Greg Edwards was one of several Langley Speedway track veterans who ran well in Saturday’s Hampton Heat.
Along with Connor Hall and Matt Waltz, the five-time track champion held his own against many of the best Late Model Stock competitors on the east coast and appeared poised to join his fellow local competitors inside the Top 5.
Hall and Waltz ended up second and fifth respectively while Edwards had to settle for a 14th place finish after getting bumped out of line coming to the start-finish line.
“That’s just what happens with green-white-checkereds in this race,” Edwards said. “I was forced to go three-wide in Turn 1 when [Kaden Honeycutt] spun his tires. I was going to run [Jared Fryar] as hard as I could on the outside but then Brandon Pierce drover across the apron and tried to take us out.”
Edwards was fortunate that the outcome was not worse, as he nearly lost control of his No. 21 Chevrolet following Pierce’s contact but managed to straighten the car out before sustaining any major damage.
Saving the car was a pyrrhic victory for Edwards, who had wanted to showcase the strength of Late Model program in Langley’s most prestigious race following a dismal 23rd place showing in the 2020 edition of the event.
That speed became more prevalent as the 200-lap feature progressed. Edwards patiently worked his way up from a starting position of 13th to climb inside the Top 5 with less than 25 laps remaining.
Edwards got as high as third but found himself in a heated battle with Kaden Honeycutt, who had led all 125 laps in his first career start at Langley with the CARS Tour on June 5.
Despite having issues passing the Late Model Stock rookie, Edwards believed he could have held off Honeycutt for third if the final caution for a crash between Nick Smith and Justin Johnson had not come out.
“I really didn’t want to see that caution,” Edwards said. “I had [Honeycutt] cleared one time and then he crossed me over but I was ready to make a move on him again. We had a solid third place car but it’s a little disappointing to end up outside the Top 10.”
The final outcome for Edwards at the end of the ensuing restart was another frustrating one for the veteran in the Hampton Heat, which Edwards has yet to win in 13 appearances.
Edwards knows that he is capable of winning the prestigious event after leading a race-high 111 laps just two years ago but said that more is going to be needed out of him if he wants to join a list of winners that include Peyton Sellers, Bobby McCarty and Josh Berry.
Edwards added that Berry’s presence in this year’s Hampton Heat highlights the significance of the event to Late Model competitors, which is why he plans to remember the strengths and weaknesses of his performance on Saturday so he will be more prepared in 2022.
“The car came on when we needed it to,” Edwards said. “We didn’t have anything for Josh and there’s no telling what we could have done with [Hall] but I thought we had one of the fastest cars. We made the right moves we needed to on that last run.”
Although he has to wait another year to win his first Hampton Heat, Edwards believes that his Late Model Stock program is on the right trajectory as he looks to chase down Hall and Brenden Queen for a sixth title at Langley.