Balluzzo continues win streak at Langley

Published 9:18 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shawn Balluzzo survived a pair of late restarts and stormed to his eighth win in the 50-lap Modified feature at Langley Speedway on Saturday. Balluzzo started on the pole and pulled away by better than half a straightaway during the first 45 caution-free circuits. A caution flag on lap 46 and another on the ensuing restart bunched the field, though, setting up a quick dash to the finish, where Balluzzo had to fight off Mike Rudy on the restarts and drove on to a three-length win. Rudy was second, followed by Michael Johnson, Robbie Babb and Anthony Kincaid.

Shawn Balluzzo stands in victory lane with his winning car and trophy presenter Kristin Wray after his eighth win of the season in the “Modified” feature Saturday.

In the feature race, Jason Myers took the lead for good on lap 116 and sailed to victory in the Newport News Shipbuilding/BayPort Credit Union 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

It was the second tour win for the Walnut Cove, N.C., driver and his first since an August 2006 event at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem.

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Rookie contender Danny Bohn earned his first career pole, at 92.224 mph. Rear-end problems on the parade laps forced him to the pits, though, passing the pole position to Tim Brown.

Brown paced the first five laps before surrendering the top spot to series points leader George Brunnhoelzl III. Brunnhoelzl’s stay at the front lasted until lap 23, when Corey LaJoie, subbing for an injured Burt Myers, pushed his machine to the point. Myers, who started seventh on the 15-car grid, took the lead for the first time on lap 38.

On a restart at lap 52, though, LaJoie bypassed Myers to regain the top spot. The second caution flag appeared on lap 76 for the halfway break. The field was brought under control and directed to the pit lane.

Back under way, LaJoie, already a Langley winner this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, resumed command of the event. Another caution flag flew on lap 100 when Brunnhoelzl spun on the backstretch. On the ensuing restart, LaJoie suffered transmission problems and failed to come up to speed, triggering a multi-car melee in Turn 1.

As LaJoie retreated to the sidelines, Brown assumed the lead. Back under green, at lap 111, Brown pulled ahead of Myers, whose car seemed to take a few laps to really get going. On lap 116, Myers ducked underneath Brown off Turn 2 and grabbed the lead as they exited Turn 4.

Frank Fleming and Andy Seuss followed Myers’ cue and bypassed Brown, dropping him to fourth. Brown soon dropped another position, giving way to John Smith. Fleming and Seuss were able to hang with Myers for several circuits, and then the leader began to edge away.

By the finish, Myers had extended his winning margin to better than half a straightaway. Fleming was the runner-up, holding off a determined Seuss down the stretch. Smith was fourth, while Brown completed the top five.