The CARS Tour race at Langley Speedway was the first foray into the state of Virginia in 2021. The flat 4/10ths of a mile pure oval produced a blistering pace for the 20 car field.
The race haulers parked in the infield jettisoned to the outside of turns 1 and 2 at the 71-year-old facility. The fans in attendance were graced with a clear view of the backstretch as Bombers, Grand stocks, and Super Trucks laid rubber into the surface. As the lights came on, the CARS Tour rolled off of pit road to a vocal and receptive crowd.
It is fitting that Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway stands next to a NASA research facility. The Justin Johnson Racing cars appeared to be literal rockets during the visithampton.com 125. JJR cars both qualified on the front row as Kaden Honeycut scored the pole with a time of 15.733 seconds. Johnson clocked in a lap just two one-thousandths of a second slower for second place.
Cars pace around Langley Speedway as the CARS Tour gets ready to go green on June 5, 2021. (Bridger Swinimer photo)
On lap eight, the yellow banner flew for the first time in the Late Model Stock Car feature for a Matt Waltz spin in turn two. Turn two proved to be the action spot for a few drivers throughout the race. The 21st lap of the race presented contact between Terry Carroll and the new driver of the Junior Motorsports entry, Connor Jones. Both drivers continued without a caution flag after they had sustained cosmetic damage on their fenders.
Daniel Silvestri rode around the track sparking against the asphalt for multiple laps after lap 50. There was a heavy nudge from Brandon Pierce as Silvestri tried to drive as smoothly as possible. A couple of laps later, the valence of Silvestri’s car shot out embers of sparks as his right front tire finally went down completely in turn four on lap 56.
The following restart exhibited significant bumping and banging. Multiple cars broke traction with the track surface in turn two. Timothy Peters, Jonathan Findley, and Justin Caroll stacked up on the restart and were involved in the incident. Connor Jones and Sam Yarbrough also suffered cosmetic damage from the second attempt in completing lap 56. Timothy Peters retired immediately after the collision as other drivers made it down pit lane for repairs.
On the next restart, the third-place qualifier, Deac McCaskill, slowed down the inside line. The field had to check up when he spun his tires on the restart. Kaden Honeycut and Justin Johnson had a clean break from the competition. After a couple of challenges from the team owner, Justin Johnson began to lose sight of the Aledo Texas native that drove Johnson’s other car. Honeycut paced the field for the next portion of the race.
A couple of race cars pulled into the pit lane after attempted repairs. Their vehicles dealt with lingering effects from previous incidents. Matt Waltz and Jonathan Findley finished 18th and 19th. Their efforts ended on lap 81 for the Bristow, Virginia native of Findley. The next lap, Waltz retired for the night.
It was an agonizing evening for the Autos by Nelson team at Langley Speedway. With Timothy Peters already out of contention at the very back of the field, Bobby McCarty struggled with handling issues. McCarty ended up finishing two laps down in 17th position. The frequent flyer of the CARS Tour, Minnesota native Joe Valento, had his share of struggles. The team had an axle break in qualifying and had to start in the rear after repairs. Valento’s car finished its trip to Langley Speedway in 16th position, one lap down.
A clean run to the finish for Kaden Honeycut cemented his dominant comeback victory after a gut-wrenching loss from a green-white-checkered restart two weeks ago at Caraway Speedway. Honeycut’s run at redemption was an absolute flag-to-flag blowout. Justin Johnson Racing was in a completely different orbit at the visithampton.com 125. Kaden felt that he fully vanquished what was rightfully his just two weeks after the bump-and-run interfered with his chances at victory.
“Our plan was to kick everybody’s butt this weekend,” Honeycut said. “We’ve got a ton more opportunities to go win more races. I was sitting there riding with him (Johnson). That was the plan from the get-go. Whoever had the best tires and car was going to win the race. This whole group has just been an awesome team to work with the past couple of weeks.”
Justin Johnson came out of his car a proud team owner but the competitor inside him was still frustrated with finishing so close to the top with a fast race machine.
“We kind of rode early in the race, I think I rode a bit too much”, Johnson discussed. Sometimes on these things, if you don’t set the nose right you’ll wear the right front off of it.”
Johnson was very proud of his driver and his team despite coming up short at Langley.
“I’m proud of Kaden, he’s the future of the sport,” said Johnson. “He’s going to be something someday. I’m proud to see him in victory lane, it’s just awesome to have us 1-2 here. If we get the edges smoothed out and get him calmed down a little bit, he’s going to win a lot of races.”
Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway proved to be a difficult place to pass the front-runners. Despite a few tangles and some torn-up sheet metal, the event ran quickly and cleanly. The tidewater-area fans were vocal. The excitement for premier short-track racing in Virginia was evident. Warm sunshine kept the heat in the track throughout the day before the lights came on. It made drive-off difficult for most of the competitors. Justin Johnson’s race team proved that their technical prowess on flat tracks is a force to be reckoned with.
On June 19th, the CARS Late Model Stock Tour will make their farthest trip up north in 2021 to Dominion Raceway. The Virginia stretch of the CARS Tour already has plenty of storylines heading into the hot summer nights of short track action. Interviews, recaps, pictures, and videos of Late Model Stock Car racing and Limited Late Models can be found at race22 on Facebook and race22.com The Short Track Authority.
Cover photo by Bridger Swinimer.
- Kaden Honeycut
- Justin Johnson
- Deac McCaskill
- Layne Riggs
- Jared Fryar
- Mini Tyrell
- Sam Yarbrough
- Jonathan Shafer
- Daniel Silvestri
- Connor Jones
- Brandon Pierce
- Sam Butler
- Justin S. Carroll
- Terry Caroll
- Mason Diaz
- Joe Valento
- Bobby McCarty
- Matt Waltz
- Jonathan Findley
- Timothy Peters