By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Fast Track Racing’s Ryan Huff will pay tribute to 11-time Langley Speedway Modified Champion Shawn Balluzzo at Kansas Speedway.
A photo of Balluzzo will adorn Huff’s No. 10 Ford Fusion in the ARCA Menards Series Dawn 150. Also on the car will be the logos of Langley Speedway and the GoFundMe that was set up to help Balluzzo’s family.
Balluzzo lost his life in an accident during the second Modified race at Langley Speedway on July 11. He was 64 years old. Balluzzo was a well-respected driver, the winningest driver in the history of the track. He won 16 of the 17 Modified division races in 2019.
“Shawn Balluzzo meant a lot to me,” said Huff. “He always had time for me or any young driver for that matter. I respected his advice and he taught me just as much on the track as he did off the track.”
Huff opted not to compete in the Shore Lunch 150 at Iowa Speedway last weekend. Instead, the 19-year-old went to Langley Speedway to join Balluzzo’s family, friends, and fans to pay his respects.
“I decided not to go to Iowa Speedway last weekend so I could go to Langley and join others and pay our respects to him,” explained Huff. “He was the definition of a true racer and I hope I can go to Kansas this weekend and not only make him proud, but my team too.”
The Dawn 150 marks Huff’s debut at Kansas Speedway. It marks just the second 1.5-mile start in Williamsburg, VA native’s career. Huff finished a career-best eighth at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.
“I’m always excited to get to the track and do well,” added Huff. “Kansas is another new place for me, so I plan to be respectful but being told that there is a lot of similarities between Kentucky and Kansas will hopefully be a benefit for me.
“I feel like we had a car capable of running inside the top-10 at Kentucky and we did just that. I believe it’s going to be a stronger field at Kansas, but we’ll run our race and hope when the checkered flag waves – we’ll be in a good spot to be satisfied with the finish.”
In six career ARCA starts, Huff has two top-10 finishes. His first career top-10 with the Andy Hillenburg-owned team came at Pocono Raceway. Despite missing the race at Iowa Speedway, Huff still sits sixth in the ARCA points standings.
Following the ARCA Menards Series race on Friday night, Huff will make his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut. Huff will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado for Reaume Brothers Racing in the EPT 200.
“I’m very thankful and humbled to have the opportunity to make my NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut this weekend at Kansas,” stated Huff. “This is a big leap for me, but I feel like I’ve surrounded myself with good people who support this next step as we try to eye our focus on 2021.”
Reaume Brothers Racing has one top-five and three top-10 finishes in three years of Truck Series competition. Two have come at Daytona International Speedway and one at Eldora Speedway. The organization’s best finish on a 1.5-mile track, 14th, came with team co-owner Josh Reaume at Texas Motor Speedway last year.
As for his goal on Saturday night, Huff stated that his mission is simple:
“Finish the race. It doesn’t matter if we are on the lead lap or five laps down. This weekend is about getting experience and completing as many laps as I possibly can. If we can accomplish our goal on Saturday, it is going to give us the motivation to get ready for the next Truck Series race.”