CE Falk has had a history of either feast or famine in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, with a win in 2010, but also three DNFs in six starts across three different tracks.
But as the Showdown heads back to Langley Speedway on Thursday, this could be his best shot yet to return to Victory Lane in the popular charity race.
Falk, who won the race in 2010 at Southside Speedway is a perennial front-runner at Langley with five track championships on his resume, and over 30 total victories in the Late Model Stock division at one of the most historic tracks in the country.
The last time Falk saw the track was opening night when he ran the first twin but retired early in the second.
“I haven’t been back since opening night,” Falk told Short Track Scene on Tuesday. “That wreck in the second race had me scared that the front clip was bent. So having a normal job it took a while to have everything checked out and put back together. But we should be fine. There are three hours of practice and I only have a few things to try on race day. I thought I was pretty good on opening night.”
With all of his experience in the Hamlin Showdown, the first week at Langley gave his a barometer for how this race could play out.
“It’s going to be a constant fight for the bottom, even though you could see the second groove come in a little because the number of cars and rubber being put down could help that,” Falk explained. “It’s also going to be a race of who can save the most at the end but still be in a position to win. What we saw last week was even if you line up fourth on a restart, you could fall outside the top ten.”
Since it’s inception, the Hamlin Showdown has been an invite-only affair, but it has changed this season, to an open format, inviting all to enter. Despite the new, open format, Falk doesn’t believe there will be many variations to the field from the opener, sans a few drivers.
“I don’t think you will see too many people that weren’t there the first race come, obviously Denny (Hamlin), Kyle (Busch), Timothy (Peters), Peyton Sellers, Matt Bowling, and Stacy Puryear, I think a lot of regular folks might not come because it’s an expensive race to run,” Falk remarked.
While the maiden voyage for the Hamlin Showdown at Langley is a big deal, perhaps the biggest in track history, Falk says his Southside win will still mean more to him, this is, of course, him talking before the race.
“I don’t think nothing will ever top the Southside win, that was just pure, even playing field, Denny had the best car and we were able to come out on top. But I definitely wouldn’t hate it.”
Outside of the out of town drivers, Falk has to be the odds-on favorite Thursday, with the five track championships, countless victories, and three Hampton Heat wins, Falk knows his way around Langley and knows how to get the job done.
Read more Short Track Scene:
- What we learned from the NWMT Thompson Icebreaker
- Steve Wallace, Mason Mingus brawl at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
- Philip Morris sweeps Langley Twin 75s under protest from Connor Hall
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