The rumble and speed of 410 Winged Sprint Cars combined with six different leaders in 30 laps along with a last-lap pass for the win helped make The 4th Annual Dean Knittel Memorial Race Saturday Night at Portsmouth Raceway Park a thriller that won’t soon be forgotten.
For the second straight season, PRP hosted The Dean Knittel Memorial Race, which served as the finale for Ohio Speedweek. Nashville, TN’s Paul McMahon took the checkers in The FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race, while Wheelersburg’s Josh Bocook claimed the victory in The Charlie Swartz Classic Super Late Model Feature.
Portsmouth Raceway Park welcomed both Sprints and Late Models Saturday with 37 Sprints and 40 Late Models in attendance. Drivers attended the event from as far away as Australia and California, and they were fast! There were 19 different Sprint Car drivers who turned qualifying laps under 13 seconds. Tyler Courtney set fast time wheeling a lap clocked at 12.602 seconds.
The Dean Knittel Memorial witnessed Courtney, Kyle Reinhardt, and Zeb Wise swap the lead back and forth over the first 11 laps. Then on lap 12, the top trio would all have issues. Reinhardt would bounce off the backstretch wall and his left front tire would clip the right rear of Wise turning Wise head first into the Turn 3 wall.
Wise would hit hard ending his race but would thankfully walk away from the crash. Damage was also sustained to Reinhardt’s car, however his crew would get it repaired allowing him to finish the race. In the midst off all that, Courtney suffered a flat tire and had to go to the back of the pack after getting it changed.
The misfortunes suffered by Wise, Reinhardt, and Courtney would enable Rico Abreu
to move from fourth to the lead for the ensuing restart. The St. Helena, CA native would lead from lap 12 through 25 before cutting down a tire sending him pitside.
Danny Dietrich would then go to the point and would take the white flag before Paul McMahon would get by him for the lead off of turn two. McMahon would hold on to capture the Dean Knittel Memorial and the $17,554 prize that went along with it.
Hunter Schuerenberg would climb from 11th to second. Danny Dietrich would slip two spots in the final lap to finish third. Tyler Courtney would fight back through the field after his flat on lap 12 to place fourth. That would be good enough to earn him this year’s Ohio Speedweek title. Tim Shaffer would move up 13 positions to finish fifth. Cap Henry, Justin Peck, Lachlan McHugh, Cory Eliason, and Cole Duncan would round out the top 10.
Josh Bocook scored the biggest win of his Dirt Late Model career Saturday claiming the $5,000-to-win Charlie Swartz Classic. The 2017 PRP Track Champion started fifth and fought his way to the front.
Originally, The Charlie Swartz Classic had been scheduled for Friday night and was going to pay $3,000 to win. However, since rain washed out Friday’s action at PRP, it was decided to do the big Late Model race Saturday with the Sprints and boost the winner’s pay a couple grand.
Early on in Saturday’s Late Model feature, Camden’s Kody Evans was the driver to beat. He led the first 21 laps of the 40-lap feature and appeared rather dominant, but one bobble off of turn 2 would give Bocook the break he needed. Bocook pounced at the opportunity and took the lead for good pacing the field over the last 19 laps.
Evans would finish as the runner-up. RJ Conley placed third. David Webb battled his way from 12th to fourth. Rod Conley moved up six positions to fifth. Kirk Phillips also made some big advancements charging from 18th to sixth. Fast qualifier Brandon Fouts would place seventh. Mike Hildebrand, Joshua Hall, and Austyn Mills would round out the top 10.
Portsmouth Raceway Park will return to action this coming Saturday with five divisions – The Giovanni’s Pizza Late Models, Modifieds, O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates, Sport Mods, and Legends Cars. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing at approximately 7:30.