HAMPTON, Va. — After several tantalizing near misses in the season’s first eight races, Nick Smith finally cashed in on Saturday evening, posting his first two victories with a sweep of the St. Leo University/Cook’s Moving Service Twin 75s for the EZ Auto in Newport News Late Model Stock Cars, the headlining events of Langley Speedway’s weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program.
Matt Waltz bagged the pole for the opener, at 91.078 mph, and paced the first nine circuits. Smith, who started fifth, advanced to the runner-up spot on lap seven, then grabbed the top spot three laps later. Waltz stayed within striking distance of Smith for the remainder of the race, sneaking an occasional peek to the inside of the leader. Things got physical over the last couple of circuits as Waltz tried to force his way underneath Smith. Smith held on, though, winning by a car-length over Waltz. C.E. Falk recovered from a flat tire on lap 8 to take third, followed by Greg Edwards and Mark Wertz.
In the nightcap, Smith emerged from a mid-race tussle with Falk and motored to a convincing victory. Smith started on the pole and led the first 27 laps with Falk in tow. On lap 28, one lap after a restart, Falk pushed his machine to the front for the first time. Smith shadowed Falk until lap 37 when he ducked under the No. 40 machine in turn four, retaking the lead on the next circuit.
By the finish, Smith had extended his winning margin to a full straightaway over Falk, who nipped Waltz by a couple feet for second. Dude Gibbs and Jeff Oakley were third and fourth, respectively, in the final running order.
Sean Calway and Randy Akers split the checkered flags in Twin 20s for the Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Streets. In the first event, Calway snagged the lead from pole-sitter Bill Eaker on lap 2 and sailed to his first win. Akers was second to the checkers, half a straightaway behind. Renno Marchetti IV was third, but got nabbed during the post-race inspection. John Pereira was the official third-place finisher, followed by Jeff Sweeney and Sammy Gaita.
In the second race, Akers muscled past Pereira on lap 7 and led the rest of the way for his second win of the season. Marchetti was the runner-up, four lengths back. Pereira was third, followed by Calway and Landon Abbott.
Connor Hall notched his fourth straight victory in the 25-lap Cycle City Corp. INEX Legends race, scuffling past Spencer Saunders to take the lead for good on lap 19. Saunders spun and dropped to fourth in the exchange, but rebounded to take second. Steve Keesee and Chris Hildebrand were third and fourth. Tommy Jackson Jr. was fifth to the line, but failed to clear the post-race inspection. Joe White moved up to fifth in the official rundown.
Jason Michaud took the lead on lap 3 and rolled to his first win in the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR feature. Kevin Morgan was second, three lengths back, while Nick Gundacker, Michael Waters and Jon Largena rounded out the top five.
Alex Floroff notched his first win in a 30-lap contest for the Bojangles’ Enduros, holding off Derrick Boggess down the stretch. Mike Gerdes, Bobby Larkin and Rodney Davis followed Floroff and Boggess to the checkers.
Late Model regular Brenden Queen moved out front on lap 7 and held on to win a 15-lapper for the Xtreme Mechanical Service INEX Bandoleros. Maddy Mulligan was second, a car-length back, followed by Trevor Wells and Dashe McLaughlin. Bradley Wilson was credited with fifth.