HAMPTON – Enduro events at Langley Speedway used to be a combination of demolition derby and regular racing. It's no wonder Mike Ganoe has been successful.
His first motorsports experience was in a smash-and-crash demolition derby in 1999 in Manassas. He won.
"The other drivers usually know who to look out for," said Ganoe, who hails from Louisa. "They didn't pay any attention to me because I was new, so I was there at the end."
He liked the fact that preparing an Enduro car cost very little money, but hated that the vehicle usually got destroyed. So he began racing similarly inexpensive Street Stock cars around the state and winning division championships.
Ganoe started competing in the Enduro Division at Langley in 2009, when the track began emphasizing racing rather than wrecking. He won the division championship that season, but finished a close second to Langley veteran Danny Harrell a year ago.
The two are waging another tight battle for the division crown going into an Enduro 50-lap portion of a six-race card on Saturday at Langley. Ganoe, who has won three of four races this season, holds a two-point lead (196-194) over Harrell atop the division standings.
"Danny has raced at the track for years," Ganoe said. "It's his home track and his equipment is always right when he comes to the track."
Said Harrell, "Mike's got just as much experience as I do with this, and he's determined to win. I think this division championship race will go down to the wire."
Like Ganoe, Harrell, a former Pure Stock (1999) and Grand Stock (2002) champ at Langley, likes the fact Enduro racing is so inexpensive. Track rules prohibit any changes to the cars except for adding safety features, like the roll cage in Ganoe's 1995 Ford Probe.
Ganoe says his Probe handles very well on Langley's 4/10-of-a-mile asphalt oval, but gives props to Harrell for the speed his 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT has displayed. There's little enough difference between the two that it's likely they won't settle the division championship battle until the Oct. 29 finale.
"With four races left, it's going to get interesting," Harrell said. "He has a lot of wins in his career and I have about 25 or 30 myself.
"This is going to be tight."
Other races scheduled for tonight are twin 50-lap Late Models, a Grand Stock 40, Legends 25 and Champ Kart 20. Racing begins at 7 p.m.
C.E. Falk holds a 20-point lead over Greg Edwards in the Late Model standings, the same margin Ricky Derrick has over Mark Claar in Grand Stock. Tommy Sweeney's lead over Chris O'Brien in Champ Kart is just two points, while Brad Hancock enjoys a 30-point cushion on Steve Keesee in Legends.