NAPA Auto Parts Night Race Report

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
NAPA Auto Parts Night
Race Report
Saturday, May 16, 2015

HAMPTON, Va. (May 16) — Lee Pulliam and Matt Waltz picked up a win apiece as they split the NAPA Auto Parts Twin 65s for the ComServe/Verizon Wireless Late Model Stock Cars, the featured events of Saturday evening’s action-packed NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
The starting lineup for the first 65-lapper was determined in late afternoon time trials. Pulliam was the last driver to take to the track and he bagged the pole with a lap at 88.964 mph. Waltz was second-fastest, just 19-thousandths of a second off Pulliam’s pace. Brenden “Butterbean” Queen, Greg Edwards and Tyler Hughes rounded out the top five on the 19-car grid.
As the opener got under way, Pulliam and Waltz dueled door-to-door until they reached the backstretch. Heading toward Turn 3, Pulliam gained the upper hand, while Waltz settled into second. Queen emerged in third, followed by Edwards and Hughes.
On lap 2, Hughes nosed ahead of Edwards at the flagstand to take over fourth place. On the next circuit, Edwards dropped from the top five as Tommy Lemons Jr. slipped past. By lap 8, the top five runners had distanced themselves from Edwards, who was clearly struggling.
On lap 9, Lemons scooted past Hughes to grab the fourth spot. Meanwhile, at the head of the field, Pulliam had fashioned a two-and-a-half-length advantage over Waltz, who had a mirror-full of Queen. Four car-lengths separated Queen and Lemons.
The leaders had their first encounter with slower traffic on lap 16, allowing Waltz to trim a bit from Pulliam’s margin. Pulliam, though, quickly broke into the clear and began to ease away from the pack. Behind him, Queen was still hounding Waltz for the runner-up spot.
Passing the halfway mark, Waltz was able to get away from Queen and start to close in on the leader. On lap 37, Pulliam was momentarily stymied by traffic and Waltz erased the gap completely, moving into nose-to-tail formation.
By lap 39, Queen had slipped into the clutches of Lemons, who took over the third spot. He faced a steep climb, however, as Pulliam and Waltz had driven off by nearly half a straightaway.
With the laps beginning to wind down, Queen lost another position on lap 47 when Hughes made the pass for fourth. Next in line was Edwards, who ducked under Queen on lap 49, launching a protracted battle for fifth. The two were side-by-side until lap 59, swapping fifth place three times in the interim before Edwards finally took the spot.
Back at the front, Pulliam had extended his lead over Waltz to five car-lengths and he maintained that margin all the way to the finish, winning by 0.940-second. Lemons was third, while Hughes came home in fourth.
As part of the track’s annual celebration of Armed Forces Day, the top five drivers in the standings coming into Saturday’s race — Edwards, Connor Hall, Mark Wertz, Queen and Danny Edwards Jr. — each represented a branch of the military for the race-within-a-race for the Commander’s Cup. With his fifth-place outing, Edwards claimed the prize for the U.S. Air Force.
Queen headed up the second five, in sixth, while Edwards Jr., Terry Carroll, Casey Wyatt and Wertz completed the top 10. Michael Hardin and Hall were 11th and 12th, in that order, also on the lead lap.
After the race, Pulliam, a two-time national champion, enjoyed his first visit to Langley’s Victory Lane: “I can’t say enough about everybody’s hard work and determination. We weren’t where we needed to be, speed-wise, yesterday. We were decent. I felt like we could run second or third and we dug in and stayed real late last night, working on the car. Worked on it all day, man, we had issues all day and got it better and better and sorted out and, man, I can’t say enough about everybody. I gotta give God all the glory. He’s done some amazing things for me. Being able to wheel one of these race cars on the weekends and to get a win here at Langley Speedway is mighty special. One of the few places we hadn’t got a trophy at and it feels really good.”
While he was certainly pleased to deliver the Commander’s Cup to the Air Force, Edwards expressed concern about his performance: “I don’t know what was wrong with the car tonight. We definitely either have something broke or have an issue going on that we’re gonna have to take a look at between these races. I don’t know. That’s the worst the car has been in quite a while. But, we just hung in there tough. Had a good race with Butterbean. Side-by-side. I don’t think we ever touched. So, thank you to the Air Force and we need to get back to work on this thing.”
By virtue of his victory in the first race, Pulliam was back on the pole for the nightcap, again sharing the front row with Waltz. The rest of the starting lineup also mirrored the results from Race #1. The notable exception was Queen, who had to change a blistered right-rear tire between races, bumping him to the rear of the Race #2 grid.
As the second event got going, Pulliam won the drag race into Turn 1. Starting third, Lemons charged to the inside of Waltz in a bid for second. Waltz fought him off down the backstretch, though, then surged to the outside of Pulliam in Turns 3 and 4. Pulliam led at the stripe, but Waltz seized control on lap 2, bringing Hughes along with him, to second.
By lap 10, Waltz had already opened a half-straightaway lead over Hughes, who had his hands full with Pulliam. Three laps later, Hughes slid wide in Turn 1, giving way to Pulliam and Lemons, as well.
While Waltz enjoyed a healthy advantage at the head of the field, a battle for second began to shape as Lemons tracked down Pulliam. Lemons ducked underneath Pulliam in Turn 1 at the start of lap 29 and inched ahead on the back straightaway, gaining the clear-cut edge off Turn 4.
Over the next 20 circuits, Lemons was able to make little headway against Waltz, shaving only a couple car-lengths from the gap.
Waltz’s big lead vanished on lap 52, however, when Mike Weddell spun to the infield off Turn 3 and got trapped in a drainage ditch, prompting the only caution flag.
As the field bunched for a restart, Waltz surprised many onlookers when he opted for the outside lane, ceding the inside to Lemons. Waltz was joined up top by Hughes, Queen, Wyatt and Hardin.
Back under green, Waltz eased ahead of Lemons, but couldn’t quite clear him on the first green-flag. He accomplished that feat on lap 53, but he still was unable to shake Lemons, who was right on his bumper. Meanwhile, Hughes and Pulliam were locked in a side-by-side joust for third, just ahead of fifth-place Queen.
Over the closing circuits, two distinct schools of thought emerged among the top four competitors. Waltz and Hughes found the top groove to their liking, while Lemons and Pulliam remained planted on the bottom.
Ultimately, the high side worked out for Waltz as he held off Lemons to win by a scant 98-thousandths of a second — little more than a car-length. Pulliam eventually worked his way past Hughes and came home in third. Hughes was fourth and Queen rounded out the top five.
Greg Edwards was sixth to the checkers, followed by Danny Edwards Jr., Wertz, Wyatt and Hardin. Carroll was 11th, the last driver to complete the entire distance.
A 12-time winner at Langley in 2014, Waltz capped his first visit to his home track in 2015 with a trip to Victory Lane. Following the event, he noted the race-ending tussle with Lemons: “Great race there. I knew, once he got around Lee, they were telling me how far he was behind me. I knew he was a little bit better than us, but I figured, if I could stay up on the outside and do my thing, I was gonna be able to have a darn good shot at winning the race. Just real happy. Glad to be back and back down here in Victory Lane.”

In the evening’s other feature events:

In the Pepsi Grand Stock race, which was extended from 40 to 41 laps by a late caution flag, Shawn Scovel dodged through a melee in the final corner to notch his first victory.
Mark Frye was the fast qualifier, at 79.432 mph. After an inversion of the top two qualifiers, though, he and Jamie Sample switched front-row spots. Brandon Hinson, Tommy Sweeney and Andrew Condrey were third, fourth and fifth on the grid, respectively.
On the start, Sample bolted ahead of the pack, clearing Frye before they reached the start/finish line. Hinson tagged along with Sample and moved into second, followed by Condrey, while Frye slipped to fourth.
On lap 4, Condrey scooted around Hinson to grab second. A lap later, Frye also bypassed Hinson to take over third, then swiped second from Condrey on lap 7. As positions changed hands in his mirror, Sample stretched his advantage to nearly half a straightaway. Deeper in the pack, Sweeney and Mark Claar soon made their way into the top five, moving up to fourth and fifth.
Sweeney advanced one more spot on lap 12 when Condrey drifted wide in Turns 3 and 4 and gave up third. Five laps later, Claar slipped by Condrey for fourth.
Back at the front, Frye had his sights trained on Sample. Down by half a straightaway earlier in the race, he had narrowed the gap to just two lengths by lap 25. He suffered a small setback on lap 26 when he had difficulty with a lapped car. He quickly made up the lost ground, though, and was soon parked on Sample’s rear bumper.
As Sample and Frye dueled for the lead, Sweeney and Claar stealthily crept into the picture. By lap 33, the top four were lined up nose-to-tail.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 36 when Jonathan White spun in Turn 2. For the ensuing restart, Sweeney, Hinson, Bubba Johnston and Scovel opted for the outside lane.
As the race resumed, Sample and Sweeney battled until they reached Turn 2. Heading onto the backstretch, Sample pulled ahead, while Sweeney found an opening and slid into second place. Frye wasn’t willing to let the runner-up spot go without a tussle, however. As he pestered Sweeney for second, Sample extended his lead to two lengths.
Coming to the white flag, Sweeney was on the charge with Frye in tow. He drove underneath Sample through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 40, motoring ahead off the second corner. Frye tried to follow. Instead, he and Sample tangled and spun in Turn 2. The incident sidelined both drivers, but Frye got the worst of the exchange as he ended up planted against the backstretch wall.
As the field regrouped for a “green-white-checkered” sprint, Sweeney was the new leader, followed by Claar. Condrey lined up third, while Thomas Marks was fourth. Scovel was in fifth, but gave up the spot and pulled alongside Sweeney, joined by Johnston.
On the final restart, Sweeney cleared Scovel at the flagstand, while Claar powered ahead of Scovel in Turn 1. Reaching Turn 4, Claar pulled up on Sweeney’s rear bumper and the battle was on.
With the white flag in the air for a second time, Claar worked to the inside of Sweeney as they entered Turn 1. They exited Turn 2 side-by-side and it was a dead heat down the backstretch. In Turns 3 and 4 for the last time, the two leaders scuffled and did a tandem spin right in front of the rest of the field.
Scovel skated through the unfolding donnybrook and dashed on to the checkers, winning by 0.709-second over Johnston. Condrey was third to the line, followed by Marks and White. Sweeney wound up sixth and Claar was seventh. After leading 39 laps, Sample was credited with eighth.

Travis Wall bounced back from a late-race tangle and led the final two circuits for his first win in the 30-lap KeesVacations.com Pro Six feature.
Landon Florian was fastest in time trials, at 82.694 mph, and grabbed the pole position. Wall lined up on the outside of Row 1, while Bobby Hall and Justin Fuller made up Row 2. Cody Carlton was fifth in the lineup.
As the race got under way, Florian and Wall went door-to-door until they reached the end of the back straightaway. Roaring into Turn 3, Florian pulled ahead and Wall settled into second. Hall emerged in third, followed by Carlton and Casey Sipe.
On lap 2, Carlton rooted Hall up the track in Turn 2 and took over third. He tried the same tactic on Wall in Turn 4 on lap 7. Wall held on, but he couldn’t fend off Carlton on the next circuit as Carlton moved into second. The shuffle allowed Florian to pad his lead to five lengths.
Over the next 12 laps or so, Florian remained committed to the bottom groove. Carlton, on the other hand, was running a wider arc through the corners and closing the gap. By lap 20, he was within two lengths of the leader.
Heading into the final 10 laps, Florian finally moved up the track a bit and it paid dividends as his advantage began to grow.
The first caution flag waved on lap 24 when Maddy Mulligan and Dashe McLaughlin spun in Turn 2. For the ensuing restart, third-place Hall and sixth-place Fuller chose the outside lane.
Back under green, Florian pulled ahead of Hall into Turn 1, leaving Hall to reintroduce himself to Carlton.
Only one more green-flag lap was completed before another yellow flag appeared. This time, Wall was involved as he climbed up and over Fuller’s left-front fender. Both drivers were able to continue, but were relegated to the rear of the field.
On the next restart, Hall was deployed to the outside of Florian and he eked out a slim lead when the race resumed. Hall also led lap 26 before Florian regained command on lap 27, bringing Carlton along with him, to second.
On lap 28, Hall exacted a little payback, rooting Carlton up the track in Turn 4 and retaking second with Sipe in tow.
The third caution flag flew on lap 29 when Debbie Biesecker and Mulligan spun in Turn 2. Looking to duplicate his earlier success in a two-lap shootout, Hall again went to the outside of Florian, joined up top by Fuller.
Back under way, Florian and Hall dueled side-by-side until they reached Turns 3 and 4. As Florian began to ease ahead, he and Hall tangled in Turn 4 and Florian spun, bringing out the last of the race’s four yellow flags.
As Florian and Hall retreated to the rear, Sipe assumed the top spot. Carlton was second, while Wall gave up the third spot and pulled alongside the leader, accompanied by Fuller.
On the final restart, Wall managed to gain a slight advantage, nosing ahead of Sipe. At the white flag, he was up by half a car-length.
By the end, Wall’s winning margin had grown to 0.326-second — about two lengths — over Sipe. Carlton was third, followed by Fuller and Ben Zoellner. After leading 26 of the first 28 laps, Florian wound up eighth, just behind Hall in the final rundown.

In the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR race, Jesse Jones IV muscled his way out front in the final corner and posted his third straight win in the closest finish of the night.
Eric Schaffer was the fast qualifier, at 73.114 mph. An inversion of the top four qualifiers bumped him to the outside of Row 2, however. Mike Perkins was the pole starter, flanked by Jones, while Nick Isidro shared the second row with Schaffer.
On the start, Jones remained even with Perkins until they hit the backstretch. Motoring toward Turn 3, Jones grabbed the lead. Schaffer tagged along with Jones and took over second. On lap 2, Schaffer went low in Turn 4 and edged out front at the flagstand.
The race was slowed by a pair of caution flags at lap 6. The first one appeared when Derek Roberts and Tim Wilson locked horns in Turn 3, sending Wilson on a hard ride into the outside wall. The second yellow flag flew on the ensuing restart when Dean Ballew smacked the outside wall off Turn 2.
Setting the running order, Schaffer was the leader, followed by Jones. Perkins was third, but gave up the spot to pull alongside Schaffer. Perkins had company on the top side in the form of Kevin Morgan, Tommy Gildea and Roberts.
Back under green, Schaffer cleared Perkins, who slid in line in second. Jones and Morgan scuffled briefly with Jones emerging in third. A lap later, Jones rooted Perkins aside in Turn 4 and regained second, bringing Morgan along with him, to third. While his challengers were jousting among themselves, Schaffer widened his lead to four lengths.
By the halfway mark, Jones had closed to within a car-length of Schaffer’s rear bumper. Behind them, Perkins had retaken third from Morgan, but lost half a straightaway’s worth of real estate to the lead duo.
Jones continued to shadow Schaffer as the laps clicked by, sneaking the occasional peek to the inside of the leader. And, nearing the finish, those peeks became more insistent.
On the white flag circuit, Jones finally pulled the trigger, moving Schaffer up the track in Turn 4 and sliding to his inside. The two were door-to-door all the way to the checkers.
At the stripe, Jones was the winner by a nose — 24-thousandths of a second, to be precise — over Schaffer. Perkins was third to the line, while Morgan and Isidro completed the top five.
• • •
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
Home: (757) 657-6741
Track: (757) 865-7223
E-mail: daughtrey@langley-speedway.com

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
NAPA Auto Parts Night
Race Results
Saturday, May 16, 2015

COMSERVE/VERIZON WIRELESS
LATE MODEL STOCK CARS – Twin 65s
Race #1:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (5) Lee Pulliam; 65
2. (2) Matt Waltz; 65
3. (27) Tommy Lemons Jr.; 65
4. (8) Tyler Hughes; 65
5. (97) Greg Edwards; 65
6. (03) Brenden Queen; 65
7. (26) Danny Edwards Jr.; 65
8. (90) Terry Carroll; 65
9. (92) Casey Wyatt; 65
10. (55) Mark Wertz; 65
11. (7) Michael Hardin; 65
12. (77) Connor Hall; 65
13. (91) Justin Carroll; 64
14. (01) G.R. Waldrop; 64
15. (77x)Bruce Livingston; 64
16. (33) Macy Causey; 62
17. (08) Mike Weddell; 42
18. (67) J.T. Jackson; 14
19. (97x)Cameron Bowen; 3
Pole: Pulliam – 88.964 mph.

Race #2:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (2) Matt Waltz; 65
2. (27) Tommy Lemons Jr.; 65
3. (5) Lee Pulliam; 65
4. (8) Tyler Hughes; 65
5. (03) Brenden Queen; 65
6. (97) Greg Edwards; 65
7. (26) Danny Edwards Jr.; 65
8. (55) Mark Wertz; 65
9. (92) Casey Wyatt; 65
10. (7) Michael Hardin; 65
11. (90) Terry Carroll; 65
12. (01) G.R. Waldrop; 64
13. (91) Justin Carroll; 64
14. (77) Connor Hall; 64
15. (77x)Bruce Livingston; 64
16. (08) Mike Weddell; 62
17. (33) Macy Causey; 60
18. (67) J.T. Jackson; 6
19. (97x)Cameron Bowen; 3
Pole: Pulliam – via Race #1 finish.

PEPSI GRAND STOCKS – 41 laps*
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (6) Shawn Scovel; 41
2. (19) Bubba Johnston; 41
3. (36) Andrew Condrey; 41
4. (88) Thomas Marks; 41
5. (5) Jonathan White; 41
6. (11) Tommy Sweeney; 41
7. (7) Mark Claar; 41
8. (28) Jamie Sample; 39
9. (29) Mark Frye; 39
10. (17) Brandon Hinson; 39
11. (75) Jeff Driskill; 36
Pole: Sample – top 2 qualifiers inverted.
Fast Qualifier: Frye – 79.432 mph.
*Due to late caution flag, race was
extended from 40 to 41 laps.

KEESVACATIONS.COM PRO SIXES – 30 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (44) Travis Wall; 30
2. (23) Casey Sipe; 30
3. (94) Cody Carlton; 30
4. (03) Justin Fuller; 30
5. (57) Ben Zoellner; 30
6. (4) Debbie Biesecker; 30
7. (26) Bobby Hall; 30
8. (98) Landon Florian; 30
9. (10) Maddy Mulligan; 30
10. (47) Angela-Marie Steele; 30
11. (21) Dashe McLaughlin; 23
12. (14) J.B. Sipe; 12
Pole: Florian – 82.694 mph.

CARROLL’S AUTOMOTIVE UCARS – 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (5) Jesse Jones IV; 25
2. (3) Eric Schaffer; 25
3. (57) Mike Perkins; 25
4. (11) Kevin Morgan; 25
5. (4) Nick Isidro; 25
6. (28) Tommy Gildea; 25
7. (7) Ashten Mullett; 25
8. (14) Dusty Connor; 23
9. (51) Derek Roberts; 6
10. (8) Dean Ballew; 5
11. (71) Tim Wilson; 5
Pole: Perkins – top 4 qualifiers inverted.
Fast Qualifier: Schaffer – 73.114 mph.