Langley to host pro series Saturday
Published 9:22 pm Thursday, June 21, 2012
By Gary Daughtrey
Special to the News-Herald
Nearly $100,000 in posted awards will be on the line Saturday, when the up-and-coming stars of NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East hit the track at Langley Speedway for the second annual Visit Hampton VA 175, the seventh event on their 14-race 2012 schedule.
In addition to the Visit Hampton VA 175, Saturday’s feature slate includes: Larry King Law Super Trucks (25 laps); SavitaPets.com UCARs (25 laps); Standard Welding Pro Sixes (30 laps); and, Rhonnda Claiborne, Realtor HRKC Pro Winged Champ Karts (20 laps).
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Front gates open at 1 p.m. Time trials get under way at 4:30. Pre-race festivities commence at 6:50, while the Champ Karters lead off the evening’s feature lineup shortly after 7. The Visit Hampton VA 175 is scheduled for an 8:30 green flag.
Chase Elliott, 16-year-old son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott, enters this weekend’s Visit Hampton VA 175 with a narrow lead in the series standings.
Up by 20 points after his win at Iowa Speedway on May 19, Elliott has seen his advantage dwindle following events at Bowman Gray Stadium and Gresham Motorsports Park.
Kyle Larson, the winner at Gresham, is second in the current points rundown, only three behind Elliott, 230-227. Corey LaJoie, who posted the win at Bowman Gray, is third, just six out of the lead. Series veteran Brett Moffitt is fourth, while Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder “Big Bill” France, rounds out the top five.
Brandon Gdovic of Yorktown has gotten off to a strong start in 2012 and ranks sixth in the current points rundown. He’ll be in search of his first series victory within Langley’s friendly confines on Saturday night.
Sergio Pena of Winchester, Va., was the winner in last year’s inaugural running of the Visit Hampton VA 175, leading 99 of 175 laps on the way to the checkered flag.
A three-time race winner in 2011, Pena’s results in 2012 haven’t quite lived up to his high expectations as he settles in with a new team, Hattori Racing. He has shown signs of breaking out of the slump in recent weeks, though, clambering into the top 10 in the championship battle.
The entry list for the Visit Hampton VA 175 shows 22 drivers from 11 states and four foreign countries. In keeping with the series’ traditional role as a developmental proving ground, 12 of the 22 entrants are identified as Rookie of the Year candidates.
When it comes to instant name recognition, especially among the more youthful demographic, no rookie can top Travis Pastrana, who is expected to be in the starting field on Saturday night. The X Games superstar will be sporting sponsorship from iRacing.com on his Toyota.
A virtual version of Langley Speedway recently debuted on the racing simulation site, which Pastrana uses to familiarize himself with the tracks on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Nationwide Series circuits.
The Visit Hampton VA 175 will be recorded on Saturday night and broadcast on the SPEED channel on Thursday, June 28, at 3 p.m.