Portsmouth Raceway Park opened its 2020 season Saturday hosting The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Car Series along with Modifieds and Limited Lates.
Newport, TN’s Jimmy Owens fended off Blairsville, GA’s Jonathan Davenport to capture the $12,000-to-win Independence 50 presented by Able Air, his fifth victory in the last six Lucas Oil races. Pedro’s Brian Skaggs took the checkers in the Keaton’s Collision Center Modified Feature, and Portsmouth’s Billy Staker prevailed in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates.
Saturday’s race marked the first of three visits which the Lucas Series has scheduled at PRP this season. Thirty Late Model drivers were on hand for the event. The 50-lap Feature saw Owens lead every circuit but not without being challenged down the stretch by Davenport. A caution on lap 36 would bunch the field setting up a ferocious 14-lap charge to the finish.
Over most of the final 14 circuits, Davenport would remain within about three car lengths of Owens, but “The Newport Nightmare” proved to be too strong. Finishing behind Owens and Davenport were Batesville, AR’s Billy Moyer Jr; Brandon, FL’s Kyle Bronson; and Watertown, NY’s Tim McCreadie. Rounding out the top 10 were Devin Moran, Tanner English, Shanon Buckingham, Steve Casebolt, and Colten Burdette.
Heat Race winners were Stormy Scott, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens, and Billy Moyer, Jr. Tanner English won the B-Main, and Josh Richards set quick time. Richards would run in or near the top 5 throughout the fist 15 laps of the feature before getting into the backstretch wall and spinning into turn 3. He would go to the tail and fight his way back to 12th.
Brian Skaggs would claim the win in the Keaton’s Collision Center Modified A-Main holding off Proctorville’s Craig Christian to the finish. Christian would remain in striking distance throughout the entire 20-lap race but never could take the lead. Michael Paul Howard, Dave Jamison, and Jeremy Rayburn completed the top 5 with Adam Colley, Jody Puckett, Anthony Slusher, Brett Kennard, and Emily Jones making up the remainder of the top 10.
Christian, Skaggs, and Jamison prevailed in Saturday’s Modified Heats. Brandon Smith won the B-Main. Jody Puckett was the Dynamic Shock Services Quick Qualifier.
Billy Staker took the win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model Feature. The reigning track champ was dominant as he led every lap of his heat and every lap of the A-Main. Mike Meyers finished second. Kent Keyser was third. Kevin Terry placed fourth, and Charlie Mullett rounded out the top 5.
PRP will return to action this Friday hosting the 3rd Annual Dean Knittel Memorial. This will mark the first time this event has been held at PRP and it will be big. On the card will be The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1. They will be racing in Portsmouth as a part of Cosmetic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires. The Sprint Car race winner will pocket $15,554. Also as part of Friday’s program will be Late Models paying $3,654 to the winner. Pit gates will open at 3 p.m. General Admission Gates will open at 4 p.m. Racing will commence at approximately 7:30 p.m.