Florian takes Langley championship

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Suffolk’s Landon Florian, driver of the No. 98 car in the Pro Six field, celebrates in Victory Lane at Langley Speedway with family and crew after winning the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship by a margin of only one point.

Steve Williams led all the way from the pole for his second win in the 30-lap Standard Welding Pro Six feature at Langley Speedway on Saturday.

It wasn’t quite enough, though, as Landon Florian finished second, a car-length back, and claimed the 2012 title by a single point.

Casey Sipe and Nelson Moody were third and fourth, respectively, while Neil Sipe completed the top five.

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In the main feature on Saturday, Mike Rudy took the lead for good on lap 63 and rolled to a $5,000 payday, winning the Racing For Hope Foundation Modified Madness 100.

Robbie Babb qualified on the pole, at 87.207 mph, but faltered on the start, triggering a caution flag on the opening lap. Finally under way, Anthony Kincaid and Rudy traded the lead twice in the first two laps before Rudy settled into the top spot.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Cale Gale of Winston-Salem, N.C., pushed his car to the front on lap 7, bringing 2012 Langley Mod champ Shawn Balluzzo along with him.

Balluzzo snagged the top spot from Gale on lap 16, only to see Gale return the favor on the following lap. Balluzzo returned to the lead on lap 26, followed by Rudy and Hunter Slayton.

On lap 32, Rudy and Slayton slipped by Balluzzo. Nine laps later, Slayton took the lead, while Balluzzo regained second on lap 46. Balluzzo moved back into the lead on lap 58, two laps before a 10-minute break.

Returning to the track, Balluzzo, Slayton, Rudy, Gale and Darrell Vance occupied the top five positions. Rudy chose to restart to the outside of Balluzzo and grabbed the lead on lap 61. Balluzzo rallied on lap 62, but gave way to Rudy on lap 63.

Balluzzo rode Rudy’s rear bumper until lap 86 when the fourth yellow flag waved. The fifth caution flag appeared for a multi-car snarl on the ensuing restart. Under green for a dash to the finish, Rudy pulled away, while Todd VanGuilder swiped second from teammate Balluzzo.

On lap 87, Gale scooted by Balluzzo for third. Over the closing circuits, Rudy rocketed away from the pack, winning by half a straightaway over VanGuilder. Gale was third, followed by Balluzzo and Vance.