That seemed to be the general feeling among Portsmouth Raceway Park fans at the conclusion of the 4th Annual Boone Coleman Memorial ‘Gator 50’ on Saturday after Rod Conley pulled off a shocker.
“I’d rather be lucky than good any day,” Conley said following the race.
The Wheelersburg native proved that a race is never over until the checkered flag waves, and no matter how slim your chance to win might appear, good drivers keep digging all the way to the finish.
Rod Conley, Todd Robinson, Mike Meyers, and Zack Pendleton all recorded feature wins Saturday in their respective divisions, but no race had more of an unsuspecting conclusion than the Late Model A-Main.
Conley appeared to be heading toward a commendable second-place performance in the Late Model Feature. Like everyone else in the race, he was following Grayson, KY’s Jackie Boggs, who was setting a blistering pace.
Boggs posted fast time, led every lap of his heat, and dominated nearly the entire feature. However, to the chagrin of Boggs and his faithful fans, Saturday evening’s race was 50 laps and not 48.
With a commanding lead and only five other cars on the lead lap, the three-time winner of The Boone Coleman Memorial ‘Gator 50’ appeared to be destined to take the checkers. His lap times were staggering with average speeds over 100 miles per hour, but Boggs’ car began to slow with just two laps remaining. Initial reports were that his vehicle’s rear end broke.
With Boggs off the pace, Conley motored around to take the lead and the victory. For Conley, the win marked his first of the year at PRP, and it was certainly a nice one to capture. In addition to earning $5,000, the 2013 PRP champ also earned a highly-coveted provisional ensuring himself a spot in the starting grid of this October’s Dirt Track World Championship which will pay $2,000 to start and $100,000 to win.
Conley became the third different PRP Late Model Feature winner in three races so far this season. Jason Montgomery placed second in Saturday’s race. Mark Frazier finished third. Delmas Conley drove from 16th to fourth to earn The Keaton’s Collison Center Hard Charger Award, and Kevin Wagner rounded out the top five.
Nick Bocook, Boggs, Shannon Thornsberry, Billy Gullion, and Jake Keaton made up the rest of the top five.
Delmas Conley walked away from the race leading the points in PRP’s Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model Division. He and Wagner have yet to finish outside of the top five this year.
The R.W. Rental and Supplies Modifieds featured some intense racing all night. The heats were competitive as was the A-Main. South Point’s Todd Robinson and West Portsmouth’s Doug Adkins battled hard for the lead over the first eight laps of the feature before getting together in Turn One. Adkins’ suffered suspension damage and was unable to continue. Robinson went on to win for the second straight week.
Brian Skaggs finished second. Jeremy Hayes, Jody Puckett, and Cody Gool made up the rest of the top five. Brianna Robinson, Emily Jordan, Brett Kennard, Michael Cooper, and Doug Adkins rounded out the top 10.
Gool advanced six positions to earn The Markwest Ranger Pipeline Hard Charger Award. What was perhaps more impressive was that Saturday evening marked the young man’s first ever night in a race car of any sort.
Brianna Robinson and Emily Jordan represented female drivers well. They were the only two female racers in Saturday’s lineup, and both wound up in the top seven.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model Feature had three different leaders in 15 laps. John Melvin led the first five before retiring from the race. Evyian Terry led lap six, and Mike Meyers led all the rest.
After Meyers got by Terry to take the lead, he never looked back. The Fayetteville driver won for the second time in as many weeks. The rest of the top 10 consisted of Evyian Terry, Dillon Huron, Kenny McCann, Billy Staker, Matt Melvin, Joe Whitt, Kevin Terry, Randy Ross, and Ronnie Whitt.
The M & M Inflatables Bomber Division was dominated by defending track champion Zack Pendleton. The 20 year-old from Stout led every lap of his heat and every lap of the feature to win for the second Saturday in a row.
Jason Spillman, Rick Butler, Corey Lewis, Mike Drake, Matt King, Jonathan Cook, and Casey Black made up the rest of the field.
Action will return to PRP this coming Saturday, June 13th. It will be Kids Night presented by www.vallerychevy.com. Kids ages 12 and under will receive free general admission and there will be a bicycle giveaway. On the card will be Giovanni’s Pizza Late Models, R.W. Rental and Supplies Modifieds, O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates, as well as M & M Inflatables Bombers. Gates open at 4 p.m. Racing begins at 7:30.