The Hampton Heat 200 is the one race at Langley Speedway that every local driver has circled on their calendar each year, but all of them have been forced to watch as outsiders such as Philip Morris, Bobby McCarty and Lee Pulliam take home the checkered flag in the last three events.

Poquoson, Virginia resident and Late Model veteran Greg Edwards is looking to break that trend on Saturday night, as he enters the race with confidence on his side after picking up three victories at the track earlier this year.

Although Edwards wants nothing more than a Hampton Heat 200 victory on his prestigious Late Model resume, he does not plan to approach the race differently than any other event he’s participated in at Langley over the last three decades.

“Winning the Hampton Heat would be a tremendous relief for me,” Edwards said. “We’ve won everything else up there, but we haven’t won the big one. I’m not going to put a lot of pressure on myself, so I’m going to go up there, try to keep the nose clean and go for the win at the end of the race.”

Edwards enters the Hampton Heat 200 as one of the most successful drivers in the history of Langley’s Late Model division, as he picked up his first title in 1998 before registering four more in 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Edwards was one of 25 drivers who participated in the inaugural Hampton Heat 200 in 2008, where he was a factor for the win all evening before bringing his Late Model home in the third position behind Danny Edwards Jr. and race-winner Nick Smith.

Edwards has not missed a single Hampton Heat 200 since the first race and has been one of the more consistent drivers in the prestigious event with four Top 5’s, but he has never been the first driver to take the checkered flag.

The closest Edwards came to achieving that goal was in 2012, where he led 78 of the race’s 203 laps before losing the lead to Kenny Forbes shortly after the halfway point. Edwards never got back in contention for the win and was forced to settle for a sixth-place finish.

Edwards knows that he is more than capable of controlling the pace of the Hampton Heat like he did in 2012, but he intends to conserve his equipment in the first half of the 200-lap feature to ensure that he has something to utilize for the end of the race.

“You have to be really steady on the wheel and the throttle,” Edwards said. “Langley is flat and really slick, and you have to be really cautious about tires just like you would at Hickory or Myrtle Beach. Being conservative there early on really helps you out at the end.”

While Edwards is focused on the win, he also hopes to break a string of bad luck that he has had since the race returned in 2016 following the brief closure of Langley Speedway. An accident on Lap 171 knocked Edwards out of the race in 2017, while a mechanical failure in 2018 forced him to retire after only 18 laps.

Edwards believes he can re-establish the consistency he had prior to Langley’s closure in 2016 on Saturday, but he knows that there are plenty of factors that will impact the outcome of the race, such as different strategies and the sweltering heat.

Edwards has gotten use to all of the different obstacles that could potentially stand in his way, but he added that not putting himself in an ideal situation during the early stages could decide whether or not he contends for the victory at all.

“We need to put ourselves in the right group of cars,” Edwards said. “In every race here, there is always that group of four or five cars that separate themselves from the others. I want to be in that group somewhere regardless if I’m first, second or third and just do whatever they do.”

Along with Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 winner Peyton Sellers and four-time Whelen All-American Series champion Lee Pulliam, Edwards will also have to contend with several Langley Late Model regulars for the Hampton Heat 200 title such as Connor Hall, who only trails Edwards by five points in the Late Model standings at the track.