Langley Speedway

Photo: Mark Wertz

Racing community mourns driver killed after crash at Langley Speedway

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Shawn Balluzzo, an 11-time track champion at Langley Speedway, died after a crash in a modified race Saturday night, the track confirmed. Balluzzo was 64.

Balluzzo, who won 16 of the Hampton, Virginia track’s 17 modified races in 2019, died after his car went over the hood of another and hit the Turn 2 wall at about 70 mph, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The newspaper reported that safety personnel cut the roof of Balluzzo’s car off to extricate him.

Saturday’s twin modified races were the first of the season for that series at the track. Belluzzo finished second in the opening race.

Balluzzo and his daughter Bryce were featured last year by WAVY TV 10, which chronicled Bryce’s battle with leukemia.

 

Tributes to Shawn Balluzzo were abundant Sunday morning and came from throughout the racing community.

 

Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown cancelled for 2016, plans to return in 2017

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The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown has been cancelled for 2016.

According to Denny Hamlin Foundation Race Coordinator Buck Reuss, uncertainty about the host track’s future prompted the cancellation.

“It is correct, the race has been cancelled for 2016,” Reuss said in an email to NASCAR Talk. “But only for this year.

“As for another track, it had been done in the past, but with the timing (Denny Hamlin Foundation) thought it would be better to wait until 2017.”

Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, was to host the event on April 21, but a dispute between the track operator and the individual that owns the land the track sits upon left the Showdown in limbo.

The track, which opened in 1950, has not posted its regular race schedule for 2016. That further prompted the Denny Hamlin Foundation to cancel this year’s charity race.

Also, because of the stalemate, NASCAR has not re-signed to hold three races it typically holds at Langley: one in the K&N Pro Series East and two other races in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series, according to the Daily Press.

This would have been the ninth annual Showdown and first at Langley Speedway. The Late Model race had previously taken place at Southside Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and South Boston Speedway.

The event raises funds for the Foundation, which supports Cystic Fibrosis research and therapy.

If the current issues involving Langley are resolved, Reuss said the Showdown could be held there in 2017.

Previous Showdown winners:

2015 – Timothy Peters

2014 – Matt Bowling

2013 – Kyle Busch

2012 – Tony Stewart

2011 – Denny Hamlin

2010 – C.E. Falk

2009 – Kyle Busch

2008 – Kyle Busch

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Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown moving to new track in 2016

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown will move to Langley (Va.). Speedway next year, it was announced Saturday.

The Late Model race, which supports the Denny Hamlin Foundation, is scheduled for April 2016.

“We talked about the from the very beginning about rotating race tracks every few years or so,’’ Hamlin said after winning Saturday’s Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway.

“Every venue has done a great job of expanding it. I think Langley is just the next step in that phase. They have huge crowds. They’re bending over backwards for us to come there and host an event, and hopefully, we’re going to put on another great Short Track Showdown next year. It’s a great track. They’ve got new pavement there. It’s where I got my very first NASCAR win, so it makes sense to go back there.’’

The Showdown will return to South Boston Speedway in 2018, starting a planned two-year rotation between South Boston and Langley.

Hamlin began his stock-car racing career in 1997 at Langley Speedway. He won rookie of the year and the track championship in the mini stock series that season.

Langley Speedway, a 4/10-mile oval located in Hampton, Va., will be the fourth site to host Hamlin’s event.

The Late Model race debuted in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a track near Hamlin’s Chesterfield, Va., home. The event moved to Richmond International Raceway in 2011. The event went to South Boston (Va.) Speedway in 2014. This year’s Showdown at South Boston, which featured a controversial finish, was broadcast on NBCSN.

The Denny Hamlin Foundation supports Cystic Fibrosis research and therapy.

Previous winners of the event:

2015 – Timothy Peters

2014 – Matt Bowling

2013 – Kyle Busch

2012 – Tony Stewart

2011 – Denny Hamlin

2010 – C.E. Falk

2009 – Kyle Busch

2008 – Kyle Busch