HAMPTON, Va. (July 2) -- Greg Edwards took the lead on lap 13 and showed the way to his fourth win of the season -- and second straight -- in the Miss Utility 75 for the Chick-fil-A Late Models, part of Saturday evening's NASCAR Dodge Weekly...
HAMPTON, Va. (July 2) -- Greg Edwards took the lead on lap 13 and showed the way to his fourth win of the season -- and second straight -- in the Miss Utility 75 for the Chick-fil-A Late Models, part of Saturday evening's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Langley Speedway.
Time trials for all of Saturday's races were washed out by late-afternoon showers. The starting grids were determined by the point standings, followed by a spin of the inversion wheel.
The top six Late Models were inverted, putting two-time and defending track champ Mark Wertz on the pole. He shared the front row with Anthony Warren. Greg Edwards and Shawn Balluzzo made up Row 2, while Danny Edwards and points leader Tommy Cherry were next in line.
As the event got under way, Wertz grabbed the lead, easing ahead of Warren through Turns 1 and 2. Greg Edwards latched onto Wertz's rear bumper and advanced to second place.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 2. Gathering for the restart, Wertz, Greg Edwards, Warren, Danny Edwards and Balluzzo were at the head of the field.
Back under green, Wertz quickly leaped out to a three-length lead, stretching it to four as the field rumbled onto the back straightaway. Soon, though, Greg Edwards pulled away from third-place Warren and began to narrow the gap.
On lap 12, Greg Edwards ducked to the inside of Wertz in Turn 3. He drew even, then completed the pass for the lead in Turn 1 on lap 13. A lap later, the second yellow flag waved as Hudson Hall pounded the wall between Turns 3 and 4.
As the race resumed, Greg Edwards established a two-length advantage and started to drive away. Wertz, meanwhile, had a mirror-full of Warren, who took over the runner-up spot on lap 23. Danny Edwards bypassed Wertz for third on the 24th circuit.
The event was interrupted by the third, fourth and fifth caution flags at laps 25, 27 and 29. Greg Edwards, Warren, Danny Edwards, Wertz and Balluzzo continued to hold the top five positions.
Back under way, Greg Edwards fashioned a two-length advantage as Danny Edwards moved up to challenge Warren for second. Deeper in the field, Cherry was shadowing Balluzzo, looking for a chance to break into the top five.
Just past the halfway mark, on lap 41, Cherry worked under Balluzzo in Turn 3 and muscled past off Turn 4 to take over fifth. Doug Warren tried to Cherry, but Balluzzo slammed the door.
Greg Edwards waded into lapped traffic on lap 46, allowing Anthony Warren to close in a bit. He quickly cleared the slower machines, though, and darted away.
A handful of circuits later, Cherry went after Wertz for fourth place. He slipped past, but saw the move negated when the sixth caution flag flew on lap 53.
A lap after the ensuing restart, the race's final caution flag was unfurled. Greg Edwards, Anthony Warren, Danny Edwards, Wertz and Cherry occupied the front five slots.
Under green for the last time, Greg Edwards pulled away by two car-lengths. Cherry went back to work on Wertz. He moved into fourth on lap 60 and set sail after third-place Danny Edwards.
While Greg Edwards and Anthony Warren were having things their own way at the front, Cherry grew larger in Danny Edwards' mirror as the event neared its conclusion.
On lap 73, Cherry drove under Danny Edwards in Turn 2. A slower car, however, loomed ahead.
Refusing to yield the third position, Cherry wedged himself between Danny Edwards and lapped machine in Turn 3 on lap 74. The move paid off as Cherry squeezed through to take the spot.
At the finish, Greg Edwards was the winner by three car-lengths over Anthony Warren. Cherry was third, followed by Danny Edwards and Wertz, who held off Balluzzo at the stripe to secure fifth.
In Victory Lane after the race, Greg Edwards noted a pre-race tweak that helped his effort: "I think we were pretty lucky. We were sitting there right before the fireworks show. I'd watched the first few races and track just looked real slick, so I had the guys make a last-minute adjustment and I think it hit it right on for the race. The car was perfect. It was probably about the best car we've had this year, so far."
Continuing, he offered plaudits to his fellow competitors: "Everybody raced me clean. Mark (Wertz) ran me clean, Anthony (Warren) did a real good job running me clean. It was a ton of cautions. It kinda felt like we were running a marathon."
Runner-up Anthony Warren, meanwhile, was encouraged by his machine's performance: "This is a brand new race car. This is only the second race on this car. It's a Jay Hedgecock chassis, but everything else on it, we did right at home in the garage, so this is pretty cool. Especially now that we've got something that I think we can really run with the Edwards brothers and Tommy and Doug and Mark. To be able to run with these guys and be able to beat some of 'em -- that's a helluva lot of work."
For his part, third-place Cherry offered a succinct analysis of his run: "We had a decent car. Got a little bit loose there and, I don't know, the cautions was hurting me. I had a hole there the last lap and I had to take it."
In the evening's other feature events:
Ryan Nester notched his second consecutive victory in the Super 8 Motels Grand Stock feature, moving from third to first when the lead duo tangled in the waning laps.
Dean Shiflett launched from the pole and took the point on the opening lap, motoring ahead of Robert Ellis, who started on the outside of the front row. David Gray, Nester and David Seed also slipped past Ellis, dropping him to fifth.
The first seven circuits were punctuated by three caution flags and scorers began counting caution laps.
Back under green at lap 16, Shiflett, Gray and Nester bolted from the pack. By lap 23, they were half a straightaway ahead of fourth-place Seed.
The fourth caution flag flew on lap 29. Lining up for the restart, the front three were separated from Seed by a pair of lapped cars.
As the race resumed, on lap 33, Gray took a quick peek to the inside of the leader, then fell back in line. He continued to stalk Shiflett, though, and made an aggressive bid for the lead on lap 37.
Driving hard into Turn 1, Gray poked a bumper under Shiflett. The leader moved to block, the two made contact and Shiflett spun. Nester scooted past the melee and assumed the lead.
To provide a green-flag finish, the event was extended one lap beyond its scheduled 40-lap distance, setting up a one-lap dash to the checkers.
On the final restart, Nester opened a one-car-length advantage over Gray and held that margin to the end. Seed was third, his first podium finish of the season. Ellis was fourth and Brad Causey was fifth. After leading most of the race, Shiflett wound up in sixth.
Ritchie German posted his second win of the year in a 50-lap, non-points event for the nTelos Super Streets, moving out front on the final circuit.
Dale Parro started on the pole, but gave way to Jeff LaBeau as the race got under way. Parro gathered himself, though, and pushed his car to the head of the field on lap 4. Jeramie Wood, German and Larry Venable also slipped past LaBeau, just ahead of the first caution flag, which appeared on lap 8.
Back under green, Wood tracked down Parro and grabbed the lead on lap 9. German got around Parro on lap 15, opening the door for Venable, Mike Ganoe and Jessica Wood.
After a caution flag on lap 18, Jeramie Wood and German were able to put some distance between themselves and Venable. The nose-to-tail chess match continued until the waning laps with German taking the occasional look under Jeramie Wood.
With the white flag waving, German pounced, driving to Jeramie Wood's inside into Turn 1. The two raced door-to-door down the backstretch with German gaining the clear-cut advantage through Turns 3 and 4.
At the finish, German was the winner by a car-length. Jeramie Wood was the runner-up, followed by Venable and Jeramie's sister, Jessica Wood. Tony Spivey, who arrived late and started shotgun on the 16-car field, claimed the fifth spot.
John Hollis scored his second straight victory in a 25-lapper for the Hillco Building Maintenance Mini Trucks. Starting from the outside of the front row, he took the lead on the first lap and showed the way to the checkers.
Hugo Belfiore held down the runner-up spot for laps 2-21 before giving way to Charlie Barclay in the closing laps.
At the finish, Hollis' margin of victory was six truck-lengths over Barclay. Belfiore came home in third, while Thomas Fontaine and Dale Bridwell completed the top five.
For the Hollis/Barclay/Belfiore triumvirate, Saturday's event marked their fifth straight sweep of the top three finishing positions.
Cameron Patrick picked up his first win of the season in the 25-lap Cook's Moving Service INEX Legends feature. He took the lead on lap 5, then weathered a late-race caution period before taking a one-car-length victory.
Kerry Gilbert, who led laps 1-4, tailed Patrick to the stripe. Jeremy Cook was third at the end, while Don McLaughlin and Rette Causey completed the top five. The event was slowed by three cautions.
Jonathan Mullett rolled to his second win in a 35-lap contest for the E-Z Auto Rental U-Cars, the division's only extended-distance race of the season (35 laps vs. the usual 25).
Mullett started on the pole and paced the first five laps before giving way to Robert Rusinyak. Rusinyak showed the way until the second yellow flag waved. During the ensuing caution period, Rusinyak's car stalled in Turn 2 and he had to be helped to the pits, returning the lead to Mullett.
Back at the head of the field, Mullett maintained a comfortable advantage to the checkered flag. Behind him, though, things got a bit contentious.
On the final lap, third-place Robbie Davis muscled second-place Kevin Alves aside in Turns 1 and 2. Some fancy wheel-work saved Alves from an unfortunate encounter with the wall. While Davis was second to the line, he was penalized for the incident and placed at the tail of the lead lap cars, in 12th.
Craig Firman was second in the official rundown, followed by Richard Ellis, Kevin Morgan and Randy Prillaman.