HAMPTON — The increased competitiveness of the Late Model Division was undoubtedly a key factor in the rising attendance during the 2013 season at Langley Speedway. But what really pleased track owner Bill Mullis and general manager Chuck Hall were the consistently large crowds on those weeks the marquee Late Models were off.

It's little wonder fans are flocking to see the 10 so-called “support divisions.” Six of them featured championship chases decided by 10 points or fewer last year.

Three of those divisions — Super Street, UCAR and Legends — will be in action along with the Late Models on Saturday, when Langley Speedway opens its 64th season. Joining them on the six-race card will be the Super Truck and Bandolero drivers.

Two of the drivers whose titles were in doubt to the final laps of last season are still enjoying the championship buzz.

Because they're back to defend those titles, their hope is that it doesn't turn into a championship hangover.

Spencer Saunders, for instance, didn't expect to hoist the Legends championship trophy going into the final weekend. He fell behind Connor Hall early in the '13 season and was six points off the lead going into the final-night doubleheader.

“We knew we were behind the eight-ball, but we never gave up,” Saunders said. “I just said, ‘Let's go out and win these last two races and see what happens.' ”

He did win, and what else happened was that Hall, who led the division with five victories, finished an uncharacteristic seventh and fourth. The results gave Saunders a 224-221 edge in the final standings.

“I'd rather win that way than win every race,” Saunders said. “I'd rather be the underdog, the guy people don't pay attention to. I'd rather come out of nowhere and be the closer.”

That won't happen this year. Hall has moved into the Late Model division, while longtime division heavyweights Brad Hancock and Steve Keesse are not expected to run full schedules.

Of the returning drivers, only Tommy Jackson Jr., fourth in the standings a year ago, won a race. Still, Saunders isn't taking a repeat for granted.

“Chris Hildebrand showed up at practice the other night and was really fast,” Saunders said. Tommy Jackson and Chris Raiford are other guys I'm keeping my eye on.

“And though (K&N Pro Series East star) Brandon Gdovic isn't running the full season, he'll be a top-five driver at times when he does.”

For Sean Calway, the Super Street chase for the title was closer than the Legends, and his victory less expected. Randy Akers and then John Pereira both looked like they might take the crown, before Calway emerged as the winner by 280-279 over Pereira. A late pass in the final race to move him into fifth place gave Calway the edge to win the title.

“A disqualification cost Randy the championship and John blew a motor the next to last week,” Calway said. “It's really important to show up with a consistently competitive car, and a legal car, every week.

“The whole thing was pretty exciting and I was happy to get the championship last year.”

While Akers said recently he does not have the sponsorship to run a full schedule, Calway will otherwise battle most of the same guys for the top spot in Super Street. Changes also are likely in the other three support divisions racing Saturday.

UCAR

Tim Wilson finished third and second the final two weeks of last season to edge Jonathan Largena 279-270 for the title. Largena has moved on to the Modified Division, but Wilson should be tested by Jason Michaud, who is expected to be back after finishing just 13 points out of first and winning two races.

Super truck

Robbie Davis will not run this season after winning nine of 11 races en route to the Super Truck division crown. That could mean that 2013 runner-up Chase McAdams and Bill Wallace, separated by just two points last year, could battle it out for the title.

Colby Vance and former division champion Tommy Nixon should be tough, too. McAdams, a former state wrestling champion at Poquoson High, is confident.

“It looks like it's going to be a good year,” he said. “We did a lot of work over the winter, made a couple of changes and are a lot better.

“I wish Robbie was running because I'd like to get a chance to beat him. Our truck is hooked up and running on rails.”

Bandolero

The division will be without defending champion Madyson Mulligan, who has moved up to the Pro Six division, along with runner-up Dashe McLaughlin. Former champion Ryleigh Lemonds will run some races, but won't run for the title because she'll race so much at other tracks.

Bradley Wilson, Devon Courtney, Alesia Potter and Autumn Weaver are among the drivers Mulligan will mentor in the division. Zack Lightfoot is part of a sizable rookie class in the division.

O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.