Among area sports venues, Langley Speedway is as capable of throwing a curve ball as any. An on-track incident or postrace inspection decision can change the complexion of a division championship race in a heartbeat.
For the moment, however, Langley has become very predictable as several drivers flex their muscles on a weekly basis. Foremost among them is Robbie Babb, who won Modified Division twin 30-lappers on Saturday to increase his victory total to six wins in seven races.
Six of seven, by the way, is the number of championships Shawn Balluzzo has won since Modifieds returned to Langley on a regular basis. But Balluzzo, who had a third and fourth in the twins, has yet to visit Victory Lane this season and has some work to do to catch Babb.
"It's a combination of about 75 percent horsepower and 25 percent setup," Babb said of his success this season. "It helps to have the same core of guys for about seven or eight years: my brother Jimmy Babb, Fred Jennings my tire specialist, and Harry Park.
"My engine builder and tuner John Bray is doing a great job. We're all kind of gelling right now."
Recent winner Jimmy Humblet stalked Babb for nearly 20 laps in the first race, but fell off during a pit stop. Babb beat Matt Slye by four car-lengths to win that race, with Balluzzo third.
Babb finished four lengths ahead of Slye again to win the second race. Balluzzo challenged him for first for about 24 laps, but saw his momentum slowed by two late cautions and dropped to fourth, one place behind Mike Rudy.
"To be honest, this mind-boggling," Babb said. "If someone had told me before the season we'd start off this good, I'd have told them they were crazy."
Late Model star C.E. Falk and emerging Legends standout Connor Hall are two other drivers dominating their divisions routinely. Falk continued his seemingly inevitable drive toward a fourth Late Model title in five seasons by sweeping twin 63-lappers.
Falk trailed Nick Smith, who grabbed the pole with a 91.230 mph lap, for the first 42 laps. After taking the lead on lap 43, Falk held off a late charge by Smith to win by a car length.
In the second race, Falk fought off an early bid from Matt Waltz, who has two wins this season, and led 62 of 63 laps en route to victory. Falk has six wins in eight attempts this season.
"I'm kind of surprised that we've won six of eight," Falk said. "The first two races we had a great car, the second two wins were kind of handed to us and Saturday we had to work hard for them.
"The Late Model competition is so tough at Langley that you've got to be perfect and throw everything at it to win. This year, it's not as much about having the best car or some luck.
"It's more about working hard and the will to win."
Connor Hall ran his Legends win streak to three consecutive. After beating former division champion Brad Hancock by a straightaway for the second week in a row, Hall, 16, indicated the victory could be a key one.
"We felt that getting win number three was a big hurdle to get over," Hall said. "If you can win three in a row you can do something as much as you like.
"I'm really surprised that we've been pulling away, because the Legends Division a is competitive class. We've had some motor problems at other tracks, but it's gone pretty darn close to perfect for us at Langley."
Tommy Jackson Jr. made a last-lap pass of Aaron Leach in the Pro Winged Champ Kart race, shortened from 20 to 18 laps because a lengthy caution raised fuel concerns. Aaron Leach, who led the first 17 laps, was second, followed by Jeffrey Johnson, Matthew Leach and Ryan Hudgins.
Maddy Mulligan led from the pole to win her third Bandolero 15-lapper of the season. Mason Diaz was second, followed by Dashe McLaughlin, Timmy Tyrrell and Bradley Wilson.
Late Model twin 75s highlight a six-race card on Saturday at Langley. The K&N Pro East Series visits the track on June 22.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun