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K&N Pro East News & Notes: Langley

Could History at Langley Speedway Predict the 2017 Champion?
Travis Barrett, NASCARHomeTracks.com
August 29, 2017 - 10:20am

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to historic Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, for the Visit Hampton Virginia 150 on Saturday, September 2. And, as the championship battle heads into the final three races of the season, the historic speedway will certainly have a say in the outcome.

In each of the series’ last three trips to Langley, the winner of the race has gone on to win the K&N Pro Series East title. William Byron won at Langley in 2015, Ben Rhodes was victorious in 2014 and Dylan Kwasniewski started the stretch in 2013.

Both Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland will each be trying to keep the streak alive.

Burton has four wins this season and leads Gilliland, who is also the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West point leader, by four points atop the standings. Burton’s success has come on the series’ short tracks, with wins at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Virginia’s South Boston Speedway, Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway and Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Meanwhile, Gilliland has a win at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway in July, he’s also been extremely strong on the speedways — winning back-to-back races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway. 

The plot only thickens from there. Langley is a .396-mile, slightly-banked oval which neither driver has competed on with the K&N Pro Series East. Burton and Gilliland split the last two races at tracks where neither driver had series experience at previously — with Gilliland reigning at Berlin and Burton taking the checkered flag at Thompson just one week later.

RACE: Visit Hampton Virginia 150
PLACE: Langley Speedway, Hampton, Virginia
DATE: Saturday, September 2
TIME: 9 p.m. ET
AIRDATE: NBCSN, Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .396-mile slightly banked oval
2016 WINNER: N/A
2016 POLE WINNER: N/A
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, September 2 — Garage opens: 12 p.m.; Practice: 3:15-3:55 p.m.; Final practice: 4:10-4:45 p.m.; Autograph session: 5:45-6:45 p.m.; Group qualifying: 7 p.m.; Visit Hampton Virginia 150: 9 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Vaughan Crittenden, (757) 865-7223, vaughan@langley-speedway.com
TWITTER: @LangleySpeedway
EVENT HASHTAG: #VisitHamptonVA150
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Brooke Franceschini, (386) 631-6142, bfranceschini@nascar.com.

RACE CENTRAL LIVE: EVENT SCHEDULE & ENTRY LIST

FAST FACTS:
The Race:
The Visit Hampton Virginia 150 will be the 12th of 14 races on the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 starting positions will be determined from group qualifying and the final four will be determined through provisionals. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (59.4 miles). 

The Track: Langley is a .396-mile slightly-banked asphalt oval featuring NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned events on Saturday nights throughout the racing season. The track opened in 1950 and hosted nine Grand National Division (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) races as a dirt track between 1964 and 1970, with NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leading the way with three wins. Current NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin was the track’s Mini Stock champion in 1997.

Race Winners: There have been five different winners in the five previous K&N Pro Series East races at Langley, with William Byron (2015), Ben Rhodes (2014) and Dylan Kwasniewski (2013) all winning en route to series championships in their respective title seasons. Current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie and Sergio Pena also have wins at Langley, with Pena winning the inaugural visit in 2011.

Track Records: The qualifying record was set in 2014 by Scott Heckert at 89.836 mph (15.869 seconds).

VISIT HAMPTON VIRGINIA 150 NOTES: 
Sophomore Sensation: Harrison Burton’s sophomore season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East has been, in a word, sensational. The second-generation driver from Huntersville, North Carolina, leads the series in virtually every statistical category and is atop the point standings by four points over fellow NASCAR Next driver Todd Gilliland.

Burton has four wins, 10 top fives and 11 top 10s — all to either lead or tie the category.

Feeling Green: Longtime Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Jeff Green of Owensboro, Kentucky, will be making his second career K&N Pro Series East start this weekend at Langley.

Green, who finished 22nd in the race at Iowa, will be in the No. 13 Reynolds Wrap Toyota for car owner Eric McClure on Saturday.

Green has 16 career wins in the XFINITY Series, where he was the champion in 2000 with six wins and 25 top fives in 32 races that season.

Charging Back: After opening the season with consecutive top-two finishes, including his first career win in the season opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, Ronnie Bassett Jr. hit a midseason slump that included three straight finishes of 14th or worse.

But the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, driver has come charging back into the picture in the second half of the season. With his sixth-place finish at New York’s Watkins Glen International, Bassett heads into Langley with six straight top-10 finishes, including back-to-back podium finishes at Thompson and New Hampshire. With his latest run, Bassett has closed to within just two points of Chase Purdy for third in the championship standings.

Bassett has never finished in the top 10 in the final standings.

Familiar Face: While several drivers entered in the Visit Hampton Virginia 150 have previous experience at Langley Speedway, perhaps no driver is looking forward to this weekend more than Las Vegas’ Jay Beasley.

Beasley finished fifth at Langley when the series visited in 2015, one of his eight career top fives in the K&N Pro Series East. Sitting seventh in the overall standings with three top fives and six top 10s in 11 starts, the Rev Racing driver is within 26 points shy of the top five in the championship standings.

NASCAR HOME TRACKS: Langley Speedway
Opened in 1950 as a dirt track, today Langley Speedway plays host to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing on Saturday nights during the season, highlighted by the Division I Late Model Stock class. The track’s Super Street, Pro 6 and U-Car divisions will be among those on Saturday night’s schedule alongside the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.