One of the most successful drivers in the history of Langley Speedway will be returning to the track this weekend.
After being out of racing for nearly four years, Matt Waltz is set to pilot his familiar No. 2 in what will only be his third career start in the CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour at Langley.
Waltz admitted that it has been an arduous process to try and find time to get back into Late Model Stock racing, which is why he is eagerly looking forward to Saturday’s VisitHampton.com 125.
“We live about 25 minutes from [Langley] and the shop is only about 15 minutes away,” Waltz said. “We’ve been working hard on the car and I had wanted to run one of the twin races out there before the CARS Tour race but just couldn’t make it happen but thankfully we’re able to take part in this one.”
A regular at Langley since the late 2000s, Waltz finally began to cement himself as a frontrunner during the 2010s. He put together an impressive 12-win season in 2014 but ended up finishing second in the Late Model Stock standings to veteran Greg Edwards.
When Langley was temporarily shut down in 2016, Waltz formed a partnership with Obaika Racing to run a part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule but his best finish across his six appearances with the team was a 28th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Although Waltz was unable to secure a NASCAR ride for the 2017, he made the most of Langley’s re-opening that season by joining drivers like Tommy Ellis, Elton Sawyer and C.E. Falk III as a champion in the Late Model Stock division.
Waltz is proud of the accomplishments he obtained as a driver during the mid-2010s but said that growing responsibilities away from the track convinced him to step away from full-time competition before the 2018 season.
“I was burned out,” Waltz said. “Working and racing full-time was taking a pretty big toll on me. There was so much work to make racing happen without any full-time guys and doing everything on the car at night, so I thought it was best to just take a break.”
Now that his schedule has opened up, Waltz intends to ease back into Langley’s weekly program with a part-time schedule starting with Saturday’s 125-lap CARS Tour feature.
Waltz was one of the 30 drivers who took the green flag in the inaugural race for the CARS Tour’s Late Model Stock division back at Southern National Motorsports Park back in 2015, in which he started and finished in the 12th position.
Even though he has not run in the CARS Tour in six years, Waltz knows that his car will have to be near-perfect on Saturday evening in order for him to be competitive against the quality of competition provided by the series.
Waltz has tested at Langley over the last couple of weeks to get himself and his car ready for the VisitHampton.com 125. He said that tire and equipment conservation are still going to be crucial in deciding which driver brings home the checkered flag.
“You have to keep the tires on the car,” Waltz said. “Managing the race is going to be important along with trying to get a feel of my car so I can be there at the end. It’s fun being fast on new tires, so having plenty at the end will be key.”
The field for Saturday’s VisitHampton.com 125 will be one of the toughest Waltz has faced in Late Model Stock competition but he is determined to celebrate another victory in front of Langley’s fanbase on Saturday after being away from the track for so long.