Napa Auto Parts Night At The Races May 17th 2014
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA
NAPA Auto Parts Night
Saturday, May 17, 2014
HAMPTON, Va. (May 17) — Nick Smith and Matt Waltz each took a turn in the spotlight on Saturday evening as they split the NAPA Auto Parts Twin 75s for the ComServe/Verizon Wireless Late Model Stock Cars, the headlining events of Langley Speedway’s NASCAR All-American Series program.
The starting lineup for the first race was determined in afternoon time trials and Waltz nabbed the pole position, at 90.068 mph. Oddly enough, his time (15.788 seconds) matched his pole-winning effort from May 3, down to the thousandth of a second. Smith was second-fastest, while Mark Wertz, Greg Edwards and Connor Hall completed the top five.
As the opener got under way, Waltz and Smith raced door-to-door through Turns 1 and 2 with Waltz pulling ahead off the second corner. Smith settled into second, followed by Wertz, Edwards and Brandon Gdovic, who started sixth.
In the early going, Waltz and Smith linked up nose-to-tail and eased away from third-place Wertz. By lap 5, the lead duo had forged a five-length advantage over the rest of the field.
On lap 7, Smith launched his first bid for the lead, ducking underneath Waltz at the entrance to Turn 1. He was ahead by a nose as they returned to the flagstand and cleared Waltz through Turns 1 and 2 at the beginning of lap 8.
Before Waltz could unleash a counterattack, the race’s only yellow flag flew for J.T. Jackson’s spin in Turn 3.
Lining up for a restart, Wertz, Edwards and Gdovic broke ranks and opted for the outside lane. They were joined up top by Brenden “Butterbean” Queen, the ninth-place runner.
Back under green, Smith and Wertz battled side-by-side until they rumbled onto the backstretch. Heading toward Turn 3, Smith gained the clear-cut edge. Waltz tagged along with Smith and regained second place, while Edwards swiped third.
Coming around to complete lap 12, Waltz poked a fender underneath Smith off Turn 4. He drew even as they navigated Turns 1 and 2 on lap 13 and inched ahead at the stripe to retake the lead.
Waltz’s second tour atop the leaderboard was brief, however, as Smith rallied back to the front on lap 17. Just three laps later, he had driven away from Waltz by four lengths.
Smith maintained that four-length cushion for several laps. Nearing the halfway mark, though, Waltz began to nibble away at the deficit. At the crossed flags, he had trimmed the margin in half. And, by lap 42, the two were nose-to-tail. It was definitely shaping up to be a two-man race as third-place Edwards had fallen nearly a straightaway behind.
As the race wore on, Smith had difficulty keeping his car planted at the bottom of the track and his wider line provided a tantalizing opening for Waltz, who mustered several charges to the leader’s inside. Smith maintained his momentum, though, and fought off Waltz’s advances.
With the white flag in the air, Waltz took one final run at Smith into Turn 3. The two made contact and began an agonizing tandem slide into the fourth corner.
Smith stayed on the accelerator and dirt-tracked his way off the final turn. Struggling to collect his machine, he barely missed an encounter with the outside wall as he took the checkers for the first time in 2014.
Meanwhile, in his wake, Waltz did a 360 in Turn 4. Despite the spin, he had enough of a lead over third-place Edwards that he was able to hang onto the runner-up spot. Wertz was fourth to the line, while Casey Wyatt completed the top five.
Hall headed up the second five, in sixth, followed by Duane Shreeves, Terry Carroll and Queen, the final driver to finish all 75 circuits. Gdovic was 10th, a lap down to the leaders.
In Victory Lane after the race, Smith described the pulse-pounding duel with Waltz: “I was just hanging on every lap. I didn’t have the best car, but we drove the wheels off of it. I respect him (Waltz) for racing me clean the whole race. I was really enjoying it and able to stay up there and put on a show for you guys. Man, I was doing everything I could to keep that thing up front tonight. I thought we were done there. Somehow, I drove through it. Jesus took the wheel.”
With the win, Smith also claimed the Commander’s Cup trophy for the U.S. Army as part of the track’s Armed Forces Day celebration.
The starting order for the second 75-lapper mirrored the finishing order of the first one, putting Smith and Waltz on the front row. Edwards and Wertz made up Row 2, while Wyatt shared Row 3 with Hall.
At the drop of the green flag, Waltz showed no ill effects from his earlier spin as he powered ahead of Smith on the backstretch to take the lead. Smith dropped into second, followed by Wertz, Edwards and Wyatt.
In the opening laps, the front four were able to establish four lengths worth of separation between themselves and fifth-place Wyatt. The running order remained unchanged until lap 6 when Edwards scooted past Wertz to take over third. He lost ground to the lead duo in the shuffle, however, dropping almost half a straightaway behind.
The only caution flag waved on lap 8 when Duane Shreeves ground to a halt along the backstretch.
As the field gathered for a restart, Edwards and Wertz pulled out of line, giving up the third and fourth positions to try their luck on the outside. They were joined by Queen, who had been in seventh.
Back under way, Waltz cleared Edwards on the backstretch and left the door open for Smith, who bypassed Edwards off Turn 2 on lap 9. Deeper in the field, Queen had taken over fifth place, but was under attack from Wyatt, who nabbed the spot on lap 12.
Waltz, Smith and Edwards circled the track in nose-to-tail formation until lap 32 when Edwards slipped past Smith for second. The exchange allowed Waltz to pad his lead to nearly half a straightaway.
With the race remaining “clean and green,” Waltz strolled to his third win of the season. At the finish, he was up by better than half a straightaway over Edwards — 1.744 seconds, to be exact. Smith was third, while Wertz and Wyatt came home in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Queen was sixth to the stripe, followed by Hall and Terry Carroll. They were all on the lead lap at the end. Justin Carroll bounced back from mechanical problems in the opening event to take ninth and Chris Johnson completed the top 10.
In the winner’s circle after the race, Waltz responded to a query about the condition of his car — and especially his tires — coming into the nightcap: “To be honest, really I thought we’d saved a decent amount in the first race. Y’know, I was trying to get by Nick there without tearing the tires up because I knew we had to run this second one here, but it still felt like the tires were worn off of it about this whole race. Just did what I could and made sure and stayed ahead of those guys and didn’t let ‘em get to me or didn’t let ‘em threaten me too much there as far as wearing my stuff out too early in the race. And, I guess it paid off.”
In the evening’s other feature events:
In the 40-lap Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Street race, an inversion of the top two qualifiers placed Randy Akers on the pole and he took full advantage of the situation, wiring the field for his first win of the young campaign.
Sammy Gaita was fastest in afternoon time trials, at 76.320 mph, edging Akers by just five-thousandths of a second. He, then, dialed up a “2” on the inversion wheel and traded starting spots with Akers. Renno Marchetti IV lined up third, followed by Jason Michaud and Bill Eaker.
As the race got going, Akers bolted ahead of the pack and left an opening for Marchetti, who slipped past Gaita for second. Gaita dropped to third, while Eaker and Sean Calway emerged from the shuffle in fourth and fifth.
Akers was nursing a one-length lead over Marchetti when the first caution flag appeared, at lap 10. Only one more lap was in the books before the second, and final, yellow flag waved on lap 11.
For the ensuing restart, Akers was flanked by Landon Abbott, who gave up the fifth spot and pulled alongside the leader. The two had their issues in the April 5 season opener when Abbott muscled past Akers in the last turn to take the win.
Returning to green, Akers wasted no time in dispensing with Abbott. Marchetti tagged along with Akers, dropping Abbott back to third. Behind them, John Pereira was on the move, passing both Gaita and Eaker on lap 12 to take over fourth.
At the head of the field, Akers had established a comfortable advantage over Marchetti and he kept the runner-up at arm’s length all the way to the checkers, winning by 0.745-second. Abbott was third to the line, while Pereira and Calway completed the top five.
Chase McAdams assumed the lead on lap 13 and posted his third straight win in a 25-lap contest for the KeesVacations.com Super Trucks.
McAdams was the fast qualifier, at 75.426 mph, but spun a “6” on the inversion wheel, dropping himself to the outside of Row 3. Rookie contender Trevor Battoia moved up to the pole, alongside Colby Vance. Jacob Carr and Bill Wallace made up Row 2 and Michael Waters lined up to the inside of McAdams.
On the start, the field made it as far as Turn 2 where Battoia spun and collected Waters, bringing out the first yellow flag and prompting a complete restart.
Under green again, Vance shot ahead of Carr. Officials weren’t impressed and he was summoned to the pits for a pass-through penalty, turning the lead over to Carr.
The second yellow flag appeared on lap 5 when Wallace’s truck broke loose off Turn 4 and he barrel-rolled into the catch-fence along the front straightaway, coming to rest just short of the flagstand. Wallace was uninjured in the scary-looking incident.
Lining up for the restart, Carr was the leader, followed by McAdams, Vance, Chris Spangler and Battoia. McAdams opted for the outside lane.
As the race resumed, Vance boosted Carr ahead of McAdams, who settled back into third. On lap 7, Vance slipped by Carr to take the lead for the first time. His stay atop the leaderboard was short-lived, though, as Carr rallied on lap 8. On lap 11, McAdams bypassed Vance for second, only to see Vance return the favor on the very next lap.
The last of the race’s three caution flags flew on lap 13 when Vance tried to overtake Carr for the top spot in Turns 1 and 2. They tangled and spun in the second corner and McAdams was handed the lead.
On the restart, McAdams opened a two-length edge over Carr, who quickly had his hands full with a challenge from Vance. After battling for several circuits, Vance grabbed second on lap 16. The exchange allowed McAdams to pull away by four lengths.
By lap 22, Vance had erased McAdams’ lead and was hunting for an opening. He made his final push for the win on the white-flag lap, ducking to the inside of McAdams in Turn 1 and again in Turn 3. McAdams fought him off, however, and went on to win by 0.160-second — a single truck-length.
Carr was third at the end, followed by Battoia. Spangler was an early retiree and was credited with fifth, while Wallace and Waters rounded out the rundown.
In the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR race, fast qualifier Justin Fuller overcame an inversion of the top six cars and notched his second victory of the year.
Fuller topped the charts in afternoon time trials, at 73.705 mph, then spun a “6” on the inversion wheel. In the reconstituted lineup, Richard Ellis was the pole-sitter, sharing the front row with Matt Morgan. Jesse Jones IV and Courtney Shiflett occupied Row 2 and Eric Schaffer started alongside Fuller.
On the start, Ellis hauled the field into Turn 1, but Morgan changed lanes and pulled underneath him on the backstretch. At the end of lap 1, Morgan was the leader by half a car-length. He cleared Ellis in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 2 and brought Schaffer along with him, to second.
On lap 4, Schaffer overtook Morgan for the lead. Ellis tagged along and moved up into the runner-up spot. One lap later, the only caution flag waved for a three-car incident in Turn 2 involving Shiflett, Ashten Mullett and John Matthews.
Gathering for the restart, Fuller gave up his fourth position in the running order and headed for the outside lane. Back under green, though, the gambit failed to pay off as he was freight-trained by Schaffer, Ellis and Morgan.
While Schaffer drove away to a six-length lead, Fuller righted the ship and started moving toward the front. He picked off Morgan for third on lap 7, then nabbed the second spot from Ellis on lap 9. With his pursuers swapping positions in his mirror, Schaffer extended his lead to almost half a straightaway.
Once he had secured second place, Fuller began to whittle away at Schaffer’s lead. By the halfway mark, he had closed to within two car-lengths.
Fuller launched a bid for the lead on lap 14, scooting ahead of Schaffer in Turns 3 and 4. Off the fourth corner, though, Schaffer drove back to Fuller’s inside and nosed ahead at the line.
That exchange was replayed on lap 17 as Fuller swiped the lead in Turns 1 and 2, only to see Schaffer surge back ahead off the second corner. In the meantime, Jones had taken over third and was poised to join the battle for the lead.
On lap 19, Fuller worked to the inside of Schaffer and grabbed the lead as they headed into Turn 1 to begin lap 20. Jones came along with Fuller and claimed second.
Over the final five circuits, Fuller steadily increased his advantage. At the finish, he was the winner by 1.216 seconds — about six lengths — over Jones. Ellis was third, followed by Shiflett and Morgan. After leading much of the event, Schaffer fell by the wayside at the end and wound up in 13th — last place.
In the 20-lap Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Kart feature, Aaron Leach grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Angela-Marie Steele on the start and led all the way for his first win of the season.
Throughout the contest, Leach and Tommy Jackson Jr. were locked in a tight draft at the head of the pack. Meanwhile, Steele linked up with Josh Ayer and began to chase down the lead duo. With two laps to go, they had closed to within a couple kart-lengths of the leaders.
On the white-flag lap, Jackson took a look to the inside of Leach on the backstretch. Steele and Ayer charged forward, setting off a wild scramble on the way to the checkers.
At the stripe, Leach was the winner by two lengths over Jackson, who held on to nip Steele for second. Ayer was fourth and Ryan Hudgins completed the top five.
Derrick Boggess took the lead on lap 7 and held on for his first victory in a 30-lapper for the Bojangles’ Enduros.
UCAR regular Jesse Jones IV, pulling double-duty, drew the pole for the start, but gave way to outside pole-sitter Ronald Klein on the opening lap. Deeper in the field, Boggess, who started eighth, was quickly making his way toward the front. He moved up to second on lap 3 and set his sights on the leader.
On lap 6, Boggess motored underneath Klein in Turn 4 and snagged the top spot as they rolled into Turn 1 at the start of lap 7. Dave Wedding tagged along with Boggess, advancing to second.
The only red flag stoppage came on lap 8 to attend to Shane Loving, who had popped the outside wall off Turn 2.
Back under way, Boggess bolted to a five-length advantage. Wedding chipped away at the margin, however. By lap 20, the two leaders were bumper-to-bumper.
Wedding remained solidly in contention until lap 26 when he skittered loose in Turn 3. Boggess capitalized on the slip and stretched his lead to five lengths.
Wedding tried to rally in the closing circuits, but came up two lengths short at the checkers as Boggess took the win. Boggess and Wedding were the only two drivers to finish the entire distance. Klein was third in the final rundown, followed by Jones and Scotty Buchanan.
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