Thrilling weekend at PRP

By Chuck Greenslate - Portsmouth Raceway Park

Thrilling Late Model and Modified A-Mains highlighted the evening at Portsmouth Raceway Park Saturday. Both races featured epic duels for the lead with R.J. Conley prevailing in the Late Models and Ben Adkins winning in the Modifieds. Mike Meyers and Zack Pendleton scored victories in the Limited Late and Sport Mod Divisions.

Early on in the Late Models, it appeared that Brandon Fouts was the man to beat. Coming off a win a weekend earlier, he set quick time and outran Conley and everyone else en route to a heat race win.

He was equally as dominant early on in the Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model Feature. He led the first 14 laps and had a rather large advantage at one point. Conley, who started third, would slowly begin chipping away at the gap and would take the lead on the 15th circuit.

Conley would lead lap 16 as well before Fouts motored back in front on lap 17. Conley would move back in front on lap 18 and would hold on the final seven laps for the victory. In winner’s circle, the four-time track champ was given a warm and heart-felt reception from the crowd.

Fouts would take second. Nick Bocook would climb from sixth to score a podium finish. Mike Hildebrand placed fourth, and 2019 track champ Shannon Thornsberry rounded out the top 5. Larry Martin Jr, Josh Bocook, Kenny Christy, Kevin Wagner, and Kirk Phillips made up the rest of the top 10.

While the Late Model A-Main provided a dramatic two-car battle for the lead, the Modified Feature was a hold-on-to-your seat war between four different drivers. The race witnessed three different leaders, four lead changes, side-by-side racing, a three-wide clash, slide jobs, and crossover moves.

The primary fight up front was between West Portsmouth’s Ben Adkins and Beaver, KY’s “Swervin” Ervin Vance. Vance would nab the lead from pole sitter Jody Puckett on lap 2 and hold on to it officially until Adkins got by on lap 16. However, Adkins had claimed the lead prior, but an untimely caution reverted scoring back to the previously scored lap.

Adkins would only lead for a lap before Vance retook the top spot on lap 17. Adkins would move back ahead of Vance on lap 18 and would fend off all challengers until the end of the 20-lap A-Main.

Beside the back-and-forth showdown between Adkins and Vance up front, Brandon Smith and Jason Bilyeu both put themselves in a position to win. They each got past Vance in the closing laps to finish second and third respectively. Smith looked under

both Adkins and Vance off of turn 2 in the closing laps to make it a three-wide battle for the lead.

While Adkins, Smith, Bilyeu, and Vance ran first through fourth, the 2018 track champ Anthony Slusher placed fifth. Chris Wilson, Adam Colley, James Grigsby, Drew Bender, and Matt Holcomb rounded out the top 10.

Pedro’s Brian Skaggs was the fast qualifier during the Dynamic Shock Service Modified Time Trials but scratched shortly afterward.

Fayetteville’s Mike Meyers dominated The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model Division leading every lap of the feature. Thomas Baker, Shane Bailey, Collin Holmes, Evyian Terry, Kent Keyser, Garet McCloud, Richie Edwards, Kevin Terry, and Rick Stringer made up the rest of the top 10.

Stout’s Zach Pendleton made it two feature wins in as many tries in the Sport Mod Division. He remained out in front the entire race followed by Cody Gifford, Branden Colley, Casey Jones, Jason Spillman, Danny Hamilton Jr, Dillon Hamilton, Robbi Johnson, and Corey Kouns.

PRP will be off this coming weekend, June 12th, to prepare for the big two-day event scheduled for June 18th and 19th. The Charlie Swartz Classic will take place on the 18th and The Dean Knittel Memorial on the 19th. The Charlie Swartz Classic will feature Late Models, Modifieds, and Sport Mods. On the card for the Dean Knittel Memorial will be The All-Star Circuit of Champion 410 Winged Sprint Cars and Late Models.

By Chuck Greenslate

Portsmouth Raceway Park