HAMPTON, Va. (May 23) — Shawn Balluzzo and Robbie Babb each posted a win as they split the 4CDL.com Twin 30s, presented by Thomas Nelson Community College, for the Larry King Law Modifieds, the headlining events of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.

The lineup for the first race was determined in afternoon time trials and Balluzzo nabbed the pole position, qualifying at 87.127 mph. Babb was second-fastest, just 66-thousandths of a second off Balluzzo’s mark. Jon Largena, Evan Horne and Darrell Vance were third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the 13-car starting grid.

As the opener got under way, Balluzzo and Babb dueled door-to-door until they reached Turn 2. Motoring onto the backstretch for the first time, Balluzzo gained the clear-cut advantage, while Babb settled into second. By lap 5, the lead duo had opened a five-car-length edge over third-place Largena.

Babb stayed within striking distance of the leader in the early going. By the halfway mark, though, Balluzzo had begun to ease away, stretching the margin to three lengths.

On lap 22, Balluzzo and Babb encountered a pair of slower cars, racing for position at the rear of the field. It took Balluzzo a lap to dispense with both machines and he added a couple more car-lengths to his lead.

Balluzzo had a bit of an anxious moment on lap 24 as he approached another lapped car in Turn 4. Exiting the corner, the slower machine carried him somewhat higher than he might have preferred, allowing Babb to close to within three lengths.

Continuing to press forward, Babb narrowed the deficit to a single car-length through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 27. Balluzzo quickly righted the ship, however. At the white flag, his lead stood at four lengths.

Once more, traffic became a factor for the leader on the final circuit. Babb tried to rally, but the gap was too much to overcome as Balluzzo held on to win by 0.341-second — about two car-lengths. Babb was second, followed by Largena, Bobby Gery and Vance.

Horne headed up the second five, in sixth, while Donnie Holston, Danny Harrell and Scott Lawrence were seventh, eighth and ninth, in that order, all on the lead lap. Eric McPherson was 10th, a lap off the pace.

Pulling into Victory Lane after his third straight win, Balluzzo was effusive in his praise for his team: “The crew has done an amazing job on the car. They’ve been working. Even though we haven’t had any damage or anything, they still work their butts all week and that’s what puts the car out front is how hard the crew and everybody works on the car.”

The starting lineup for the nightcap mirrored the finishing order of the first, putting Balluzzo and Babb back on Row 1.

At the initial green flag, Babb bolted ahead of Balluzzo and hauled the field into Turn 1. Before the opening lap was in the books, however, the caution flag was flying as Danny Harrell, Donnie Holston and Eric McPherson tangled in Turn 2. The incident chased all three drivers to the sidelines. Sunny Hobbs-Voelker also caught a piece of the action, but was able to continue.

On the second try at a start, Babb couldn’t duplicate his earlier success. Side-by-side with Balluzzo in Turn 2, he bobbled slightly and gave way on the backstretch on lap 1.

After stalking the leader for the first four circuits, Babb went after the top spot on lap 5, ducking underneath Balluzzo at the end of the frontstretch. He pulled ahead off Turn 2 and immediately began to distance himself from the pack. Within a handful of laps, his lead had grown to five car-lengths.

While the lead changed hands, some shuffling was also going on deeper in the field as Vance and Horne double-teamed Gery and took over the fourth and fifth spots. On lap 10, Horne bypassed Vance for fourth.

On lap 15, Babb was stymied momentarily by a slower car and Balluzzo trimmed a couple of car-lengths from his advantage. Babb quickly freed himself, though, and maintained a steady 3-4 car-length margin.

Back in traffic and scrambling to make up ground on the leader, Balluzzo tried to muscle past Scott Lawrence along the frontstretch on lap 25. The contact sent Lawrence spinning toward the infield and he barely missed the inside wall as the second, and final, caution flag waved.
Bunching for a restart, sixth-place Gery broke out of line and pulled to the outside of Babb. He was no match for the leader, however, as both Babb and Balluzzo cleared him before they reached Turn 1.

Heading onto the backstretch, Babb opened a two-length edge over Balluzzo, who was perhaps experiencing some ill effects from the shunt with Lawrence. A lap later, Babb’s advantage had swelled to six lengths.

Behind Babb and Balluzzo, Gery was clinging to the third position. He gave way to Largena on lap 27, though, and quickly tumbled down the running order, dropping from the top five.

At the finish, Babb was the winner by 1.328 seconds — half a straightaway — over Balluzzo. Largena posted his second third-place outing of the night, while Horne and Vance completed the top five.

Gery was sixth to the stripe, followed by Jack Sharkey, the final driver on the lead lap. Hobbs-Voelker and Lawrence were eighth and ninth, both a lap in arrears, and Holston was credited with 10th.

Rolling into Victory Lane following his first win of the 2015 campaign, Babb noted the difference in his car from the first race to the second, then revealed some added incentive that may have spurred him on to the checkers: “Yeah, we messed up a little bit on the setup on Race 1. I tell ya’, it’s been a rough part of the year. First off, I need to dedicate this race to two people. I lost my stepfather night before last and one of my very good friends lost his dad on the same day, so this is for them.”

In the evening’s other feature events:

In a 40-lapper for the Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Streets, Renno Marchetti IV grabbed the lead on the opening circuit and sailed to his second win in a row.

Marchetti set the pace during the qualifying session, at 76.811 mph. After an inversion of the top two on the grid, he swapped front row spots with Landon Abbott, who assumed the pole position. Sammy Gaita, Randy Akers and Chris Spangler rounded out the top five.

As the race began, Marchetti remained on Abbott’s outside flank and snagged the lead at the end of lap 1. Before another lap was completed, the first caution flag waved for Craig Warren’s spin.

Gathering for a restart, fourth-place Akers broke ranks and pulled alongside Marchetti. He was joined on the top side by Bill Eaker, Matt Morgan and Sean Calway.

Back under green, Marchetti quickly cleared Akers and left the door open for Abbott, who drove underneath Akers off Turn 2. The two went door-to-door for a lap with Abbott gaining the upper hand on lap 3. Akers battled back, though, and regained the runner-up spot on lap 5. The exchange allowed Marchetti to pad his lead to half a straightaway.

On lap 15, Abbott rallied, driving under Akers in Turn 4. He moved back into second at the end of the backstretch on lap 16. Once again, Marchetti capitalized, doubling his lead to a full straightaway.

On lap 27, Akers suddenly dropped off the pace in Turn 4. He ground to a halt in Turn 2 on lap 28, prompting the last of the race’s two yellow flags. Hobbled by a flat right-rear tire, he headed to the pit lane where his crew installed a new tire and sent him back into the fray.
Lining up for what would turn out to be the last restart, Eaker and Morgan, the fourth- and fifth-place runners, opted for the high lane.
As the race resumed, Marchetti freed himself from Eaker before they reached Turn 1. Abbott rushed to fill the opening to the inside of Eaker. Returning to the flagstand, Eaker held a slight advantage, but he gave way to Abbott in Turn 2 on lap 30. As his pursuers jousted in his mirror, Marchetti strolled to a half-straightaway lead.

At the finish, Marchetti was the winner by 1.770 seconds over Abbott. Gaita was third to the stripe, followed by Eaker and Akers, who rebounded from his earlier misfortune to take fifth.

Jesse Jones IV moved atop the leaderboard on lap 9 and stormed to his fourth consecutive victory in the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR feature.

Adam Florian was the pole-sitter for the event, qualifying at 73.924 mph — more than two-tenths of a second quicker than outside pole starter Dusty Connor. Mike Perkins, Jones and Kevin Morgan completed the top five on the 12-car grid.

As the green flag waved, Florian failed to come up to speed. Connor bolted into the lead, while the rest of the field ducked and dodged past Florian’s crippled car. Florian finally rolled to a stop in Turn 2 to bring out the race’s only caution flag.

To set the running order as the field prepared for a restart, Connor was the leader, followed by Jones, Perkins, Eric Schaffer and Morgan. Schaffer and Morgan, along with Dean Ballew and Tommy Gildea, picked the outside lane.

Returning to green, Connor bolted ahead of Schaffer, who settled into second. Behind them, Jones and Morgan battled for third with Jones grabbing the spot on lap 3.

On lap 4, Schaffer slipped underneath Connor on the backstretch and motored into the lead through Turns 3 and 4. A lap later, Jones followed Schaffer’s cue and swiped the second position. By lap 7, Schaffer and Jones were nose-to-tail.

On lap 9, Jones went after Schaffer for the lead. He ducked low on the backstretch and claimed the top spot in Turns 3 and 4. Schaffer tried to rally in Turns 1 and 2 at the beginning of lap 10. Instead, however, he skittered up the track and fell to fourth place, giving way to Connor and Perkins.

Passing the halfway mark, Jones’ lead stood at four car-lengths and it continued to grow as Connor and Perkins tussled between themselves for second.

Perkins slipped past Connor for second on lap 20. Three laps later, Schaffer took over third, dropping Connor back another spot.
At the checkers, Jones was the winner by 1.234 seconds — nearly half a straightaway — over Perkins. Schaffer and Connor were third and fourth, while Gildea nipped Morgan at the stripe for fifth.

Zach Lightfoot was awarded his first win of the season in the 15-lap Cycle City Corp. INEX Bandolero race when the apparent winner, Bradley Wilson, failed to clear the post-race technical inspection.

Bradley Kilby was the pole-sitter, at 66.303 mph, and paced the first two circuits. Going for his second straight win, Wilson, who qualified third, took command of the event on lap 3.

Wilson showed the way to the checkers, finishing 1.019 seconds ahead of Lightfoot. It was all for naught, though, as officials would eventually declare Lightfoot the winner.

Cole Bruce was second in the amended rundown, while Kilby, Jacob Putman and Colby Flowers completed the top five.

In the evening’s opening event, a 20-lapper for the Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts, Aaron Leach led all the way to notch his second win of the year.

Leach started from the pole, at 62.243 mph, and took the lead on the first lap with a drafting boost from his brother, Matthew Leach, who qualified third.

Circling the track in tight, nose-to-tail formation, the Leachs easily distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, which was struggling to get organized. By lap 7, the brothers were up by better than half a straightaway.

Matthew Leach remained tucked in Aaron Leach’s slipstream until they exited the final corner. Coming to the checkers, he darted low, but couldn’t generate enough momentum to carry him to the win.

At the stripe, Aaron Leach was the winner by 88-thousandths of a second — barely a single kart-length — over Matthew Leach. Vaughan Crittenden was third, nearly five seconds behind the front two. Mattisen Morrill and Clif Savage rounded out the top five.
• • •

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
Track: (757) 865-7223
E-mail: [email protected]

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
4CDL.com/Thomas Nelson Comm. College Night
Race Results
Saturday, May 23, 2015

Race #1:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 30
2. (44) Robbie Babb; 30
3. (4) Jon Largena; 30
4. (60) Bobby Gery; 30
5. (87) Darrell Vance; 30
6. (6) Evan Horne; 30
7. (1) Donnie Holston; 30
8. (95) Danny Harrell; 30
9. (83) Scott Lawrence; 30
10. (16) Eric McPherson; 29
11. (88) Jack Sharkey; 29
12. (14) Sunny Hobbs-Voelker; 28
13. (5) Andrew Fortin; 5
Pole: Balluzzo – 87.127 mph.

Race #2:
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (44) Robbie Babb; 30
2. (48) Shawn Balluzzo; 30
3. (4) Jon Largena; 30
4. (6) Evan Horne; 30
5. (87) Darrell Vance; 30
6. (60) Bobby Gery; 30
7. (88) Jack Sharkey; 30
8. (14) Sunny Hobbs-Voelker; 29
9. (83) Scott Lawrence; 29
10. (1) Donnie Holston; 0
11. (95) Danny Harrell; 0
12. (16) Eric McPherson; 0
Pole: Balluzzo – via Race #1 finish.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 40
2. (70) Landon Abbott; 40
3. (24) Sammy Gaita; 40
4. (22) Bill Eaker; 40
5. (21) Randy Akers; 40
6. (46) Jason Michaud; 40
7. (2) Rod Busitzky; 40
8. (12) Sean Calway; 38
9. (47) Craig Warren; 38
10. (50) Jim Bennett; 38
11. (50x)Matt Morgan; 36
12. (3) Chris Spangler; 35
Pole: Abbott – top 2 qualifiers inverted.
Fast Qualifier: Marchetti – 76.811 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (5) Jesse Jones IV; 25
2. (57) Mike Perkins; 25
3. (3) Eric Schaffer; 25
4. (14) Dusty Connor; 25
5. (28) Tommy Gildea; 25
6. (11) Kevin Morgan; 25
7. (7) Ashton Mullett; 25
8. (4) Nick Isidro; 25
9. (33) Richard Ellis; 25
10. (8) Dean Ballew; 25
11. (51) Derek Roberts; 25
12. (03) Adam Florian; 0
Pole: Florian – 73.924 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (7) Zach Lightfoot; 15
2. (31) Cole Bruce; 15
3. (5) Bradley Kilby; 15
4. (3) Jacob Putman; 15
5. (33) Colby Flowers; 15
6. (24) Elysia Potter; 15
7. (87) Aidan Bolling; 15
8. (18) Autumn Weaver; 14
9. (19) Jaiden Reyna; 14
DQ (51) Bradley Wilson; 15
Pole: Kilby – 66.303 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (45) Aaron Leach; 20
2. (51) Matthew Leach; 20
3. (24) Vaughan Crittenden; 20
4. (39) Mattisen Morrill; 20
5. (63) Clif Savage; 20
6. (71) Shawn Gervais; 20
7. (04) Teddy Burris; 20
8. (59) Charlie-Ray Lorah; 20
9. (27) Cullen Roberts; 20
10. (41) Brian McGhee; 20
11. (94) Cody Carlton; 20
12. (47) Angela-Marie Steele; 20
13. (14) Tillman Heuer; 20
14. (01) Jesse Call; 20
15. (26) Robert Pellek; 19
16. (25) Cody Espinoza; 19
17. (52) Chris Bechtel; 19
18. (28) Gary Osbourne; 19
19. (95) Jason Bocksnick; 10
Pole: A. Leach – 62.243 mph.

-Langley Speedway Press Release.

Balluzzo, Babb Split Twin Modified Features At Langley