Every weekly stock car track loves a good feud, especially when it involves the two best drivers.
Langley Speedway has the makings of a great feud, and perhaps an even better championship duel, in the wake of the Late Model Division season-opening dust-up between three-time defending champion C.E. Falk and former two-time champion Greg Edwards.
For the first 88 laps of the Pomoco Auto Group 100, one or the other ran first in what was occasionally a close, high-quality duel. Both saw their hopes of victory end on the lap 89 restart, when Edwards spun into the wall following a hard knock to the left rear quarter-panel from Falk.
Falk was sent to the rear of the field for causing the wreck, and finished fourth while his younger brother, Wesley Falk, ran away to his second career victory. And as warm as the action was on the track, the war of words between Edwards and C.E. Falk, is even hotter.
"He knew I had the better car and he just took a cheap shot and turned into me on the restart," said Edwards, who finished ninth. "I have no respect for him right now."
Falk sees it differently. He feels that when he got underneath Edwards between Turns 3 and 4 he moved as far down on the apron as possible to make the move, and that Edwards cut down on him as they entered 4.
"I knew he had the better car on the long runs and that I had to make a move because I had a better one on the restarts," Falk said. "But he cut down and I'm not going to hit my brakes for the guy.
"He knew I was there. My right side tires were already on the (inside) line and I couldn't go any lower. He had about 100 feet of track to the outside he could've used, even if he didn't want to use it."
While Edwards agrees that Falk bumped him and got slightly inside of him just off of Turn 3, he disagrees that he cut down on the defending champ. Edwards said that he held his line, and that Falk turned into him out of desperation as the only way to beat a faster car.
Edwards won three races last season, finishing second in the standings to Falk, who won 12. Edwards contends that he often gave way to the faster Falk on numerous restarts in 2011, rather than wrecking him to get the win.
"I could've wrecked him 10 times in a similar situation on restarts last year when he had a faster car, but I didn't," Edwards said. "I've always been the one giving, and when the roles were reversed he wasn't able to do it."
Hogwash, Falk responded. Falk said that when he made his first attempt to pass Edwards in the race, Edwards hit him so hard it broke a fender brace.
"He tried to hook me and send me into the fence," Falk said.
That pass attempt came on lap 62. To that point, Edwards had led every lap with nary a challenge.
Edwards expressed his hunch on pit road before the race that he had found the right combination of power (in the form of a new Charlie High engine) and setup (with help from crew members John McMasters and Dave Jones) to challenge Falk's dominance.
And even after Falk passed him on lap 63, Edwards coolly stalked him for 18 laps before passing back on lap 82. Edwards widened the lead again, before the field was reunited by the caution on lap 89.
Wesley Falk was running third when his brother and Edwards tangled on the restart.
"When I saw Greg slide around, I had to decide whether to brake or shoot high," Wesley Falk said.
Wesley Falk guessed correctly, going outside and high, then held off a late challenge from Brandon Gdovic to win.
"It feels great to be back in Victory Lane," said Wesley Falk, who won for the first time sine May 2010. "Technically, this is 10 wins in a row for the Falks, counting C.E.'s nine wins to end last season."
Edwards does not like how it happened.
"If he doesn't learn to respect people, he's not going anywhere," Edwards said, referring to C.E.'s ambitions to drive in NASCAR's big-time. "He's done this kind of thing quite a bit in the past, but it's gotten worse since he's gotten on a roll.
"Sometimes the worst thing you can do is worry too much about not winning."
Said C.E. Falk: "Greg knows I didn't do it on purpose. We were racing for the same real estate."
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Langley Speedway, North Armistead Avenue and Dale Lemonds Lane, across from the NASA Langley wind tunnel.
TICKETS: $10 adults, $8 military and seniors, $5 ages 6-12, $25 family pack (two adults, two children).