Rudy, Balluzzo split 25s

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mike Rudy and his wife Kristy and crew celebrate with his win in the first 25-lap event of the evening on Friday at Langley Speedway in Hampton. It was his fourth victory of the season at Langley. — (Bill Carr/MotorSports Photo News Service)

Mike Rudy and Shawn Balluzzo picked up a win apiece as they split the BNI Twin 25s for the KeesVacations.com Modifieds, the featured events of last Friday’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at Langley Speedway.

In the opener, Rudy started on the pole, at 85.611 mph, and led all the way for his fourth win of the season.

Balluzzo shadowed Rudy throughout the event, lurking just a couple car-lengths off the leader’s bumper near the end. Seeing that he couldn’t overtake Rudy and knowing that another 25-lapper awaited, Balluzzo backed off in the closing laps, and at the checkers Rudy was the winner by almost half a straightaway over second-place Balluzzo.

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Anthony Kincaid, Matt Slye and Cameron Patrick completed the top five.

The nightcap got off to a rocky start as Slye and Patrick tangled before the first lap was in the books.   When the smoke cleared, more than half of the 11-car field was involved to some degree.

On the second try at getting the race under way, Rudy leaped ahead of Balluzzo, who had his hands full with Kincaid. After another caution flag, at lap five, Balluzzo stepped up to challenge Rudy, swiping the top spot on lap seven. Two laps later, Kincaid slipped past Rudy to gain second.

By the end of the event, Balluzzo had stretched his winning margin to better than half a straightaway over Kincaid as he nailed down his fourth win of the year.

Rudy was third, while Patrick bounced back from his opening-lap misadventure to take fourth. Kenny Forbes, who competed in last weekend’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event, was fifth in  his Langley Mod debut.

The EZ Auto in Newport News Late Model Stock Cars end a three-week hiatus on Saturday, as Langley Speedway continues its 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series campaign with Budweiser Night.

Twin 50-lappers for the Late Models headline a six-race feature card, which also includes: Heritage Motor Co. Super Streets (40 laps); Larry King Law Super Trucks (25 laps); SavitaPets.com UCARs (25 laps); and, Cook’s Moving Service Enduros (40 laps).

With two wins and five runner-up finishes, Greg Edwards owns a healthy 21-point lead over Casey Wyatt in the Late Model standings, 219-198. From second on back, though, the points margins are razor-thin. Wes Falk is third in the current rundown, only two behind Wyatt. Mark Wertz is fourth, just two behind Falk, and Shayne Lockhart rounds out the top five, four behind Wertz.

Three-time champion C.E. Falk leads the division with five wins. Hamstrung by a pair of disqualifications on May 19, however, he finds himself in seventh place, 54 points out of the lead.

C.E. Falk took a break from the weekly Late Model wars last weekend after making a too-brief appearance in the June 28 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway. His Late Model inactivity cost him a couple spots in this week’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national top 500 as he slipped from fifth to seventh.

Northeastern Modified aces have surged in the national rankings with former champ Ted Christopher taking over the top spot. Late Model driver Nate Monteith is second, followed by Modified driver Keith Rocco, another former champ. Anthony Anders, who had led the title chase until this week, slid to fourth, followed by Ryan Preece. Deac McCaskill is sixth, just ahead of Falk.

Other Langley regulars in the top 500 include: Greg Edwards (57th); Wes Falk (115th); Wertz (122nd); Wyatt (132nd); Terry Carroll (165th); Lockhart (175th); Danny Edwards Jr. (192nd); Jeff Shiflett (288th); Duane Shreeves (304th); J.T. Jackson (450th); and, Nick Smith (475th).

In the Virginia state standings, C.E. Falk maintains the top spot, followed by Matt Bowling, Lee Pulliam, Peyton Sellers and Josh Berry. Greg Edwards and Wes Falk hold down seventh and 11th, respectively, while Wyatt and Wertz are 13th and 14th. Lockhart is 16th and Danny Edwards Jr. rounds out the top 20.