Derrick three-peats at Langley; Florian wins UCAR championship

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

By Gary Daughtrey

Special to the News-Herald

HAMPTON — Pulling out all the stops in his bid to overtake Ricky Derrick for the Pepsi Grand Stock title, Mark Claar roared to his eighth and ninth victories of the year in a pair of 20-lap features as Langley Speedway closed the curtain on its 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points season with Waypoint Apartments “Championship Saturday.”

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Claar’s night wasn’t enough. Derrick came in second in both legs to clinch his third consecutive Grand Stock season championship.

Claar set the pace in afternoon time trials. After spinning a “4” on the inversion wheel, however, he had to start from the outside of Row 2. Derrick assumed the pole position, flanked by Mark Frye.

As the first 20-lapper got under way, Derrick won the drag race into Turn 1 and came away with the lead.

After a caution flag on lap 2, Claar restarted to Derrick’s outside and moved into the lead through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 3.

The leader had one anxious moment on lap 7 when two cars tangled and spun in Turn 2. The caution flag remained hidden and the pair returned to the track right in front of Claar. He easily navigated past them, though, and continued to build his advantage.

At the finish, Claar was the winner by 0.848-second over Derrick. Brandon Hinson took third, followed by Carl Livingston and Frye.

The lineup for the second race was the finishing order of the first one.

As the event got going, Claar led the charge into Turn 1 to take the lead. Derrick dropped from second to fourth before rallying back to second, all by lap 8.

The second, and final, caution flag was displayed on lap 14. On the following restart, Claar and Derrick bolted in nose-to-tail formation. Derrick lingered a car-length off Claar’s rear bumper for a lap, then the leader began to ease away.

By the checkers, Claar’s margin of victory had grown to 1.766 seconds — half a straightaway. Derrick was second, followed by Robbie Parker, Hinson and Livingston.

Randy Sample moved out front on the second circuit and rolled to his sixth victory in the 40-lap finale for the Heritage Motor Co. Super Streets. Ryan Nester wrapped up the division championship.

Former division champ Nick Smith returned to Victory Lane in the 25-lap season-ender for the Cycle City Corp. INEX Legends, leading from pole to checkers for his first win of the year.

Brad Hancock claimed the 2011 INEX Legends title by 20 points over Steve Keesee.

Landon Florian and Bill Eaker split wins in a pair of 20-lap races for the EZ Auto of Newport News UCARs. Florian’s win was his ninth of the season and sealed up the division championship.

After nine different winners in nine races this season, the Twin 20s for the Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts finally produced a pair of two-timers as Chris O’Brien and Albert Falk split the victories. O’Brien is the 2011 Champ Kart titlist.

In the 50-lap finale for the Enduro division, Mike Ganoe took the lead for good on lap 21 and sailed to his fourth win of the season. Danny Harrell won the season title.