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Langley Speedway

Langley Speedway News
Hampton Heat 200 Race Report With Photo
Jul 12, 2009 - updated Jul 12th, 2009 9:23pm
Web posted by Gary Daughtrey

Hampton, VA --

Photo by: Bruce Albin

Woody Howard grabbed the lead on lap 183 and showed the way to his first victory of the season in the Second Annual Hampton Heat 200 for the Crossroads Fuel Service Late Model Stock Cars, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.

Nick Smith, the winner in last year’s inaugural edition of the race, qualified at 86.994 mph to nab the pole position for Saturday’s event. Points leader C.E. Falk was second-quickest, only five-thousandths of a second off Smith’s pace. Paul DeBolt and Danny Edwards Jr. made up Row 2, while Howard launched from fifth on the 27-car grid.

As the race got under way, Smith gained the early advantage, pulling ahead of Falk as the field spilled onto the backstretch for the first time. Falk quickly slid in line, in second, followed by DeBolt, Howard and Edwards.

The event was interrupted at laps 5 and 13 as Robbie Babb spun, first in Turn 2, then in Turn 4, prompting a pair of yellow flags.

Back under green, at lap 16, Smith forged a two-length margin over Falk, while Howard went to work on DeBolt. Howard snagged the third position from DeBolt on lap 18 and set off after the lead duo.

Coming around to complete lap 22, Falk initiated a bid for the lead, ducking underneath Smith off the fourth corner. The battle lasted less than a lap as Falk cleared Smith in Turns 3 and 4 on lap 23. The exchange allowed Howard to close up on Smith’s bumper, making the tussle for the top spot a three-way affair.

The third caution flag was displayed on lap 36 for Wesley Falk’s spin in Turn 1. On the ensuing restart, Stacy Puryear, the eighth-place runner, lost an engine in Turns 1 and 2 and the yellow flag quickly reappeared.

On the restart, Falk, Smith and Howard bolted from the pack, while Edwards stepped up to challenge DeBolt for fourth. After shadowing DeBolt for about 10 laps, Edwards took over the fourth spot on lap 58. Caught to the outside, DeBolt tumbled all the way to 16th before he could steady the ship. Meanwhile, Mark Wertz, who started 11th, was on the move, taking fourth from Edwards on lap 61.

Nearing the halfway mark, the leaders began to encounter slower cars. Falk successfully navigated past the lapped cars and maintained a lead of 3-4 lengths over Smith.

The caution flag appeared on lap 101, signaling the beginning of a 15-minute break. At the midpoint, Falk was the leader, followed by Smith, Howard, Wertz and Edwards. Over half of the starting field remained on the lead lap.

For the start of the second half, the field was placed in double-file formation with Falk and Smith occupying the front row.

Returning to green, Falk shot ahead as the pack reached Turn 1. Howard rushed to fill the opening to the inside of Smith and the battle for second was on. Howard cleared Smith on lap 104, then turned his attention to Falk, who had opened a five-length lead.

The sixth yellow flag waved on lap 111 when Rick Gdovic and Bobby Spivey tangled in Turn 4.

Back under way, Falk eked out a slight edge over Howard, while Edwards went after Wertz for fourth place. Edwards finally slipped under Wertz on lap 120, nosed ahead on lap 121 and cleared Wertz’s machine on lap 122 to gain the spot.

Caution #7 appeared on lap 123 when Jeff Shiflett and Mitch Sarvis locked horns in Turn 3.

On the restart, Falk, Howard and Smith bolted from the pack. Reaching the backstretch, Falk and Howard teamed up to open a two-length gap over Smith, who had a mirror-full of Edwards.

On lap 134, Edwards poked his nose to the inside of Smith in a bid for third. The two made contact in Turn 1 and skittered up the track, opening the door for Wertz, who moved into third. Eventually, Smith looped his machine and collected Greg Edwards, the sixth-place runner. The incident triggered an overheating problem for Smith and he parked his car for the night, retiring to a 21st-place finish.

After four more green-flag laps, the race’s ninth, and final, caution flag flew on lap 144 when DeBolt and Gdovic tangled in Turn 1 and Gdovic spun.

The race went under the green flag for the last time on lap 147. Falk immediately gained a two-length advantage, only to see Howard narrow the gap.

All of the leaders endured an anxious moment on lap 155 as they had to take evasive action in Turn 4 to avoid DeBolt, who was slowing to bring his car into the pits. Third-place Wertz came out on the short end of the exchange, giving up his position to Edwards.

After following in Falk’s tire tracks for much of the second half, Howard took a run at the leader on lap 183, driving under Falk off Turn 2 and pulling out front off Turn 4. Falk wasn’t about to give up the point that easily, however, driving back under Howard on lap 185.

With lapped cars looming ahead and Edwards closing in from behind, Howard and Falk dueled until lap 190 when Howard gained the upper hand. Sensing an opportunity, Edwards slipped underneath Falk, looking for second place. He was forced back in line by a lapped car, though, as Falk held the position.

In the closing laps, the leaders had more traffic to deal with. Howard was afforded some breathing room, however, as Edwards hounded Falk for the runner-up spot.

At the checkers, Howard was the winner by 1.001 seconds — about four lengths — over Falk. Edwards was third, while Wertz came home in fourth. Eddie Johnson, who started 19th, was fifth to the stripe, trimming Greg Edwards by half a car-length.

Dean Shiflett, Doug Godsey, Terry Carroll and K.C. Cunningham were seventh through 10th, respectively, and Matt Waltz finished 11th, the final driver to complete the entire distance.

For his winning drive, Howard collected $10,000 from the purse of about $33,000. He also delivered a second straight Hampton Heat 200 victory for his car owner, James Long, who fielded Smith’s entry in ‘08.

After the race, Howard commented on his efforts: “We’ve been working hard and it ain’t showed. And, we finally had to put a clip on the car ‘cause we got in that wreck (on June 20) and, I mean, I guess that was the problem the whole time, I don’t know. But, it definitely drove a whole lot better tonight than it ever has. It doesn’t even feel like the same car. James Long has real good cars, so I’m just happy I could finally get him back in Victory Lane.”

Asked to detail the winning pass, Howard continued, “I was just trying to save my tires as much as I could and I didn’t know if I had anything for him or not ‘cause he was tough. I guess, there at the end, maybe he used his up a little bit more than I did. I was able to judge off of him, so I was able to save a little bit more than he could. If I’d have been leading, he might’ve done the same thing to me. I was sitting exactly where I wanted to sit. I wanted to finish third in the first one, so I could be lined up on the inside row for the second one. Then, I just wanted to ride around and it worked out perfect.”

Meanwhile, a dejected Falk offered his perspective on the closing circuits: “The right-front gave up. I went too hard, a little too quick, right there with 30 to go and I just burned it up. It’s my fault.”

Despite his disappointment, Falk still managed to add two points to his lead in the division standings. After nine races, he enjoys a 26-point edge, 432-406, over Danny Edwards Jr. Greg Edwards and Wertz are third and fourth, respectively.

In the evening’s other feature races:

Ryan Nester started on the pole, at 74.302 mph, and led from wire-to-wire to run his unbeaten streak to seven in the 50-lap Atlantic Power Sweeping Super Street race.

Nester shared the front row with Randy Sample and powered into the lead in Turn 1 on the opening lap. Sample, meanwhile, was trapped on the high side and slid to fifth before finding a place in line.

Ricky Derrick, Jonathan Mullett and Jeramie Wood all took turns in the runner-up spot during the first half of the event, which was caution-free. As the laps clicked off, Wood, who took over second place on lap 18, began to close in on Nester, slicing his lead from over half a straightaway to just three lengths.

Caution flags on laps 26, 36 and 40 allowed Nester to regroup, however. Also, during the last caution period, Wood was directed to the pits when officials detected a leak from his machine. Wood returned to log four more laps before retiring for the evening.

With Wood having his troubles, Mullett returned to the runner-up position. On the final restart, he fell three lengths behind Nester, then began to make up ground.

Mullett wasn’t able to get close enough to attempt a pass, however, as Nester won by 0.506-second — about two lengths. Sean Calway came from the eighth starting spot to take third, followed by Sample and John Foster Jr.

Steve Keesee took the lead for good on lap 20 and rolled to his second win of the year in a 25-lap contest for the Casey Cycle City INEX Legends.

Gunning for his third straight win, Brad Hancock started on the pole, at 78.007 mph, and paced the first 15 laps. Keesee started alongside Hancock, slipped to third on lap 1, then regained the spot on lap 9. He actually bypassed Hancock on lap 12, only to see the move negated by the race’s first caution flag.

On lap 16, Keesee officially took the lead for the first time. He drove under Hancock at the end of the backstretch and pulled ahead off Turn 4. Two laps later, though, Hancock returned the favor.

The last of the race’s three caution flags flew on lap 19 when Rette Causey lost an engine, in spectacular fashion, along the frontstretch. Spencer Saunders was collected in the mishap, slapping the Turn 1 wall.

Under green for the last time, Keesee tracked Hancock for a lap, then went after the lead in Turns 3 and 4 on lap 20. He cleared Hancock in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 21 and motored away as Jamie Price moved up to challenge Hancock for second.

Hancock quickly dispensed with Price and set off after Keesee, drawing to within a half-length of the leader. That’s as close as he would get, though, as Keesee held on to win by 0.135-second. Hancock was second, followed by Price, Sparky West and Chris Raiford.

Adam Florian started on the pole, at 71.004 mph, and led flag-to-flag for his third victory of the season in a 25-lapper for the EZ Auto of Newport News UCARs.

Chris Hildebrand shared the front row with Florian and remained on the pole-sitter’s flank until they reached the backstretch on lap 1. Heading toward Turn 3, Florian gained the edge and left the door open for Randy Prillaman, who overtook Hildebrand on lap 2.

The race was slowed by caution flags at laps 3, 8 and 9. On the restart following the second caution period, Prillaman failed to come up to speed immediately and lost second place to Hildebrand. He would regain the position on lap 12, though.

While Prillaman and Hildebrand tussled over second place, Florian enjoyed smooth sailing at the head of the pack, driving off by almost half a straightaway.

Over the second half of the race, Florian had lapped traffic to contend with, allowing Prillaman and Hildebrand to close the gap a bit. It wasn’t nearly enough, though, as Florian sped to the win.

At the checkers, Florian was 1.377 seconds — about five lengths — ahead of Prillaman. Hildebrand was third, followed by Dusty Connor and Allen Dail.

In the 20-lap Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Kart feature, Spencer Saunders picked up the lead on lap 2 and showed the way to his first win of the season.

Bill Dailey drew the pole and led the first lap before Saunders took command of the event with a drafting boost from Tim Benefield and Adam Chalkley.

The lead draft of three came a bit unhinged on lap 6 when Chalkley scooted by Benefield on the backstretch. The shuffle allowed a second pack, led by Dannie Wyatt, to catch up to the front-runners. Soon, though, order was restored among the lead trio and they began to pull away again.

On lap 11, David Phelps and Jake Harberts motored past Wyatt to take over fourth and fifth. They faced an uphill climb, however, as Saunders, Chalkley and Benefield were nearly half a straightaway ahead.

Over the remaining circuits, Phelps and Harberts were able to make up some ground on the leaders, but they never got close enough to pose a serious threat.

At the finish, Saunders was the winner by 0.080-second — a single kart-length — over Chalkley, who tried a high-side pass off the final corner, but came up short. Benefield was third, while Phelps and Harberts completed the top five.

Full Results:

** Hampton Heat 200 **
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (21) Woody Howard; 200
2. (40) C.E. Falk; 200
3. (26) Danny Edwards Jr.; 200
4. (55) Mark Wertz; 200
5. (57) Eddie Johnson; 200
6. (27) Greg Edwards; 200
7. (06) Dean Shiflett; 200
8. (05) Doug Godsey; 200
9. (90) Terry Carroll; 200
10. (61) K.C. Cunningham; 200
11. (4) Matt Waltz; 200
12. (1) Kyle Waltz; 199
13. (17) John Staton; 199
14. (02) Jordan Wood; 197
15. (01) Jeff Shiflett; 197
16. (97) Matt Midgett; 197
17. (80) Mitch Sarvis; 196
18. (64) Rick Gdovic; 192
19. (41) Wesley Falk; 167
20. (34) Paul DeBolt; 154
21. (88) Nick Smith; 134
22. (47) Bobby Spivey; 123
23. (96) Bruce Livingston; 102
24. (10) Casey Wyatt; 101
25. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 71
26. (84) Stacy Puryear; 42
27. (44) Robbie Babb; 9
Pole: Smith - 86.994 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (51) Ryan Nester; 50
2. (95) Jonathan Mullett; 50
3. (12) Sean Calway; 50
4. (24) Randy Sample; 50
5. (01) John Foster Jr.; 50
6. (1) John Pereira; 50
7. (81) Jeff Shannon; 50
8. (15) Dale Parro; 50
9. (5) Robert Ellis; 50
10. (2) Rod Busitzky; 50
11. (58) Doug Woodyard; 49
12. (55) Michael Farmer; 48
13. (3) Jeramie Wood; 44
14. (14) Larry Venable; 39
15. (21) Ricky Derrick; 16
16. (92) Jack Robinson; 16
Pole: Nester - 74.302 mph.

INEX LEGENDS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (0) Steve Keesee; 25
2. (17) Brad Hancock; 25
3. (08) Jamie Price; 25
4. (09) Sparky West; 25
5. (88) Chris Raiford; 25
6. (16) Chris Peterson; 25
7. (49) Gary Adams; 25
8. (58) Scott Henderson; 25
9. (33) Rette Causey; 18
10. (7) Spencer Saunders; 18
11. (3) Steve Hancock; 3
Pole: B. Hancock - 78.007 mph.

UCARS - 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (80) Adam Florian; 25
2. (26) Randy Prillaman; 25
3. (71) Chris Hildebrand; 25
4. (14) Dusty Connor; 25
5. (89) Allen Dail; 25
6. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 25
7. (25) Robbie Salas; 25
8. (22) Bill Eaker; 25
9. (91) Frank Silva; 25
10. (3) John Reardon; 25
11. (98) Matt Morgan; 25
12. (43) Robert Rusinyak; 25
13. (2) Michael Waters; 25
14. (57) Ben Zoellner; 25
15. (36) Andrew Condrey; 25
16. (20) Michael Joyner; 25
17. (12) Chris Spangler; 24
18. (51) Derek Roberts; 24
19. (10) John Matthews; 24
20. (15) Dillon Leland; 24
21. (27) William Whitehurst; 23
22. (13) Larry Drommerhausen; 23
23. (1) Johnny Pereira; 18
24. (00) Bernie Connor; 18
25. (04) Doug Patrick; 8
Pole: Florian - 71.004 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Kart #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (1) Spencer Saunders; 20
2. (25) Adam Chalkley; 20
3. (05) Tim Benefield; 20
4. (46) David Phelps; 20
5. (80) Jake Harberts; 20
6. (8) Dannie Wyatt; 20
7. (00) Bill Dailey; 20
8. (55) Ron Foxx; 20
9. (31) Chuck Weeks; 20
10. (26) Dwain Smith; 20
11. (4) Mike Dayton; 20
12. (18) David Millard; 20
13. (63) Clif Savage; 20
14. (64) John Savage; 20
Pole: Dailey - via draw.

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