4CLD.com TNCC Night At The Races August 9th, 2014
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
4CDL.com Night presented by
Thomas Nelson Community College
Saturday, August 9, 2014
HAMPTON, Va. (Aug. 9) — Greg Edwards and Matt Waltz picked up a win apiece, dividing the checkered flags in the 4CDL.com Twin 75s presented by Thomas Nelson Community College for the ComServe/Verizon Wireless Late Model Stock Cars, the featured events of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway. It marked the fourth time this season that Edwards and Waltz have split a twinbill.
The lineup for the first of the two races was determined in afternoon time trials and Edwards bagged the pole position, at 88.881 mph. Waltz was second-fastest, just 50-thousandths of a second off Edwards’ pace. Rookie Connor Hall was third on the 14-car starting grid, followed by Mark Wertz and Brenden “Butterbean” Queen. Thirteen drivers posted timed laps with less than half a second separating the fastest and slowest.
As the opening event got under way, Edwards and Waltz dueled side-by-side with Edwards eking out a half-car-length advantage at the end of lap 1. He gained the clear-cut edge at the end of the backstretch on lap 2. Waltz settled into second, while Hall, Queen and Wertz rounded out the top five. On lap 3, Danny Edwards Jr. bypassed Wertz for fifth.
By lap 6, Edwards and Waltz had opened a four-length gap over third-place Hall. As the two leaders sparred with each other, though, Hall began to close in, joined by Queen. Meanwhile, Danny Edwards Jr. and Wertz were still tussling over the fifth spot. Wertz regained the position on lap 12.
Nearing the halfway mark, Edwards encountered slower traffic and widened his lead over Waltz to four lengths. As for Hall, his charge toward the front was blunted as he dropped nearly half a straightaway behind Waltz.
Edwards waded into traffic again on lap 53. And, again, he dealt with the slower machines smoothly and efficiently, maintaining his four-length lead. Breaking into the clear on lap 61, he began to steadily ease away from the pack.
Deeper in the field, Edwards Jr. hadn’t given up on a top-five finish as he continued to stalk Wertz. While they dueled, Tyler Ankrum, who started 11th, closed in from behind.
On lap 66, Edwards Jr. grabbed fifth from Wertz. Two laps later, Ankrum slipped past Wertz for sixth, then went after Edwards Jr., taking the fifth position on lap 69.
At the finish of the caution-free run, Greg Edwards was the winner by 1.539 seconds — nearly half a straightaway — over Waltz. The “kiddie corps” swiped the next three spots with 17-year-old Hall, 16-year-old Queen and 14-year-old Ankrum taking third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Danny Edwards Jr. headed up the second five, in sixth, followed by Wertz and Duane Shreeves, the final driver to complete the entire distance. Father-and-son duo Terry and Justin Carroll were ninth and 10th, in that order, both a lap down.
Pulling into Victory Lane after his sixth win of the season, Edwards noted a key change that his team had made since his third-place run in the July 26 Hampton Heat 200: “We were one race short of figuring out what we needed on this setup. (Engine builder) Charlie High replaced this motor with the one we ran in the Hampton Heat. It was pretty wore out and they had to tear it apart after the race, so they put this one in and, man, this motor’s been great. With different style motors and this motor just seemed to fit this car. We brought it out Thursday and were really happy with it and, today, it sat on the top of the board most of the day. I hope we can do it again.”
Offering a bit more explanation about his two engines, Edwards continued, “The other engine has a different style head that’s a little heavier. You have to run a different type of gear to make it get off the corners. And, this one, we’ve been working with that all year and we put this in and it just seemed to match the chassis and match what the car wanted. I don’t know how much horsepower it’s got, but it’s using it all.”
The lineup for the second race mirrored the finishing order of the first, putting Edwards and Waltz on the front row, followed by Hall, Queen and Ankrum. As the field formed up for the start, Edwards opted to launch from the outside lane.
The initial try at getting the nightcap under way went awry as Edwards took off a bit too soon to suit officials. The yellow flag was thrown and the field regrouped for another attempt.
Under green for a second time, Edwards and Waltz battled door-to-door with Edwards nosing ahead at the conclusion of the first circuit. He cleared Waltz in Turns 3 and 4 on lap 2. Waltz dropped into second, followed by Queen, Danny Edwards Jr. and Hall.
By lap 7, Edwards had fashioned a lead of almost two car-lengths over Waltz. On the following circuit, though, Waltz generated a tremendous run off Turn 2, closed right up on the leader’s rear bumper and began looking to the high side.
Perhaps wary of Waltz’s strength in the outer groove, Edwards swung wide in Turn 4 on lap 10 to cut off the lane. With the bottom of the track wide open, Waltz ducked to the inside and shot into the lead off the corner.
Once he was at the point, Waltz returned to his wider line through the turns, presenting a tempting target for Edwards. While Edwards was able to slip a fender underneath Waltz on several occasions, he couldn’t complete the pass as Waltz kept his machine cranked up off the corner.
On lap 20, Danny Edwards Jr. scooted around Queen to take over the third spot. He faced a steep climb to reach Waltz and Greg Edwards, however, as the lead duo had driven away by better than half a straightaway.
Waltz had extended his advantage over Edwards to nearly half a straightaway when the last of the race’s two caution flags flew on lap 33 after some of the lights in Turn 2 blinked out.
Following a short delay, the field bunched for a restart with Waltz choosing the outside lane. He was joined up top by fourth-place Queen, sixth-place Ankrum and ninth-place Casey Wyatt.
As the race resumed, Waltz and Edwards went side-by-side until they reached the end of the backstretch. Heading into Turn 3, Waltz pulled ahead. Behind them, Queen got the better of Edwards Jr. and took over third place.
Within four laps, Waltz had opened a two-length lead over Edwards. Meanwhile, half a straightaway behind, Queen was fighting to hold off Edwards Jr. and Ankrum. On lap 42, Edwards Jr. regained the third position from Queen. Ankrum had thoughts of making it three-wide, but wisely settled back in line to let things sort out.
On lap 45, Edwards moved back out front with a perfectly executed “bump-and-run” in Turns 3 and 4. Waltz quickly gathered his machine and set his sights on Edwards. A lap later, Ankrum was on the move, snagging fourth from Queen. On lap 48, Wertz slipped around Queen, who was beginning to struggle.
By lap 50, Waltz had erased Edwards’ lead and was parked on his rear deck. The third-place battle was starting to heat up as well, as Ankrum closed in on Edwards Jr.
Waltz regained the lead on lap 54 with a little “bump-and-run” action of his own, bunting Edwards aside in Turns 3 and 4. Edwards fell in line behind Waltz and began hunting for an opening. Behind them, Ankrum advanced to third on lap 55, bypassing Edwards Jr.
While Waltz and Edwards concentrated on each other, Ankrum stealthily crept into contention. By lap 67, he was only a couple car-lengths in arrears.
The complexion of the event took a swing on lap 68 when Waltz and Edwards made contact in Turn 4 and skittered up the track. Ankrum pounced on the opportunity, slipping past Edwards and alongside Waltz. Waltz and Ankrum went side-by-side until lap 71 when Waltz regained command.
At the checkers, Waltz was the winner by 0.337-second — little more than a car-length — over Ankrum. Greg Edwards was third, followed by Danny Edwards Jr. and Wertz. Hall was sixth, while Shreeves, Terry Carroll, Wyatt and Michael Hardin completed the top 10, all on the lead lap. After running in the top five for much of the race, Queen ended up 11th, a lap down.
In Victory Lane to celebrate his division-leading ninth win, Waltz neatly summed up the race-long battle with Edwards and the late arrival of Ankrum: “This was just an awesome race there with Greg and them. We were going so hard there, it was wearing me out. But, it’s fun. It’s awesome. Hope all the fans enjoyed it, for sure.”
The Late Models will be back in action next Saturday, Aug. 16, with a 150-lap feature race. Edwards will bring a 25-point lead over Waltz into that event, 422-397. Six more races remain on Langley’s 2014 Late Model calendar.
In the evening’s other feature events:
Justin Fuller and Tim Wilson shared the plaudits in a pair of 20-lappers for the Carroll’s Automotive UCARs, splitting the victories.
In time trials, which set the grid for the first of the two features, Fuller established a new UCAR qualifying record, circling the track at 75.016 mph. Wilson, the previous recordholder, was second-fastest, followed by Eric Schaffer, Courtney Shiflett and Richard Ellis.
The first race got off to an inauspicious start as Brandon Wood spun in Turns 1 and 2 on the opening circuit, collecting Nick Isidro. With the first caution flag waving, Wood and Isidro dropped to the back of the pack as the field prepared for a complete restart.
When the green flag went in the air for a second time, Fuller beat Wilson into Turn 1 and took the early lead. Wilson slipped into the runner-up spot, while Schaffer, Ellis and Shiflett rounded out the top five.
On lap 3, Wilson took a run at Fuller off Turn 2. Fuller easily fended him off and pulled away by nearly three car-lengths.
The second yellow flag waved on lap 4 for Keith Wheeler’s spin in Turn 2. Lining up for the restart, Schaffer broke ranks and headed for the outside lane, joined by Frank Silva, Nick Gundacker, John Matthews and Wood.
Back under green, Schaffer remained firmly planted on Fuller’s outside flank and inched ahead as they returned to the flagstand to complete lap 4. He cleared Fuller in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 5. As Schaffer pulled ahead, Wilson looked to overtake Fuller for second. The two made contact in Turn 4 and Schaffer widened his margin to four lengths.
By the time lap 9 came to an end, Fuller had erased Schaffer’s advantage and was sniffing the lead. He found his opportunity on lap 11, ducking under Schaffer in Turn 1 and surging ahead at the stripe. A lap later, Wilson scooted past Schaffer to pick up the second position.
The brief Wilson/Schaffer tussle allowed Fuller to stretch out his lead. At the finish, he was the winner by 0.751-second — about five lengths. Wilson was second, while Schaffer, Shiflett and Ellis completed the top five.
Fuller’s win in the first race — his sixth of the season — landed him on the pole for the start of the second event. Wilson lined up on the outside of Row 1.
As the second feature got going, Wilson stayed even with Fuller and rocketed into the lead off the second corner. Fuller slid back to second, while Schaffer, Ellis and Shiflett emerged in third, fourth and fifth, in that order.
The first caution flag waved on lap 4 for a four-car melee in Turn 4. The second, and final, yellow flag appeared just after the ensuing restart when Matthews and Ashten Mullett crashed in Turn 4. Preparing for another restart, Schaffer, Ellis, Wood and Silva opted for the outside lane.
As the race resumed, Wilson cleared Schaffer at the entrance to Turn 1. By lap 8, he had opened a comfortable margin, while Schaffer and Fuller duked it out for second.
After stalking Schaffer for several circuits, Fuller finally nabbed the runner-up spot on lap 13. In the meantime, Wilson increased his advantage to nearly a full straightaway.
Over the remaining laps, Fuller sliced away at Wilson’s lead. It wasn’t nearly enough, though, as Wilson cruised to the checkers. At the finish, his margin of victory was 1.889 seconds. Fuller was second, followed by Schaffer. Ellis and Silva were fourth and fifth to the stripe, but failed to clear the post-race inspection. Jesse Jones IV and Shiflett were shown in fourth and fifth, respectively, on the official rundown.
In the evening’s final race, a 30-lapper for the Bojangles’ Enduros, Derrick Boggess only led a quarter of a lap. It was the quarter-lap from Turn 4 to the checkered flag, though, as he notched his second victory of the year.
Seeking his fifth checkered flag, Dave Wedding drew the pole and showed the way for the first 29-3/4 laps. Nearing the halfway mark, he was up by almost a full straightaway over Boggess, who started eighth and moved into second on lap 12.
Over the next handful of laps, though, Wedding found a host of obstacles in his path and Boggess narrowed the gap. Tagging along with Boggess was Richard Quinn, who had held down the second spot from lap 2 to lap 11.
With the white flag waving, it looked like a battle for second was shaping up between Boggess and Quinn. In Turn 4, though, Quinn launched forward and into Wedding, spinning both cars toward the outside wall.
Suddenly by himself at the head of the field, Boggess sped on to the win. Chad Higginbotham was second, while Wedding and Quinn limped across the line in third and fourth, respectively. Scotty Buchanan was fifth, a lap off the leaders’ pace.
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