WEST PORTSMOUTH — The first race of the night Saturday at Portsmouth Raceway Park was decided by two thousandths of a second, and that seemed to set the tone for an evening filled with close action.
For the third time in his career Kite, KY Late Model driver Brandon Fouts captured the win in the annual Boone Coleman Memorial “Gator 50” presented by Berndt-Murfin Insurance and Sherman-Kricker Insurance. KC Burdette scored the victory in the Modifieds. Robbie Lewis won in the Limited Lates, and Emily Jones was triumphant in the Sport Mods.
Stakes were high in the Valvoline Iron-man Series Late Model event, as the winner earned $5,000 and a provisional starting spot in this October’s Dirt Track World Championship which pays $100,000 to win. Brandon Fouts once again seized the moment. He earned the pole by nipping fast-qualifier RJ Conley at the stripe to win the first heat. Fouts edged out Conley to win Heat 1 by a mere .002 seconds with a last-lap, last-turn pass.
The 32-year-old Fouts would lead all 50 laps of the annual tribute to PRP’s late owner, Boone Coleman. However, Wheelersburg’s Rod Conley made him work for it. The last 21 laps of the feature went caution-free, and from the final restart on, Rod turned up the heat. Conley started the race in seventh, and was fourth on the final restart. He got by brother RJ for third on lap 33 and then overhauled Steve Casebolt for second on lap 2.
Rod Conley started reeling in Fouts over the last 10 laps and caught up to his rear bumper. Conley sneaked a peak to the inside a couple of times but never could pull up alongside. Finising behind Fouts and Rod Conley were Casebolt, RJ Conley, and Audie Swartz. Four of the top five were former track champions with Casebolt being the lone exception. Rounding out the top 10 were Shane Bailey, Dave Hornikel, Mike Sark, Austin Lay, and Kevin Wagner. Swartz was the race’s hard charger climbing eleven positions to record a top-5 finish.
Fouts was very emotional in victory lane having spent the last week cutting trees that had fallen on his house. For PRP’s defending track champion, it was his first win in Portsmouth this season, and it occurred just one week after a scary-looking fire under the hood of his car that happened because of a ruptured fuel line.
Not only did Fouts leave PRP Saturday with all that comes with winning The Boone Coleman Memorial “Gator 50”, he also left as the current points leader holding a 10-point edge over Rod Conley. Fouts became Portsmouth Raceway Park’s seventh different Late Model winner in as many races.
The Brucebuilt Performance Parts Iron-Man Open Wheel Modified Series was in town Saturday for a Modified Feature that paid $1,200 to the winner. Parkersburg, WV’s KC
Burdette grabbed the victory. The former DTWC Modified Winner and Fred Dillow Memorial Modified winner paced the field for all 20 laps, but things got very close in the end. Burdette scooted around the high side for much of the race leaving the inside lane open for Jeremy Rayburn to make a late charge. However, Burdette was able to hold on and score another big PRP win.
Finishing behind Burdette and Rayburn were Travis Dickson, Adam Colley, and Anthony Slusher. Completing the top 10 were David Jamison, Brad Stone, Dakota Cox, Aaron Lucas, and Adam Stricker. Burdette was The Dynamic Shock Service Fast Qualifier.
Vanceburg, KY’s Robbie Lewis grabbed the win in the Limited Late Model Division leading all 15 laps. It was the second win of the season for Lewis at PRP. He dominated the race but did have to work hard to maneuver his way through lapped traffic late into the event.
Mike Meyers, Evyian Terry, Rick Stringer, Glynn Booth Sr, Collin Holmes, Corey Noel, Casey Rhodes, Carl Dillow, and Cale Boggs rounded out the top 10.
Emily (Jordan) Jones recorded the win in the Sport Mods. The former track champ and 27-year-old pharmacist and mother of two protected the inside and held off Derek Richmond to the finish. Jeromy Brady, Cody Price, and Joe McClain completed the top 5. Rounding out the top 10 were Cameron Miller, Robbi Johnson, Cody Gifford, Stevie Thornsberry, and Jason Thayer.
PRP will return to action Saturday, August 6th as Lemley Motorsports will present The Mod Squad Spectacular paying $3,000 to win. Besides The Local Happenings App Modifieds, also on the card will be The Giovanni’s Pizza Late Models presented by Impact Race Gear, O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates, and The Express Oil & Tires Engineers Sport Mods. Gates will open at 4 pm with racing at approximately 7:30.
Another key element to PRP’s next event will be The Mary’s Clothesline Back-To-School Backpack Giveaway, which will provide free backpacks to the first 200 kids through the general admission gate. Thanks to the efforts of Marcie and Linda Barlow, The Mary’s Clothesline Back-To-School Backpack Giveaway has become an annual tradition at PRP.