Portsmouth Raceway Park had one of its largest car counts of the season this past Saturday as Lemley Motorsports Night brought over 100 race teams into the greater Portsmouth area.
In the Late Models, Delmas Conley continued his incredible 2015 season. In the Modifieds, Ervin Vance made history by winning the very first “Cletus Classic”. Nine-time Limited Late Model track champion John Melvin recorded his first win of the year. Bomber driver Jason Spillman returned to victory lane, and Josh Francis grabbed the checked flag in the Legends Car Series.
Conley just kept on rolling. The 1993 PRP track champ picked up his second PRP win of the season, and in doing so became the first Late Model driver to win multiple features at Portsmouth Raceway Park.
Of all 22 Late Model drivers who were on hand Saturday, Wheelersburg’s Delmas Conley by far had the most dominant evening. He led every lap of the dash and every lap of the feature and retook the points lead at the night’s end in the Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model Division. Despite the fact that the Conley Trucking/Conley River Terminal Rocket stayed up front all night, there was still plenty of competitive racing.
Chris Garnes of Evans, WV finished second and made things interesting. With a little less than 10 laps to go, Garnes got up beside Conley in the middle of turns one and two and actually nosed ahead. Veteran Delmas Conley quickly motored back past on the inside, adjusted his line, and kept Garnes at bay for the remainder of the race.
Garnes fell several car lengths behind as the race wore on but narrowed the gap down to only about 20 feet when the checkered flag dropped.
With Delmas Conley and Chris Garnes both running high, Rod Conley ran the inside lane to a third-place finish. Brandon Fouts and Jake Keaton rounded out the top five. Kevin Wagner just missed a top-five finish by about a foot. Mark Frazier, Nick Bocook, Audie Swartz, and Daniel Williams made up the rest of the top 10.
One of the biggest aspects of Lemley Motorsports Night was the first-ever running of the “Cletus Classic”. Thirty-nine R.W. Rental and Supply Modified competitors were on hand to compete in this event, which paid $1,231 to win. The race was run in memory of the late Chris “Cletus” Vowell from Lucasville, who was killed in a car crash this spring at the age of 18. Vowell helped with the Number 12 car of Jeremy Rayburn and the Number 31 car of Tim Rayburn.
The Modified racing was intense throughout the night with a lot of side-by-side action and plenty of passing. Of the seven Modified races which took place including all four heats, both B-Mains, and the feature, only one pole-sitter actually won.
In the 20-lap feature, Ervin Vance jumped out front to lead the first lap. Jackie Boggs led laps two and three. Vance retook the lead on lap four and held on the rest of the way to win. En route to the checkers, Vance made an incredible save early in the race after being turned toward the wall on the backstretch.
For the Beaver, KY driver who traveled three hours to race in Portsmouth, it was his first PRP win of the season. Shawn Holiday, Jackie Boggs, Jeremy Rayburn, and Adam Jordan made up the rest of the top five. Adam Colley, Scott Lemaster, Jody Puckett, Jeremy Hayes, and Eric Berry were the next five. Berry advanced eight positions to be named The Markwest Ranger Pipeline Hard Charger.
Coal Grove’s John Melvin found victory lane in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates as he barely held off Evyian Terry to the stripe. Mike Meyers, Joe Whitt, Duane Pick, Cameron Logan, Ronnie Whitt, Kenny McCann, Matt Melvin, and Ellis Cook made up the remainder of the top 10.
Piketon’s Jason Spillman got back to winner’s circle in the M&M Inflatables Bombers. Spillman won for the first time since PRP’s opening night on Memorial Day Weekend. He has yet to finish outside of the top three this season.
Zach Pendleton placed second. Wayne Hughes was third. Rick Butler finished fourth, and Brian Sammons was fifth. The next five were Corey Lewis, Justin Jaynes, Perry Dearing, Mike Drake, and Mark Miller.
West Union’s Josh Francis was triumphant in the Ohio Valley Roofers Legends Car Series A-Main. Francis fended off Steve Duderstadt, Jerren Purdue, John Gutman, Rusty DeMint, Rob Puckett, Cole DeMint, Randy Clark, Scott McMann, and Ashley Tackett to take the win.
Portsmouth Raceway Park will be back in action this coming Saturday for a special Fourth of July event, “The Freedom 50”, featuring The Lucas Oil Late Model Series, which will be racing for $10,000 to win. Also on the card will be Modifieds and Limited Lates. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing at 7:30. For more details, log on to www.portsraceway.com.