Story by: Mark Rogers, Jr. ~ [email protected]
Hampton, VA(January 25, 2013) — Langley Speedway, a tricky, demanding and unforgiving race track that commands full attention, opened its doors to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Models once again in 2012. Langley Speedway offers no relaxation to the 11 different race divisions of racing around its four corners as you are constantly in the wheel around the entire track. Passing is difficult, entry into the turns and getting back into the throttle is a challenge. To do it without contact and without angering the other guy becomes nearly impossible, but then again… probably down right deliberate.
Conquering the flat banked oval and celebrating in victory lane appears to be the norm for Virginia Beach native CE Falk. If not for the evidence of sweat and exhaustion, CE Falk has certainly had his way at Langley Speedway. Falk came in to the 2012 season as the three-time defending track champion. That said, the competition in the Late Model division at Langley Speedway can only scratch their heads. Racers Danny Edwards Jr, brother Greg Edwards, Mark Wertz just to name a few, like the rest, had seen enough and 2012 marked a new year to dethrone CE Falk as track champion.
Of all the Langley regulars, Greg Edwards has been the biggest threat to the CE Falk reign around Langley Speedway. Between the two, at some point during any given race, the two would treat fans to many laps of door to door, beating and banging racing. Sometimes, it’s clean. Sometimes, it’s mean. However, watching it all go down brings Langley Speedway fans to their feet and the 2012 Late Model season was sure to be more of the same. Casey Wyatt, Shayne Lockhart, Wesley Falk, Mark Wertz and Danny Edwards, Jr. had been a tick or two off the last couple of years and couldn’t wait to see what 2012 had in store for them.
The race season got underway with an April 7th event and who would have thought there would have been post-race controversy from its two biggest competitors? CE Falk came into the season at Langley Speedway with a huge wave of momentum from collecting wins at South Boston Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway. However, putting up a seventh place effort in qualifying had the track champ frustrated knowing that his rival would start on pole. Falk would work his way through the field and, a late race caution, found the two rivals ready to do battle. When the green flag waved, Falk made his move to the inside of Edwards in turn one.
Instead, Falk turned Edwards around in a bloom of smoke. Fans went wild, pointing fingers and even gesturing the one finger salute when the #40 of CE Falk went by the front stretch. Soon after, the news came over the radio that CE Falk would be sent to the rear for rough driving. With just a hand full of laps left, Wesley Falk assumed the lead and went on to win the drama filled event to open the Late Model race season at Langley Speedway. But the action didn’t stop there, while one Falk celebrated in Victory Lane, the other (CE Falk) was left tangling with a very angry Greg Edwards race team.
The skirmish didn’t last long thanks in part to track owner Bill Mullis, who played a part in breaking things up. But it was James Long, the car owner for Greg Edwards, who got the best shot in and as a result was rumored to pay a fine along with another member of Edwards’ race team. None the less, the rivalry has reached a new level. guaranteeing a heated and thrilling Late Model race season at Langley Speedway. For the other regulars, none had a problem if Edwards and Falk wanted to tear each other’s cars up. They all would agree, better to stay out of it and stay away from it.
Langley’s Late Models would get together once again in late April for twin 50’s and, of course the talk was whether Greg Edwards and CE Falk could make five laps before wrecking each other. But if either had a 2012 track championship in mind, both were going to have to settle back down and refocus their race teams. But on this night, it was CE Falk picking up both wins with Greg Edwards and Mark Wertz having solid runs as well. That night of racing closed out the month of April and the season was already hot along with a lot of tempers. All we can do is wonder what the month of May has in store, I mean, what else could possibly happen at Langley Speedway?
After being rained out in the first week of May, racing resumed with CE Falk grabbing two more convincing wins but, after post-race inspections, the drama began. CE Falk was disqualified and stripped of his two wins for that night for illegal truck arm bushings. Now get this, first he was DQ’d for both races and then later in the week, he was given one of those wins back. Then, in a strange twist of events, an appeal was made that saw the truck arm bushings travel from NASCAR R&D in Charlotte NC to NASCAR R&D at Daytona where NASCAR’s Mike Helton was involved in determining that the bushings were in fact, illegal. So, when the smoke cleared, Nascar then stripped Falk of the one win that Langley Speedway gave back. In the end, CE Falk is DQ’ed from both wins and that hands it all over to Greg Edwards who gets both wins and the points lead. What else could go wrong for CE Falk in 2012 at Langley Speedway?
The following week, Falk and the others were back at it again with twin 50’s on the schedule. Mark Wertz, Wesley Falk, Shayne Lockhart and Casey Wyatt were all having solid seasons at this point posting top-five finishes and staying within reach of points leader Greg Edwards. Could one of these guys make a run at Edwards for a track title?
The following week, twin 50’s were scheduled and along with it, more Langley Speedway drama. Greg Edwards flexed his muscles and grabbed yet another pole in 2012. However, Edwards was forced to give up that pole and start in the rear after tech officials checked for tranny fluid. Apparently, Edwards was shy of one cup full which good thing for the series points leader. Had he been checked after the races, Edwards would have been subject to disqualification. CE Falk would go on to win the first feature with a strong run in second from Greg Edwards who had to start in the rear. In the second feature, Falk would lose an engine handing the lead over to Greg Edwards. But with 10 laps to go, Edwards was slowing having to give way to Shayne Lockhart for his first win in 2012.
While Edwards continued his points lead, it was CE Falk collecting the next four wins prior to Langley Speedway’s premier race event, the Hampton Heat 200. Matt Bowling collected that win and the $10,000 on that night as Edwards and Falk rivalry flared back up once again. Just after the midway point, on a restart, Falk get in the back of Edwards who went around. Falk was able to sneak underneath and grab the lead but Langley officials would send Falk to the rear for aggressive driving. In the end, CE Falk regrouped and finished second but, for Greg Edwards, his ride was not the same. He would finish towards the back of the field.
Rain would all but destroy the racing schedule in the month of August. Fortunately, they were able to get in twin 50’s on a very steamy summer night. At this point, Greg Edwards was still in command of the points. Wesley Falk had made ground but the rains would kill his chances to catch the leader. Mark Wertz, who started strong at the beginning of the season, was sporting crutches in his walk with a bad ankle. Lockhart and Wyatt would continue their string of top-five’s. For CE Falk, his 2012 race season took yet another turn that saw him win one, then lose one by disqualification on that same night.
In a strange set of misfortunes, after winning the first feature of the evening and prior to the start of the second feature, left side body weights belonging to Falk were seen flying across the track in the warm up laps. Falk would quickly seek service on pit road but the green flag was going to wave with or without him and CE Falk exited pit road in a hurry. From the rear of the field, CE Falk would start, but by lap 50, he crossed the stripe in first. After going through scales it was very clear that the weights did in fact belong to Falk and was disqualified for not making weight. Shayne Lockhart was declared the winner of the second feature of the evening.
Langley Speedway’s season finale hosted twin 50’s and was set to crown a Late Model champion. Greg Edwards, though collecting a pair of wins by disqualification, had still yet to see victory lane in 2012. Though he help the points lead going in, winning would be sweet, but staying clean and winning a third track championship was his team’s goal in 2012. However, Edwards just couldn’t resist as he and CE Falk continued their side-by-side, door-to-door, beating and banging brawl that lasted an entire race season at Langley Speedway. CE Falk would take the twin 50’s but his rival, Greg Edwards, was crowned Langley Speedways 2012 track champion.
While Greg Edwards and CE Falk were once again the highlight makers, they also were once again the controversy makers as well. Think this battle of track supremacy is over, just wait till 2013.
J.T. Jackson would earn rookie of the year honors while Wesley Falk, Shayne Lockhart showed much improvement being very competitive and picking up wins in 2012. Langley Speedway, though cut short on races in 2012 thanks to the rains, hosted another grand season of Late Model racing drama along with a lot of on and off track controversy between the drivers. With a newly repaved track surface for 2013, wonder what else could possibly happen at Langley Speedway?