. (58) Doug Woodyard; 50
13. (09) Harry VanGuilder; 50
14. (39) Garrett Willcox; 49
15. (2) Rod Busitzky; 49
16. (44) Allen Everett; 25
17. (10) Ritchie German; 14
18. (5) Gene Greubel; 6
19. (9) Paul Phelps; 6
Pole: Akers - 74.720 mph.
MED EXPRESS URGENT CARE SUPER TRUCKS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Truck #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (33) Charlie Barclay; 25
2. (17) Robbie Davis; 25
3. (8) Tommy Nixon; 25
4. (14) Debbie Biesecker; 25
5. (18) Cory Millard; 25
6. (2) Chase McAdams; 25
7. (20) Buck Munger; 24
8. (51) Brad Adams; 21
9. (15) Hugo Belfiore; 16
10. (19) Bill Wallace; 10
11. (21) Rick Potter; 2
Pole: Barclay - 74.548 mph.
E-Z AUTO OF NEWPORT NEWS UCARS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (68) Matt Hockaday; 25
2. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 25
3. (14) Dusty Connor; 25
4. (25) Robbie Salas; 25
5. (26) Randy Prillaman; 25
6. (89) Allen Dail; 25
7. (43) Robert Rusinyak; 25
8. (11) Jason Aukland; 25
9. (57) Ben Zoellner; 25
10. (24) Lauren Edgerton; 25
11. (20) Mike Joyner; 25
12. (1) Johnny Pereira; 25
13. (29) Matt Bond; 25
14. (12) Paul Hogge; 25
15. (42) John Gonsalves; 25
16. (7) Chris Spangler; 25
17. (3) John Reardon; 25
18. (34) Thomas Nance; 25
19. (77) Andy Graham; 25
20. (2) Michael Waters; 24
21. (84) Randall Feher; 23
22. (82) Sammy Gaita; 15
23. (91) Frank Silva; 15
24. (00) Trey Taylor; 14
25. (88) Ron Shumate; 13
26. (69) Chris Hildebrand; 10
27. (75) Greg Pass; 3
Pole: Hockaday - 69.518 mph.
RHONNDA CLAIBORNE, REALTOR HRKC PRO WINGED CHAMP KARTS - 20 laps
Fin. Pos. (Kart #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (8) Dannie Wyatt; 20
2. (29) Ryan Hudgins; 20
3. (1) Spencer Saunders; 20
4. (25) Adam Chalkley; 20
5. (23) Greg Burgess; 20
6. (46) David Phelps; 20
7. (31) Chuck Weeks; 20
8. (07) Casey Wyatt; 20
9. (21) Jason Houck; 20
10. (55) Ron Foxx; 20
11. (9) Eddie Mitchell; 20
12. (99) Chris O'Brien; 20
13. (52) Phillip Clarke; 20
14. (80) Jake Harberts; 19
15. (13) Chris Conley; 19
16. (33) Dwain Smith; 19
17. (08) Tommy Sweeney; 19
18. (12) Lee Banks; 19
19. (89) Shawn Gervais; 19
20. (7) Mark Roberts; 2
21. (88) Daniel Millard; 2
22. (3) Rette Causey; 0
Pole: Weeks - 61.314 mph.
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