WEST PORTSMOUTH — Nearly 100 race teams were at Portsmouth Raceway Park Saturday evening for the track’s season opener kicking off PRP’s 32nd year of operation. Kirk Phillips, Anthony Slusher, and Zach Milbee all picked up wins in their respective divisions.
The Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model Division presented by Impact Race Gear brought plenty of surprises. Wheelersburg’s Nick Bocook clocked fast time and won his heat, while Wheelersburg’s RJ Conley prevailed in his heat race. Both, however, would wind up falling out of the feature.
Conley would tag the wall on the first lap and Bocook would drop out on lap 8. Phillips wound up leading every lap en route to his first-ever PRP A-Main win. The 25-year-old from Ashland hit all of his marks on course to the checkers and managed to fend off former track champions Brandon Fouts, Josh Bocook, and Rod Conley. Charlie Jude climbed from ninth to fifth. Shawn Martin moved up five spots to finish sixth, and Chuck Simons advanced five positions to finish seventh. Lucas Crooks, Ronnie Whitt, and Nick Bocook rounded out the top 10.
Twenty-eight O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model entries were on hand for the highlighted event of the evening, which was The Huntington Drum Company 25-lap race sanctioned by The Steel Block Late Model Series presented by Impact Race Gear.
Poca, WV’s Zach Milbee started on the outside pole and would ride second the first six laps before passing Corey DeLancey. Milbee, who posted quick time earlier in the evening, would hold off DeLancey to the finish. Mike Sprouse charged from ninth to third. Seventy-year-old Russ Frohnapfel placed fourth, and former track champion Matt Melvin rounded out the top five. The rest of the top 10 consisted of Billy Staker, Dakota Pennington, Mike Meyers, Chris Williams, and Pete Crum.
Melvin, Jacob Curnutte, and Mike Sprouse were the heat race winners. Thomas Baker won the B-Main.
Lucasville’s Anthony Slusher was credited the win in the Local Happenings App Modified Division. The 2018 PRP Track Champion started fourth and ran in the top five the entire feature, however he didn’t actually cross the stripe first. Beaver, KY’s Ervin Vance did, but Vance didn’t pass postrace inspection and was disqualified.
Slusher’s win Saturday marked his sixth career victory and came the same week of his 36th birthday. Two-time track champ Jeremy Rayburn placed second. Cole Cooper charged from 14th to third. Robert Garnes finished ninth, and Minford’s Adam Colley blasted up through the field 15 spots from 20th to fifth. Danny Hamilton Jr, Levi Ellswick, Joe Hamon, Brian Wilburn, and B75-Brayden Berry rounded out the top 10.
Ervin Vance and Brian Skaggs were Saturday’s Heat Race winners. Vance was also the Dynamic Shock Service Fast Qualifier.
There were 34 Express Oil & Tire Engineers Sport Mods in attendance, the most of any division. Unfortunately, a thick fogged which rolled in toward the end of the night prevented their feature from being ran.
Portsmouth Raceway Park will be back in action next Saturday hosting the Eighth Annual Cletus Classic paying Modified $1,231 to win. Also on the card will be Late Models, Limited Lates, and Sport Mods. Gates will open at 4pm with racing at approximately 7:30.
Vance not DQ’d
Upon further review by Portsmouth Raceway Park officials, it has been determined that Modified Driver Ervin Vance from Beaver will not be disqualified from Saturday’s season-opening Modified A-Main.
Vance led every lap of the 20-lap feature.
After receiving the trophy and doing his victory lane interview, it was announced that he had failed post-race tech and that Lucasville’s Anthony Slusher would be awarded the win.
PRP has decided to credit both Vance and Slusher with first place and provide each with first-place points.
Portsmouth Raceway Park will return to action this Saturday.