Florian wins UCAR event

Published 8:50 pm Friday, July 3, 2009

HAMPTON — Shawn Balluzzo overcame a hiccup on the start, took the lead just past the halfway mark and rolled to victory in the caution-free Firecracker 50 for the B&C Seafood Modifieds, the featured event of Thursday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway. It was the first win for Balluzzo, who had posted runner-up finishes in the season’s first five races.

Balluzzo was quickest in afternoon time trials, at 85.140 mph, to nab the pole. Four-time race winner Chris Johnson was second-fastest.

As the field took the opening green flag, Balluzzo failed to come up to speed immediately. Johnson shot into the lead.

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On lap 17, Johnson and Balluzzo ran up on a slower machine. As they carefully sorted their way past, third-place Joe Scarbrough and fourth-place Cameron Patrick moved into contention, joining the lead duo to make a four-pack at the head of the field.

Balluzzo continued to fill Johnson’s mirror until lap 25. As the leaders exited Turn 4, with the crossed flags in sight, Balluzzo poked his nose underneath Johnson. He drew even along the frontstretch and took over the lead in Turns 1 and 2 at the beginning of lap 26. Within two laps, he had already driven away by three lengths.

By the finish, Balluzzo’s margin of victory had grown to 2.729 seconds — a full straightaway — over Scarbrough.

Jammie Goode moved out front on lap 6 and collected his fifth win of the year in the 40-lap Old Point National Bank Grand Stock feature.

Anthony Kincaid snagged the pole in qualifying for the event. He shared the front row with Goode.

In the waning laps, Mark Claar tried to rally, pulling to within a car-length of Goode on lap 37. That was as close as he would get, though, as Goode eased away at the end and won by 0.653-second — about three lengths.

Adam Florian, of Suffolk, started on the pole and paced all 25 circuits to post his second win of the season in the EZ Auto of Newport News UCAR race. It was a nice rebound for Florian, who was forced to the sidelines (and a 22nd-place finish) two weeks ago, while leading, when officials spotted a leak.

Florian clocked in at 70.916 mph to take the top starting spot on the 23-car grid. Chris Hildebrand lined up to Florian’s outside.

On the start, Florian and Hildebrand dueled door-to-door with Florian nosing ahead to lead lap 1 by half a car-length.

The race’s only caution flag was needed on lap 21. As the race resumed, Florian and Hildebrand took advantage of the buffer provided by the lapped machine and bolted from the pack.

Over the final circuits, Florian gradually increased his margin over Hildebrand and won by 0.701-second — about three car-lengths.

In the 30-lap Standard Welding Pro 6 feature, Casey Sipe took the lead just past the halfway mark and stormed to his fourth victory in five races.

Warren Smigo was the pole-sitter for the event. Sipe was second-quickest. As the race got going, Smigo and Sipe battled side-by-side with Smigo holding a slight edge at the end of the first circuit. He cleared Sipe in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 2.

On lap 16, Sipe motored under Smigo at the end of the backstretch and powered into the lead through Turns 3 and 4. Just a lap later, Sipe had pulled away by three lengths.

At the finish, Sipe’s margin of victory stood at 2.648 seconds over runner-up Joe White.

Mike Ganoe started last in the 12-car field, took the lead on lap 5 and cruised to his second victory of the season in a 25-lap contest for the Larry King Legal Services Enduros.

Robert West Jr. drew the pole, but gave way to Wayne Groome on the start. Before one lap had been completed, the only red flag appeared for a fracas on the backstretch that left West and Jeff LaBeau in the outside wall.

On lap 5, Ganoe ducked under Groome and swiped the lead as they entered Turn 1. Within four laps, Ganoe had driven off by a straightaway.

Mindful that the previous two events had ended with him on the sidelines, due to mechanical problems, Ganoe didn’t overextend his machine over the remaining circuits, content to maintain his full-straightaway edge to the checkers.