TNCC Night At The Races May 24th 2014



NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway - Hampton, VA Nelson Comm. College Night
Race Report
Saturday, May 24, 2014

HAMPTON, Va. (May 24) — Jimmy Humblet started on the pole and led all the way for a convincing victory in the 50 presented by Thomas Nelson Community College’s Workforce Development Center for the Larry King Law Modifieds, the featured event of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.
Humblet posted the fastest lap in afternoon time trials, at 88.383 mph. Chris Johnson was second-quickest, just 18-thousandths of a second off Humblet’s pace. Shawn Balluzzo lined up third, followed by Danny Harrell and Scott Lawrence.
The 14-car lineup was reduced by one when Mike Rudy’s machine failed to fire when the time came to roll off the grid. Kevin Adams also had a short night as he ground to a halt in Turn 3 with the opening green flag set to wave. Adams later made it onto the track and completed six laps before retiring.
When the race got under way, Humblet won the drag race into Turn 1 to grab the early lead. Johnson settled into second, while Balluzzo and Harrell remained side-by-side. Exiting Turn 4 for the first time, Balluzzo grabbed the third spot.
By lap 6, Humblet had established a four-length advantage over Johnson, who had his hands full with a challenge from Balluzzo. As the second-place battle raged, Humblet steadily added to his margin. Coming around to complete lap 15, the lead had grown to almost half a straightaway.
The second caution flag flew on lap 17 when Eric McPherson, Jack Sharkey and Donnie Holston spun in Turn 3. Bunching for the ensuing restart, Balluzzo opted for the outside lane, joined by Darrell Vance.
Back under green, Balluzzo remained on Humblet’s flank until the reached the backstretch. Heading toward Turn 3, Humblet surged ahead, while Balluzzo dropped into second. Vance, meanwhile, enjoyed a brief stay in fifth before Lawrence reclaimed the position.
At the halfway mark, Humblet was up by five lengths over Balluzzo, who had distanced himself from third-place Johnson.
The third caution flag appeared on lap 33 when the leader’s son, Chris Humblet, spun in Turn 3. As the field gathered for a restart, Johnson went to the high side, followed by Taylor Sarkees and Holston.
As the race resumed, Humblet gained the clear-cut edge on Johnson in Turn 2. Johnson, though, did manage to slip into line ahead of Balluzzo, retaking second. He was no match for the leader, however. Within 10 laps, Humblet’s advantage had swelled to nearly half a straightaway.
The last of the race’s four yellow flags was unfurled on lap 44 when Chris Humblet smacked the backstretch wall. Preparing for what would turn out to be the final restart, Johnson gave up his second spot in line and pulled to the outside of Humblet. Vance and Holston followed his cue and also motored up toward the front.
Returning to green, Humblet sped ahead of Johnson in Turns 1 and 2. Johnson fought off Balluzzo for second, then set off after the leader as the laps began to wind down. He couldn’t keep pace with Humblet, though, as the longtime Langley veteran eased away.
At the finish, Humblet was the winner by 0.873-second — about four car-lengths — over Johnson. Balluzzo was third, while Harrell and Lawrence completed the top five. Jon Largena led the rookie contingent with a sixth-place outing, followed by Vance, Sarkees and Holston. They were all on the lead lap. Chris Humblet was credited with 10th.
Rolling into Victory Lane after his first win of the young season, Humblet could barely contain his excitement: “Oh, it’s outstanding. We worked super-hard this week to get everything fast. The car handled like a dream.”
Asked about a potential title run in 2014, Humblet noted, “We’re here just to run and try to win races. Championships happen. If you try to get ‘em, they’ll bite you in the rear end.”

In the evening’s other feature events:

Mark Frye picked up his fourth and fifth wins of the season as he swept the Twin 20s for the Pepsi Grand Stocks.
Frye claimed the pole for the opening event, qualifying at 80.439 mph. On the start, he beat front-row colleague Ritchie German to Turn 1 to take the early lead. Caught on the outside, German also gave way to Rodney Boyd and Mark Claar before finding a place in line.
On lap 4, German began to march back toward the front, ducking underneath Claar in Turn 2. Claar was ahead by a nose at the stripe, but surrendered third to German on lap 5. By lap 10, he was parked on Boyd’s rear bumper. Meanwhile, Frye nursed a two-length lead.
Frye’s prospects got a boost on lap 13 when Boyd and German tangled briefly in Turn 2, stacking up the rest of the field. Boyd held onto second, while Claar slipped past German for third. The scuffle allowed Frye to pad his lead to a full straightaway.
A lap later, Claar scooted past Boyd through Turns 3 and 4 to take over the runner-up position. He left the door open for German, who moved up to third, and Jamie Sample, who grabbed fourth. Tommy Sweeney also bypassed Boyd to make a short-lived appearance in the top five. Boyd rallied on lap 19, though, and retook the spot.
At the checkers, Frye was the winner of the caution-free event by 2.477 seconds over Claar. German, Sample and Boyd were third, fourth and fifth, in that order.
After winning the opener, Frye also started from the pole in the nightcap. Claar was the outside pole-sitter and nosed ahead to lead the first lap.
On lap 2, Frye regained the top spot and left Claar to tussle with German for the runner-up position. Claar quickly secured second, then set his sights on Frye, who was a couple of car-lengths ahead.
Frye maintained his two-length edge past the halfway mark, leading up to the only caution flag, which waved on lap 12 when Kevin Morgan’s engine erupted in a cloud of white smoke.
On the ensuing restart, Andrew Condrey was the only driver to pick the outside lane. Coming to the green flag, Claar forced his way to the inside of Frye, making it three-wide as the field headed for Turn 1. Claar came away in first place, but drew an immediate black flag for jumping the restart.
On lap 14, Claar finally slowed in Turn 4, handing the top spot back to Frye. After the rest of the pack had passed him by, Claar dashed down the pit lane on lap 16 for a pass-through penalty.
At the finish, Frye was the winner by 0.550-second over German. Boyd was third, followed by Michael Waters and Sweeney. After challenging for the win, Claar ended up eighth, the final driver on the lead lap.

The Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Streets also ran Twin 20s on Saturday night with Randy Akers and Sammy Gaita each picking up a victory.
Akers was the pole-sitter for the first race, at 75.962 mph, and led all 20 circuits to post his second win of the campaign.
Gaita started third and slipped past Landon Abbott on lap 2 to take over the second spot. For the first 16 laps, he never fell more than a couple car-lengths behind the leader.
The only caution flag appeared on lap 17 when John Pereira ground to a halt on the backstretch. Lining up for the restart, third-place Renno Marchetti IV broke ranks and pulled alongside Akers. Bill Eaker and Jason Michaud joined Marchetti in the outside lane.
Back under green, Akers quickly dispensed with Marchetti and left the inside groove open for Gaita, who ducked underneath Marchetti’s #01 machine. The two went door-to-door until they reached Turn 4. Exiting the corner, Abbott tried to join the mix and caused a momentary jumble. Gaita hung onto the second spot and drove away as the scramble continued in his mirror.
While his pursuers jousted in his mirror, Akers cruised away from the pack, winning by 1.020 seconds — about five lengths. Gaita was second, while Sean Calway, Abbott and Marty Tice emerged in third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Amidst a swarm of cars battling for third on the last lap, Marchetti spun in Turn 2 and would up 10th.
Akers and Gaita shared the front row for the start of the second race and Gaita got the drop on Akers, roaring ahead as the green flag waved to take the lead into Turn 1. Akers settled into second, followed by Abbott, Calway and Tice.
The only caution flag appeared on lap 7 when Michaud spun in Turn 2. Bunching for the restart, fourth-place Calway, sixth-place Eaker and ninth-place Rod Busitzky headed for the outside lane.
As the race resumed, Gaita cleared Calway in Turn 2. Calway dropped into second, just ahead of Akers and Eaker, who were side-by-side for third. Akers won that battle and brought Abbott along with him, to fourth. Marchetti was also on the move, cracking the top five on lap 9.
On lap 13, Marchetti swiped fourth from Abbott and quickly closed in on Akers, snagging third place on lap 17.
At the head of the field, Gaita had checked out on the field, stretching his lead to better than half a straightaway. His winning margin at the finish was 2.919 seconds. Calway was second, nipping the hard-charging Marchetti at the stripe. Akers tailed the lead trio to the checkers, in fourth, followed by Abbott.

In a 30-lapper for the Pro Sixes, Landon Florian moved out front on lap 20 and showed the way to his second victory, surviving a brief scare at the finish.
Steve Williams earned the pole position, at 84.367 mph, and grabbed the lead from outside pole-sitter Travis Wall in Turn 2 on the opening lap. Florian, who started third, slipped underneath Wall and the two went door-to-door until lap 5 when Florian gained the clear-cut edge. In the meantime, Williams had opened a four-length lead.
By lap 11, Florian had closed to within a single car-length of Williams’ rear bumper. As he surveyed the situation, Wall and Bobby Hall moved up to join the lead battle. The front four was nose-to-tail at the crossed flags.
On lap 18, Florian took a run to the inside of Williams at the end of the frontstretch, but came up empty. And, the same move on lap 19 yielded similar results.
On lap 20, Florian waited until the end of the backstretch to launch his next bid. This time, he was successful, motoring ahead off the fourth corner. Behind the lead duo, Wall skittered wide in Turn 4 and lost third to Hall.
By lap 23, Florian had fashioned a three-length advantage over Williams. Slower traffic loomed ahead, though. He eased past Debbie Biesecker on lap 27 and Williams closed the gap to a single car-length.
Working off Turn 4 on the white-flag circuit, Florian ran up behind Maddy Mulligan. He started to bypass her on the outside, but she began to drift up into his intended path. Quickly switching lanes, Florian ducked to the inside and sailed on to the checkers, holding Williams at bay.
At the finish, Florian eked out a 0.237-second win over Williams. Hall was third, followed by Wall and Jordan Wood.

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