Greg Edwards and Matt Waltz did in two hours what they had done previously over two weeks: traded race victories at Langley Speedway. Both won a 75-lap Late Model Division race on Saturday to raise their victory totals to two apiece for the season.
Edwards, a three-time champion, won on opening night and then finished second to Waltz two weeks later. Edwards was first in the opener of the twins on Saturday, before Waltz, fourth in the opener, beat runnerup Brandon Gdovic and third-place Edwards handily in the nightcap.
After winning the previous Late Model 100 in as dominating a fashion as anyone in the division in years, Waltz appeared poised for another big night when he won the pole at 90.068 mph. His stay in the lead of the first 75-lapper on Saturday, however, lasted only a lap.
As Waltz exited Turn 3 on the second lap, Nick Smith, who qualified second, turned him. Race director Jimmie Walker penalized Smith for rough driving, placing him at the back of the field where Waltz sat after spinning.
Smith would not recover. Already having difficulty moving back up through the field, Smith sank backward, finishing 12th following contact with Rev Racing visitor Mackena Bell.
Waltz fared better, moving up to fourth place, before his progress stalled at lap 50. Even minus the contact, it’s questionable whether either would’ve had anything for Edwards.
Edwards shot from his seventh starting position to third in only a lap, inheriting the lead after the Smith-Waltz contact. From there, he ran away to victory with ease, as Mark Wertz, Gdovic, Waltz and Brenden Queen rounded out the top five in that order.
“I said we had a bad qualifying lap, but the field was so tight,” Edwards said of his seventh starting position. “I was concerned about our practice speed, but the car came to life in the race.”
Edwards led the first 12 laps of the second race and then gave way to Waltz, who passed for the lead on the inside of Turn 4. Edwards ran second until Gdovic passed him on a lap 60 restart, during which Waltz ran away from them for the win.
As Gdovic held off Edwards for second, Smith and Wertz rounded out the top five. Bell’s sixth gave Rev Racing its best finish of the season.
“We knew we had a fast car all day, (because) it was fastest in all the practices,” Waltz said. “We just got run over in the first (race).
“Nick decides to do that every once in awhile.”
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Richard Ellis took the lead from pole-sitter Matt Morgan on the 19th lap, leading the final two circuits to become the division’s third winner in as many races. Morgan started on the pole and led the first 18 laps, before being second to cross the finish line.
John Fuller – who had the fastest qualifying time, but started second when the field was inverted two places – was next to the line, followed by Jesse Jones IV and Eric Schaffer.
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Landon Florian and Bobby Hall qualified with the two fastest times, but started fourth and third, respectively, when the field was inverted. That didn’t keep them from dueling for the checkered flag, as so often happens in this division.
Hall needed just three laps to take the lead from pole-sitter Jordan Wood. Hall held that lead for the final 27 laps en route to victory, with Florian a close second, Steve Williams third, Wood fourth and J.B. Sipe fifth.
“Last year it was me and (Florian) first and second all year, and it looks like us again,” Hall said. “I was second a lot more than he was, so this year we’re going to try and flip that around.”
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