Shriners Night Race Report

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
Shriners Night
Race Report
Saturday, July 18, 2015

HAMPTON, Va. (July 18) — Heralded by lightning and thunder, a line of strong storms settled in over Langley Speedway about halfway through Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program, bringing a premature halt to Shriners Night activities at the Hampton speedplant.

In the feature events that were completed:

Robbie Babb wired the field to post his second victory of the season in the 30-lap Larry King Law Modified race. The second half of the scheduled Mod doubleheader fell victim to the elements.
Babb qualified at 89.316 mph to nab the pole position. Jon Largena was second-fastest, over three-tenths of a second off Babb’s blistering pace. Jimmy Humblet lined in the third spot, while Bobby Gery and Chris Humblet rounded out the top five on the 16-car grid.
As the race got under way, Babb bolted ahead of Largena at the start/finish line to grab the early lead. Jimmy Humblet tagged along with Babb and took over second, dropping Largena to third. Chris Humblet, Jimmy’s son, emerged from the opening shuffle in fourth, followed by Gery.
The only yellow flag waved on lap 2 when Jack Sharkey spun off the second corner.
Gathering for the ensuing restart, Mike Rudy gave up the sixth spot in the lineup and headed for the outside lane, pulling alongside the leader. He was joined up top by Danny Harrell and Darrell Vance.
Back under green, Babb quickly dispensed with Rudy, who slipped into the runner-up position, just ahead of Jimmy Humblet and Largena. Behind them, Chris Humblet and Harrell dueled for fifth with Humblet taking the spot.
By lap 4, Babb had fashioned a four-length edge over Rudy, who had a mirror-full of Jimmy Humblet. The second-place battle continued until lap 9 when Humblet suddenly dropped off the pace along the backstretch and made the turn into the pits.
With Jimmy Humblet relegated to the sidelines, Largena, the new third-place runner, set his sights on Rudy. Together, Rudy and Largena began to close noticeably on Babb.
Heading for the crossed flags, the second-place tussle heated up when Rudy slipped up the track in Turn 2, opening the inside groove for Largena, who pounced on the opportunity. The two went side-by-side for a little more than a lap with Largena surging ahead through Turns 3 and 4 on lap 16. The exchange allowed Babb to pad his lead to half a straightaway.
Nearing the finish, Babb faced one more obstacle on his way to the winner’s circle as a group of four slower machines loomed in his path.
Babb waded into the thicket on lap 27 and ran into trouble almost immediately, skating up the track in Turn 2. The bobble provided renewed hope for Largena, who closed to within three car-lengths of the leader.
Babb quickly righted the ship, however, and sailed on to the checkers. At the finish, his margin of victory was 1.323 seconds — about five lengths — over Largena. Rudy was third to the line, followed by Gery and Chris Humblet.
Evan Horne headed up the second five, in sixth, while Harrell and Andrew Fortin completed the rundown of lead-lap finishers. Wayne Hartley and Vance were ninth and 10th, both a lap down.
In Victory Lane after the race, Babb commented on his brush with near-disaster: “Yeah, we just caught ‘em at the wrong time. I know everybody’s gotta learn or whatever, but it can say a lot to kinda stay out of the way and learn some things. It just happens.”
The only driver to crack the 16-second barrier in qualifying, Babb was asked about his pole-winning lap: “I’ll be honest with you. I drove down there and I didn’t think it was gonna stick. I was waiting to chase it down the straightaway, but it stuck and we laid down a good lap.”
One wrinkle drivers had to contend with in Saturday’s race was patched asphalt in the bottom groove at both ends of the track. Babb’s car seemed well-suited for the new blacktop. “If you miss the asphalt,” he explained, “the car will jump out from under you. You probably seen some of the other cars. I know, following some of ‘em, once the right-side tires got up off that black stuff, it looked like they were a handful.”
Injured in a fall at his home this week, Shawn Balluzzo, the division leader coming into the race, was reduced to a cameo appearance. He started shotgun on the field and completed 11 laps to finish 15th. With his runner-up outing, Largena had moved atop the Mod standings, two ahead of Balluzzo — 142-140.
The Modifieds will be back in action at Langley on Saturday, Aug. 1, when they are slated for another pair of 30-lappers.

Renno Marchetti IV grabbed the lead on the opening circuit and led all the way to post his sixth win in the rain-shortened Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Street race. The race was called with 28 laps on the scoreboard, short of the scheduled 40-lap distance.
Marchetti set the pace in afternoon qualifying for the event, lapping the .395-mile oval at 77.388 mph. The top two qualifiers were inverted, so he swapped front-row positions with Sammy Gaita, who moved to the pole. Randy Akers, Jason Michaud and Bill Eaker were third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the grid.
At the initial green flag, Gaita rocketed ahead of the field. Officials were dissatisfied with the start and the yellow flag made a quick appearance as the field was brought under control for a complete do-over.
Under green for a second time, Marchetti remained on Gaita’s flank and surged ahead off Turn 4 to lead lap 1 by half a car-length. He cleared Gaita in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 2 and left the door open for Akers, who snagged second.
Meanwhile, after a disappointing qualifying run landed him in the seventh starting spot, Landon Abbott was tearing through the pack. He made his way into the top five on the first circuit, then picked off Eaker for fourth on lap 4. He scooted past Gaita for third on lap 8 and, soon, was hounding Akers for second.
Abbott claimed the runner-up position on lap 13, muscling underneath Akers in Turns 1 and 2 and completing the pass on the backstretch. As his pursuers battled among themselves in his mirror, Marchetti stretched his lead to half a straightaway.
The second caution flag flew on lap 29 when Rod Busitzky and Zac Stongle tangled on the frontstretch, sending Stongle for a spin into the inside wall.
During the ensuing caution period, rain began to pelt the track and the red flag was displayed. Eventually, the rest of the Super Street event, along with the remainder of the evening’s racing program, was called off.
Since the Super Street race was past the halfway mark, it was deemed a completed event and the running order at the time of the stoppage went in the books as the official finish.
Marchetti was the winner, followed by Abbott. It marked the seventh 1-2 finish for the duo in eight races. Akers was third, while Gaita and Eaker rounded out the top five.

In the 25-lap Cycle City Corp. INEX Legends feature, Chris Hildebrand took the lead for good on lap 21 and rolled to his third victory in as many races.
Brad May was the pole-sitter for the event, qualifying at 79.486 mph. Tommy Jackson Jr. lined up on the outside pole, while Hildebrand, Matt Dail and D.J. Valente filled the next three slots.
On the start, May and Jackson went door-to-door with Jackson eking out a narrow lead as they returned to the flagstand to complete lap 1.
On lap 2, Jackson temporarily ceded the top spot to May. Switching lanes on the backstretch, Jackson ducked underneath May and gained the clear-cut edge off Turn 4.
Hildebrand began to move forward at the beginning of lap 3, sliding underneath May at the start/finish line. He pulled ahead off Turn 4 to take over second and brought Dail along with him, to third.
Closing rapidly on Jackson, Hildebrand launched his first bid for the lead on lap 7, scooting under Jackson in Turns 3 and 4. He cleared Jackson off Turn 4 on lap 8 and moved atop the leaderboard. A lap later, Dail followed Hildebrand’s cue and swiped second from Jackson.
The first caution flag flew on lap 12 when Dail looped his machine as he entered Turn 3. Lining up for a single-file restart, Hildebrand, Jackson, May, Sparky West and Valente made up the top five.
Returning to green, Hildebrand quickly established a two-length advantage over Jackson. By lap 16, the margin had grown to almost half a straightaway and the leader looked to be on cruise control.
Hildebrand’s healthy lead was wiped out, though, when the second yellow flag fluttered on lap 19, the result of Chris Hayes’ spin at the end of the backstretch.
On what would turn out to be the final restart, Jackson dipped underneath Hildebrand as they headed for Turn 1. They went side-by-side down the backstretch with Jackson gaining the upper hand in Turn 3.
Jackson’s second stint in the lead was short-lived, however, as Hildebrand drove to his inside in Turns 3 and 4 on lap 20, retaking the lead off Turn 2 on lap 21.
By the finish, Hildebrand had stretched his winning margin to 0.689-second — about six lengths — over Jackson. West was third, followed by May and Valente.
Later, it was announced that several fuel samples are being sent to INEX for analysis. Pending the outcome of those tests, Saturday’s results are unofficial.

Zach Lightfoot started on the pole, at 65.262 mph, and led flag-to-flag for his third win in the evening’s first event — a caution-free 15-lapper for the Cycle City Corp. INEX Bandoleros.
Lightfoot beat outside pole starter Bradley Kilby into Turn 1 to take the lead on the opening lap. Kilby settled into second, followed by a side-by-side tussle for third between Autumn Weaver and Jacob Putman. Weaver won that battle and brought Colby Flowers along with her, to fourth.
On lap 4, Flowers bypassed Weaver in Turns 3 and 4 to take over third. Putman tagged along and moved into fourth. Within three laps, Flowers and Putman had tracked down Lightfoot and Kilby, making it a four-way joust for the lead.
With the laps winding down, Lightfoot continued to hold Kilby at bay, while Putman began hunting for a way around Flowers. In fact, all the drivers were hunting for a favorable line as the new asphalt patches in the corners seemed to upset the small Bandolero machines moreso than the larger cars.
Coming to the white flag, Putman avoided the patches altogether and drove to the outside of Flowers off Turn 4. In Turns 1 and 2 for the final time, the two locked horns, allowing Weaver to bypass them both.
At the finish, Lightfoot was the winner by 0.327-second — about two lengths — over Kilby. Weaver was third, followed by Putman and Flowers.

In addition to the second half of the Modified doubleheader, races for the Pepsi Grand Stocks and Bojangles’ Enduros were also rained out.
• • •
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
Track: (757) 865-7223
E-mail: daughtrey@langley-speedway.com

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
Shriners Night
Race Results
Saturday, July 18, 2015

LARRY KING LAW MODIFIEDS – Twin 30s
Race #1:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (44) Robbie Babb; 30
2. (4) Jon Largena; 30
3. (8) Mike Rudy; 30
4. (60) Bobby Gery; 30
5. (20) Chris Humblet; 30
6. (6) Evan Horne; 30
7. (95) Danny Harrell; 30
8. (5) Andrew Fortin; 30
9. (37) Wayne Hartley; 29
10. (87) Darrell Vance; 29
11. (51) Tony Steele; 29
12. (16) Eric McPherson; 29
13. (70) Curtis Hughes; 29
14. (88) Jack Sharkey; 29
15. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 11
16. (11) Jimmy Humblet; 9
Pole: Babb – 89.316 mph.

Race #2:
RAINED OUT

PEPSI GRAND STOCKS – 65 laps
RAINED OUT

BUTTERFOSS & BARTON ORTHODONTICS
SUPER STREETS – 28 laps*
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 28
2. (70) Landon Abbott; 28
3. (21) Randy Akers; 28
4. (24) Sammy Gaita; 28
5. (22) Bill Eaker; 28
6. (12) Sean Calway; 28
7. (14) Chris Hott; 28
8. (50x)Matt Morgan; 28
9. (46) Jason Michaud; 27
10. (2) Rod Busitzky; 27
11. (50) Jim Bennett; 27
12. (53) Zac Stongle; 26
Pole: Gaita – top 2 qualifiers inverted.
Fast Qualifier: Marchetti – 77.388 mph.
*Race called due to rain.

CYCLE CITY CORP. INEX LEGENDS** – 25 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (71) Chris Hildebrand; 25
2. (87) Tommy Jackson Jr.; 25
3. (99) Sparky West; 25
4. (22) Brian May; 25
5. (18) D.J. Valente; 25
6. (51) Brandon Johnston; 25
7. (98) Clayton Parrish; 24
8. (4) Chris Hayes; 22
9. (07) Matt Dail; 11
Pole: May – 79.486 mph.
**Unofficial.

CYCLE CITY CORP. INEX BANDOLEROS – 15 laps
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (7) Zach Lightfoot; 15
2. (5) Bradley Kilby; 15
3. (18) Autumn Weaver; 15
4. (3) Jacob Putman; 15
5. (33) Colby Flowers; 15
6. (19) Jaiden Reyna; 15
7. (24) Elysia Potter; 15
8. (87) Aidan Bolling; 14
Pole: Lightfoot – 65.262 mph.

BOJANGLES’ ENDUROS – 30 laps
RAINED OUT