PRP welcomes Lucas Oil Late Model Series

By Chuck Greenslate

Portsmouth Raceway Park welcomed the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Car Series Friday for the first of three visits in 2021. Jonathan Davenport took the checkers in The Able Air Independence 50, which paid $12,000 to win. Brian Skaggs and Jacob Curnutte scored wins in the Modified and Limited Late Model Divisions.

Twenty-five Late Models were on hand for Friday’s big race. The 50-lap feature saw several great battles up near the front of the field including an intense race early on between Watertown, NY’s Tim McCreadie and Brandon, FL’s Kyle Bronson. Blairsville, GA’s Jonathan Davenport, who started fourth, would eventually overtake Bronson for second on lap three setting up a duel between he and McCreadie which lasted for multiple laps.

Davenport would take the lead on lap nine and would fend off all challenges from there on. There were a couple of restarts following cautions where McCreadie and Bronson made it interesting for a moment, but Davenport was the class of the field.

Davenport, Bronson, and McCreadie would make up the top three. Spencer Hughes placed fifth. Tyler Erb climbed from ninth to fifth, while Josh Richards moved up from 13th to sixth. Jimmy Owens, Devin Moran, Jared Hawkins, and Ricky Thornton Jr rounded out the top 10. Hawkins advanced 12 positions to move up from 21st to ninth.

Four-time PRP Track Champ RJ Conley was the highest finishing local placing 12th. His brother Rod was right behind him in 13th.

McCreadie was the night’s quick qualifier in the Late Model Division.

There were 28 Modifieds on the scene for Friday’s show. Pedro’s Brian Skaggs became the first driver this season to record multiple wins in the Modified Class. He had a dominant showing setting quick time in The Dynamic Shock Service Time Trials, leading every lap of his heat, and pacing the feature from start to finish.

There was, however, some extremely competitive racing behind him. Two-time PRP Champion Jeremy Rayburn climbed from fourth to second. Manchester’s Jason Bilyeu scored his third-straight top five finish charging from 13th to third. Ervin Vance placed fourth. Anthony Slusher was fifth. The previous week’s winner Brandon Smith finished sixth, and Seth Daniels was seventh. The racing between those six drivers was phenomenal, as they were often engaged in side-by-side battles.

Two-time Dirt Track World Championship Winner KC Burdette started third but was involved in a first-lap accident which sent him to the tail. He would fight his way back up to eighth. Jason Montgomery was ninth, and Tony DeHart moved from 19th up to 10th.

The parity in The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model Division continued Saturday. In four races, there have been four different winners.

Jacob Curnutte was the most recent driver to claim a win in the Limited Lates. The Lavalette, WV racer led from start to finish fending off Jared Hawkins, Mike Meyers, Billy Staker, and Garet McCloud to the checkers. Kevin Terry, David Grass, Rick Phillips, Kent Keyser, and Jason Salmons rounded out the top 10.

Portsmouth Raceway Park will be off this coming weekend and will return to action on Saturday, July 17th. It will be Jackie Boggs Night for the Kids, and on the card will be Giovanni’s Pizza Late Models, Modifieds, Sport Mods, and the Ohio Valley Sprint Car Association.

By Chuck Greenslate