Portsmouth Raceway Park ran its final points race of the 2017 season Saturday treating fans to a night which brought several exciting races and some unbelievable drama in several of the championship battles.
Picking up feature wins on Keaton’s Collision Center “Meet The Drivers Night” were Eddie Carrier, Jr., Jeremy Rayburn, Mike Meyers, and Mitchel Fields. Meanwhile, Josh Bocook, Rayburn, Billy Staker, and Derek Richmond all claimed track championships in their respective divisions.
Ironically, Carrier picked up a win on a night sponsored by the same folks who own and sponsor his car. Carrier kept the Keaton’s Collision Center Late Model up front throughout the feature en route to his first PRP win of the season.
It appeared early on as if Carrier and Jared Hawkins were gearing up for what could’ve been a great battle throughout the race, but Hawkins pulled off just six laps into the event.
Ben Adkins made the high side work and fought his way from 10th to second. Kenny Christy, Josh Bocook, and Jeff Arnold rounded out the top five with Kenny Newhouse, Caleb Ashby, Larry Holbrook, and Kirk Phillips making up the rest of the top 10.
Ashby moved up 12 positions in a race that witnessed a couple of scary moments. Brandon Fouts, the 2017 Boone Coleman Memorial Gator 50 winner, lost his right rear wheel in the middle of a turn and veteran Delmas Conley had a blazing fire shoot up from his engine compartment. Thankfully, Fouts’ car remained on the ground, while the Washington Township Fire Department did an excellent job getting to Conley’s car to quickly extinguish the flames.
Fouts was The Impact Race Gear Quick Qualifier with a blistering time of 14.169. Nine different drivers qualified south of 15 seconds.
As for the Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model points race, the evening presented some unbelievable twists and turns. Bearing in mind that at PRP, five points is equivalent to one position in the A-Main, Martin, Ky.’s Shannon Thornsberry entered the night with a mere five-point lead over Josh Bocook with Kenny Christy 25 points back.
Thornsberry crashed out on the first lap, while Bocook posted a solid top five finish giving him his first-ever PRP track championship and the second straight for the Bocook Racing Team, as Josh’s brother Nick won it last year.
In the R.W. Rental and Supply Modified Division, there wasn’t much of a heart-in-throat moment as far as points were concerned because Jeremy Rayburn had the championship clinched before the evening ever began. However, there was plenty of drama in the racing itself.
Ben Adkins started on the pole, jumped out front, built a big lead, and looked to be well on his way to a victory when he had an issue with a lapped car. Adkins’ misfortunes turned the lead over to Jeremy Rayburn, who held on to punctuate his championship season with his second feature win of the year.
Teenager Tyler Smith posted a solid second-place finish with Adam Jordan placing third. Eddie Harmon finished fourth, and Tony DeHart rounded out the top five with
Austin Francis, Jody Puckett, Davey Warnock, Eric Berry, and Colten Wright making up the remainder of the top 10.
Wright was named the Markwest Ranger Pipeline Hard Charger as he moved up 10 spots. Puckett also busted through the field advancing nine positions. Adkins was the Dynamic Shock Service Fast Qualifier.
One of the closest finishes of the night occurred in one of the Modified Heats, as Harmon got by Jordan with a last-lap, last-turn pass to win by a nose.
In the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model Division, Mike Meyers was dominant leading every lap of the A-Main, as he picked up his second victory of the season. Billy Staker, Matt Melvin, Cameron Logan, Ronnie Whitt, Austin Mullett, Vincent Bender, Kevin Mullett, Danny McGowan, and Kevin Terry rounded out the top 10.
Billy Staker entered the night with a five-point lead over Cameron Logan in the points race and managed to hold on for his first PRP track championship.
The M & M Inflatables Sport Mod A-Main was captured by Flemingsburg, Ky.’s Mitchell Fields, who was the class of the field in the feature. Derek Spencer, Brianna Robinson, Rick Neace, B.J. Branham, Brayden Berry, Derek Richmond, Danny Hamilton, Jr., Brennan Bobst, and Jeremy Cassidy made up the rest of the top 10.
The Sport Mod points battle was one of the more entertaining of the night. Luke Jordan entered the evening with a 55-point lead. After dropping out of his heat, he switched into a different car for the B-Main, therefore he had to tag the tail. Regardless, he fought his way up in to the final transfer position before clipping an infield tire and spinning on the final lap. As a result, Jordan didn’t transfer to the A-Main which opened up the door for Brian Sammons, Sr. and Derek Richmond to battle it out for the track championship.
Sammons had a 10-point lead over Richmond, but like Jordan, Sammons also had issues in his heat and had to run the B-Main. Sammons did win the B and started 16th in the feature.
Richmond, on the other hand, started fourth in the A-Main, but Sammons battled his way all the way up to sixth and passed Richmond in the process. With six laps to go just as it was beginning to look as if Sammons was going to claim the title, the Olive Hill, Ky. driver spun off of turn four and had to go to the tail.
He was never able to climb back up through the field as he did earlier in the race, and Richmond held on to win his first PRP title.
Portsmouth Raceway Park will return to action October 19th, 20th, and 21st for the annual running of The Dirt Track World Championship. Pre-sale tickets will remain available up through Oct. 11th giving fans the opportunity to take advantage of discounted rates. For more details, log on to www.portsraceway.com or www.TheDTWC.com. PRP’s annual Banquet of Champions will be Dec. 2nd.