WEST PORTSMOUTH — Another night of racing at Portsmouth Raceway Park brought another evening filled with action and yet another finish that left fans in shock, as a driver charged from 20th to grab victory.
Wheelersburg’s R.J. Conley was dominant in the Late Model Division. Mike Meyers was once again the man in the Limited Lates, and Derek Richmond had the field covered in the Sport Mods. However, the Modified A-Main was where the drama was, as Brandon Smith came up through the field — passing 19 cars en route to his very first career win.
Smith had a fast car early on, but an incident late in his heat race forced him in to an early retirement and thus caused him to start the 20-lap feature on the outside of row 10. The Salt Rock, WV racer would rebound in a major way busting up through the pack to win another wild Keaton’s Collision Center Modified Feature that saw three different leaders in the final five laps.
West Portsmouth’s Ben Adkins led the first 16 laps before Pedro’s Brian Skaggs took the point with three to go. Those two along with Ervin Vance battled hard throughout the first three quarters of the 20-lap race, but on lap 18 Smith would take the lead and would never look back.
Skaggs and Vance would wind up finishing second and third, while Adkins would pull off three laps shy of the finish. Brandon Hutchinson climbed from 10th to fourth. Jason Bilyeu battled up from 11th to fifth. Logan Burke, who was the Dynamic Shock Service Fast Qualifier placed sixth. Josh Tonkin, James Grigsby, Tyler Hendrix, and Tommy McClain rounded out the top 10.
R.J. Conley would not be denied in the Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model Division. The four-time PRP track champ led every lap of his heat and every lap of the 25-lap feature. He was never challenged for the lead in either race but did make a bold move in lapped traffic during the A-Main diving under two slower cars in turn 3 of the feature with nine to go.
Saturday’s runner-up Josh Hall had an eventful evening. He set quick time and won his heat to start the feature from the pole, but in the A-Main he would fade back to fourth before coming back up to place second.
Delmas Conley put on a show to close out the Late Model Feature. The 1993 PRP track champion was sixth with six laps to go, but went to work in the final half dozen circuits passing three cars to finish third. Avery Taylor and Rod Conley rounded out the top five, while Kevin Wagner, Billy Staker, Audie Swartz, Shannon Thornsberry, and Dennis Little made up the rest of the top 10.
Fayetteville’s Mike Meyers picked up his second win of the season in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Models. Like so many other drivers, his night was filled with plenty of twists and turns. His heat race win was a thriller. Meyers would start his six-car heat in fourth and would fall back to fifth three laps in. Then with five to go, he would begin his resurgence eventually climbing to second before making a last-lap, last-turn pass to take the win.
Meyers’ heat race victory would have him starting on the outside pole of the A-Main. He would jump out front and lead every lap of the 15-lap feature, but with six to go his power steering would go out forcing him to have to muscle the car the rest of the way home. Shane Bailey, Austin Mullett, Russ Frohnapfel, BJ Branham, Kent Keyser, Matt Yates, Brayden Dillow, Rick Stringer, and Scott Wilson rounded out the top 10.
Stout’s Derek Richmond had a killer start to the EMC2 Party Rentals & Inflatables Sport Mod A-Main climbing from third to first on the initial lap. Once taking the lead, the former PRP track champ would never turn loose of it holding off Derek Spencer to the stripe. Zack Pendleton, Cody Gifford, and Jason Spillman closed out the top five. The remainder of the top 10 consisted of Jimmy Adams, Bo McCarty, Stevie Thornsberry, Danny Hamilton Jr, and Branden Colley.
Saturday’s show marked PRP’s final race until the 40th annual Dirt Track World Championship, which is scheduled for Oct. 15-17.
That three-day event will once again be highlighted by a Lucas Oil Late Model-sanctioned, 100-lap, $100,000-dollar-to-win Dirt Late Model Feature. Modifieds and Limited Lates will also be a part of the card.
For more details about this year’s DTWC at Portsmouth Raceway Park, log on to www.portsraceway.com.