Over the years, the annual Fred Dillow Memorial at Portsmouth Raceway Park has always proven to be a thriller.
On Saturday evening, that proved to be the case once again as over $33,000 of bonus money and prizes sprinkled throughout the field, the highest car count of the season, one of the best Late Model races of the year, and a jam packed house all added together to make up the 23rd annual Fred Dillow Memorial perhaps its best one yet.
In all, 122 race teams were on hand for the 23rd annual Fred Dillow Memorial race, and commissioners from neighboring Lawrence County, where Fred Dillow resided, proclaimed Saturday, August 19th Fred Dillow Memorial Day.
For R.J. Conley, Saturday’s victory marked his sixth Fred Dillow Memorial win. The race certainly didn’t lack for excitement. The 40-lap, $5,000 to win Glockner.com Late Model A-Main, which also provided the winner with a provisional starting spot in the annual Hillbilly 100 at Tyler County Speedway on September 3rd, turned out to be an epic duel between two of PRP’s most successful drivers as Conley, a four-time track champ, and Boggs, a two-time track champ and three-time Boone Coleman Memorial Gator 50 winner, brought the fans to their feet as they raced side-by-side throughout the second half of the event.
Scott James, who started on the outside of row one, would lead early on after getting the jump on polesitter Brandon Fouts, but on lap six, Conley would get by and take command.
Conley, who began third, would jump out to a rather sizeable lead but Boggs would march up from his fifth-place start to catch the 71R. From that point forward, the race was on.
With Conley running the high line, Boggs would dive low and show Conley his nose on multiple occasions. Boggs actually edged in front through the turns, but Conley’s momentum up high off of the turns would enable him to motor past down the straightaways. On the 34th lap, however, Conley would drift a little too high off of turn four, which enabled Boggs to pull up alongside and lead the 35th circuit.
But as the pair entered the second turn, Boggs slid high off of two, and Conley then cut down with a crossover move in turns three and four to take the lead back with a terrific slide job to put his 71C out front to stay and earned him The Ryan McGraw “Move of the Race.”
Finishing behind Conley and Boggs were Steve Casebolt, Shannon Thornsberry — who set quick time to earn $1,077 in the 10th annual Bozo Bradgon “Bozo’s Just Give Me One Lap” Late Model Time Trials — and Brandon Fouts. Placing sixth through 10th were Rod Conley, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Stephen Breeding, Delmas Conley, and Josh Bocook.
Besides picking up $5,000 for the win and a provisional in The Hillbilly 100, Conley earned The Ryan Pfunk Potter Halfway Leader Award, as well as a bonus for leading lap seven courtesy of Impact RaceGear in memory of Rick Christy.
Scott James earned a bonus from Jason Perry Racing for leading lap one. Eddie Carrier, Jr. was the Shain Custom Decals, Mortorsports Graphics and Designs Hard Charger, as The Salt Rock Express moved up eight spots. Brandon Fouts won The Sgt. Tim Moore Late Model Dash, Robbie Lewis, Colton Burdette, and Steve Casebolt all won DirtonDirt.com Late Model heat races, and Jason Montgomery received a bonus from Bocook’s Garage for being the seventh fastest qualifier.
“Swervin” Ervin Vance was the class of the field in the Modifieds. He led every lap of The Dale “Buddha” Lyons Feature and captured The Ryan Pfunk Potter Halfway Leader Award en route to the victory. Rick Aukland, Jeremy Rayburn, Adam Jordan, and Jesse Wisecarver rounded out the top five with Shon Flanary, Ben Adkins, Nathon Loney, Adam Stricker, and James Grigsby making up the rest of the top 10.
Flanary was The Dickess Christmas Tree Farms Modified Quick Qualifier, while Vance, Auckland, Rayburn, and Loney all recorded heat race victories which were ran in memory of Pappy Harshbarger. As for Jordan, the South Webster native climbed up through the field 10 spots and, as a result, collected the Walker Construction Hard Charger award, which was awarded in the memory of Linda Walker. Jim Barnett and Tony DeHart earned bonus money from Dynamic Shock Service for winning the two Modified B-Mains.
In the Giovanni’s Wholesale Limited Late Model A-Main, Billy Staker took the checkered flag for his third PRP feature win of the season. Ronnie Whitt, Mike Meyers, Cameron Logan, Jacob Curnutte, Joe Whitt, Vincent Bender, Johnny Vandale, Randy Ross, and Charlie Mullett made up the rest of the top 10.
Staker earned the Staker Machine & Fabrication Halfway Leader Award. Charlie Mullett was The Bradley’s Racing Apparel Hard Charger en route to advancing six positions on the grid. Staker and Meyers won the two Ideal Wheels Limited Late Model Heats.
Youth reigned supreme in the B & B Recycling Sport Mod A-Main, as young Brayden Berry cruised to the win. The teenager from West Portsmouth led every lap as Berry raced well beyond his years throughout the event, and besides the victory, he picked up a bonus from Timmy Hunt for being in front at the halfway mark.
Derek Richmond, B.J. Branham, Brian Sammons, Mitchel Fields, Luke Jordan, Brianna Robinson, Christopher Shelton, Jr., Eric Dennison, and Rick Neace rounded out the top 10.
Jeremy Cassidy moved up eight spots to be The Jordan Heating & Air Hard Charger. Berry, Sammons, and Richmond were all triumphant in the B & B Recycling Sport Mod Heats.
Chris Arnold, a Chesterfield, Va. native who drove over seven hours to attend the race, earned the Long Haul Award and received $183 from CB Auto Detailing and a $50 gas card from Pro Star Designs.
Many compact refrigerators donated from Valvoline were awarded randomly to drivers and fans, and members of The Dillow family tossed door prizes into the grandstands throughout much of the night. In all, the Dillow family worked with over 80 additional sponsors to help make the evening a success.
This coming Saturday, another highly anticipated PRP race will take place, as Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Master Works Jewelry Studio, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 26. General admission tickets are only $5. Giovanni’s Pizza Late Models, R.W. Rental & Supply Modifieds, O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates, and M & M Inflatables Sport Mods will all be on the card. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing later in the evening at 7:30 p.m.
For more details, log on to www.portsraceway.com.