There is a sliding pay scale with dirt track racing that seems to indicate the pecking order of importance.
Late models make the most money, followed by modifieds and then comes limited late models. While the pay scale may not change much, the attention at Portsmouth Raceway Park tonight will be on the limited lates as the PRP hosts its Limited Late Model Extravaganza with the winner earning $700.
“We like to feature each one of the classes because we feel like all four classes we run all deserve a special night,” said PRP co-promoter Donna Rayburn. “It's also a chance for a little bit better payoff. Those cars, of course, don't cost quite as much money to run as the late model class.”
In the limited late model division, John Melvin is leading in points for the track championship with 735 points. Melvin last won at PRP on June 23.
PRP was off last week after an exciting Lucas Oil late model event on July 1. While the focus that week was on the late models racing for $10,000, Audie Swartz of Minford managed to earn a limited late win to help close the gap on Melvin. Swartz trails Melvin by 60 points in the standings.
Todd Galloway currently sits third in the standings, 155 points back.
Galloway and Swartz may have extra incentive to win. Swartz and Swartz Racecars offer a weekly $100 Swartz bonus for the winner of the limited late model race and Galloway, along with this week's sponsor, Pickett Concrete, are donating another $100.
The limited lates, of course, aren't the only cars on the track this week. Late models, modifieds and bombers will run a full program as well. Bomber cars are actually returning from a two-week layoff as Darren Pendleton of Lucasville and Shane Pendleton of Blue Creek resume their chase for the track title. Darren is the track leader with 605 points but Shane is just five points back.
“Lots of years (the competition) just varies,” said Rayburn. “Sometimes, you will have someone that leads the whole year, but it's close competition all the time. That's why Portsmouth is one of the better known tracks in the area. If you can win at Portsmouth, you can win anywhere, the drivers say.”
The late model chase is just as close with Barry Bragdon of Wheelersburg five points ahead of Kenny Christy of Vanceburg, Ky., at 445. Third in late models is Grayson, Ky.'s Jackie Boggs. Boggs had the highest finish of any of PRP's regular drivers by finishing third in the Lucas Oil Pepsi 75.
Doug Adkins has the biggest lead over second place in the modified division. Adkins lead over second place Josh Weinman of Grove City is 100 points. Weinman, though, got the better of Adkins in the modified A main on July 1.
As always gates at the PRP open at 4 p.m., and racing is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.