HAMPTON — The hype about the new asphalt on Langley Speedway's 4/10-of-a-mile oval was justified. The 2013 season opener produced fast speeds resulting in track qualifying records in six divisions, several close races and concern about tire wear.

C.E. Falk handled it all with his usual steadiness and emerged victorious in the Late Model 150-lapper that included at least seven other cars with the potential to challenge him on a weekly basis. He acknowledged as much after edging pole-winner Nick Smith and defending division champion Greg Edwards for the win.

"I'm not sure this proves (anything)," Falk said when asked about what's ahead in the division. "This track is going to change every week, and it's going to be our job to stay on top of it."

It's changed a lot since last fall. The $250,000 worth of asphalt increased the speeds so much that 12 of the 17 Late Models entered broke the previous track qualifying record of 15.748 set in 2011 by Danny Edwards Jr.

The evening opened with new qualifying records in the other five divisions: by Ryleigh Lemonds (Bandolero), Robbie Davis (Super Truck), Brad Hancock (Legends), John Pereira (Super Street) and Tim Wilson (UCAR). All but Lemonds, who damaged her car in practice — and watched as Madyson Mulligan won the 15-lap feature — won their features.

Then Nick Smith, competing full time in the division for the first time in years thanks to the backing of Bluewater Yacht Sales operators Chris Hall and Earl Hall, clocked a 15.292 to obliterate Danny Edwards' record. Smith would go on to lead the first 70 laps of the Late Model race, but Falk, who started fifth, patiently worked his way to Smith's bumper.

Falk chose the cone, restarted on the outside and made a nifty move to get by Greg Edwards for second place on the 53rd lap. The fact that Edwards was in second at all, and would finish a close third, was noteworthy.

"My motor blew up in practice, I ran back to the shop and pulled a four-year-old motor out of another car, came back and qualified on the outside pole," said Greg Edwards, who had to replace his front end days earlier because of a wreck in practice.


Falk made a similarly impressive pass to get by Smith for the lead on the 71st lap.

"Nick was strong off the corner, but we were kind of beating him into the corner and he'd slip and we'd kind of gain on him," Falk said. "He kind of slipped once, we were able to get underneath the spoiler and get him more loose and kind of made a classic pass off of two."

Falk made that pass hold up over the final 80 laps, but not without some serious challenges from Smith and Greg Edwards late in the race. Smith, who fell to fifth at one point after losing the lead, did a nice job of saving his tires to make the late challenge.

That was no easy thing, because the fast speeds on the new asphalt were causing the Hoosier F-45 tires to blister like crazy. The right fronts of many Late Model drivers' cars had huge holes in them from the blistering afterward.

"I think it's a Hoosier problem," Smith said, echoing the words of numerous drivers. "They need to fix the tire, maybe give us a harder compound or something so we can work with it."

Brenden Queen and Casey Wyatt rounded out the top five in the Late Model race, both unexpectedly so. Queen, 15, rallied from two laps down after being hit by a lapped car to finish fourth, while Wyatt rebounded from mediocre practice and qualifying runs to take fifth.

"I hope I proved people wrong who were trash talking," Queen said after his Late Model debut. "A lot of people said I was going to get lapped, and I got bashed on the Langley (Speedway) Facebook page and some on RaceRap (a racing Web site).

"To make up two laps, come back through the pack and finish fourth, you can't be happier than that."

Matt Waltz, Mark Wertz and Danny Edwards fell out of contention for a variety of reasons after showing lots of speed early. Hancock fought off Connor Hall on the last lap to win an exciting Legends 25, duplicating Pereira's feat of turning back Randy Akers' race-long challenge in the Super Street 40.