When Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway’s newest owner Bill Mullis announced his plans to reopen the legendary race track’s gates on April 1st, it would not only mean the track would be open once again, but it would also mean the track’s annual Hampton Heat 200 would return in July. The return of the centerpiece race at the Northern Virginia race track makes one man happy.
Greg Edwards, a stalwart at Langley, has called Langley his hometown track for nearly 30 years. He’s amassed over 100 wins total! He’s won almost all of the longer distance races that’s been held at Langley over the years, but there’s one that’s always slipped through his fingers it is the Hampton Heat 200.
The 200 lap affair has been a mainstay for the Late Model Stock Car teams and drivers alike. It’s also a pivotal event of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown Series, which plays host to three races at three different venues, Edwards hasn’t been able to capture the win in the longest and richest race of the Langley race season. Edwards spoke about how hard it is to win the event.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” exclaimed Edwards. “This is just one race where having the fastest car almost never results in a win. It always seems to come down to luck and where you place yourself at the end and we just had bad circumstances a lot of times.”
Edwards has ran all eight years of “the 200”, he’s scored 4 top 5’s and 6 top 10’s with a best finish of second back in 2011. One unique fact is of the 6 races he’s completed, he’s finished in the top 10 every time and has completed every lap on the lead lap.
In the last Hampton Heat, in 2015, Edwards actually took the lead from eventual race winner Lee Pulliam thanks to a bump and run, but Pulliam would repay the favor and take the lead back late in the race. Edwards would wind up finishing third. Edwards spoke about the contact with Pulliam “At that point of the race, I thought my car was a little better through the corners than Lee’s was, so I made a run on him and bumped him and it moved him up the track. He caught back up and paid me back, it was just good, hard racing. I had no problems and I wasn’t even mad.”
After the spectacular race with Lee Pulliam, C.E. Falk & Matt Waltz in 2015, Edwards was ready for the 2016 edition to come around, but the track shut down for the entire campaign. With the 2017 season already halfway through and the Hampton Heat 200 just on the horizon, Edwards is more than ready to get back to the track.
“I’m just hoping to build from that (2015) run,” said Edwards. “But I just got to go into it like it’s a normal race and do my normal thing, if we just do that we’ve got a shot.”.
Edwards wouldn’t stop there, as he would continue on to talk about how this year is his best chance to finally take home the $10,000 check. “I feel like for most, if not all of this year, consistently we’ve had one of if not the best car. It’s just putting it all together is the tricky part, it’s really just going to come down to me doing everything I can do possible to save tires and us as team not trying to beat ourselves.”
With the expected entry list swelling to up nearly 40 late models, this season’s event is shaping up to be one of the biggest and greatest races at Langley. With the amount of talent that’s expected to try and vie for the big payday, I had to get the opinion of from one of the greatest drivers to race at the historic facility.
“I couldn’t pick just one” said Edwards with excitement “I know there’s a lot of drivers like C.E., Mark, Matt and Danny that’s coming, there’s going to be a lot of great cars in this race so literally almost anybody can win it but I sure hope it could possibly be me somehow.”
With Edwards saying earlier that the race is pretty hard to win and the fastest car never wins it, it’ll be if harder, if not impossible to win in 2017. The race day temperature is supposed to be in the mid 90’s, but the heat index is calling for 112 degrees. The early evening temperature is calling for a low of around high 70’s to low 80’s with the heat index still hovering around 105. If the temperatures do stay that high, it could cause the cars to slide around on a temperature sensitive track and the drivers could pass out quickly due to exhaustion.
“The heat seems to make Langley very slick” cleverly thinking Edwards “the people who are going to run good in this race are going to want to have a very neutral race car. If not, it’s going to make you exhausted behind the wheel and maybe even dehydrated. So I could see somebody who’s got it more neutral or better handling car than others, not use up not as much energy, that would make it a little easier on their bodies. It might be a big advantage at the end when we’re all hot and tired.”
Ahead of the 9th installment of the Hampton Heat 200, Greg would like to take the time to thank his sponsors Danny’s Glass, 97.3 The Eagle, Brauers Mechanical, Fair Distributing, Charlie High Racing Engines and Creech Motorsports. He would also love to thank his car owner James Long and the crew that works so hard for him Phil, Mason, Ryan, Keith and Craig. “If it wasn’t for my sponsors and the hardest working crew over there, I wouldn’t have a chance to race more than less compete and win races week in and week out.”
The Hampton Heat 200 kicks off on Friday July 21st with a 4 hour long test session. The gates will swing open Saturday morning at 9:00 with practice commencing at 12:00, the unique qualifying session will take place at 4:30 and the Hampton Heat 200 is scheduled to start around 9:00. General Admission tickets are $12, Military discounted and Senior Citizens tickets are $10, children (6 to 12) is $5 with kids 5 and under get in for free. Langley Speedway is offering a special Family 4-pack which features 2 adults and 2 children for $30. Come on out to Langley and enjoy the second round of the Virginia Triple Crown Championship.