Late lap action at PRP

By Chuck Greenslate

A man that won’t age and two features that went right down to the wire made the headlines at Portsmouth Raceway Park Saturday Night.

At 79 years old, Delmas Conley took the checkered in the Late Model Division. KC Burdette fended off Jeremy Rayburn in the closing laps to win the annual Lemley Motorsports Mod Squad Spectacular. Mike Meyers just clipped Billy Staker at the stripe to win in the Limited Lates, and Zack Pendleton continued his dominance in the Sport Mods.

The focus of the evening was on The Local Happenings Modified Division Saturday, as the $3,000-dollar-to-win Lemley Motorsports Mod Squad Spectacular was the highlighted event and the highest paying of the night. Parkersburg, WV’s KC Burdette started third and would take over the lead from pole sitter Jeremy Rayburn on lap 4. Burdette, a former Mod Squad and two-time Dirt Track World Championship winner, would pace the field up until late in the race when Rayburn mounted a comeback.

Rayburn, a two-time PRP Track Champion, would keep digging hard on the bottom while Burdette remained married to the top. Coming up on two laps to go, Rayburn would surge ahead of Burdette off of turn 4 and would lead lap 28 of 30. Burdette would keep pedaling on the high side and would ride the rim back in front of Rayburn on lap 29. It was anybody’s race to win on the final lap, but Burdette would hold off Rayburn to take the checkers.

Salt Rock, WV’s Brandon Smith would climb from seventh to third. Lucasville’s Anthony Slusher placed fourth, and “The Buckeye Bullet” Brayden Berry, an 18-year-old from West Portsmouth, advanced 15 positions charging from 20th to fifth. Ben Adkins placed sixth. Jason Bilyeu came from 13th to seventh. Ervin Vance moved up from 17th to eighth. Jason Montgomery was the ninth-place finisher, and Seth Daniels rounded out the top 10.

Burdette, Rayburn, and Austin Holcombe all captured Modified Heat Race wins. Jess Hartman won the B-Main.

Zanesville’s Jesse Wisecarver turned the fastest lap in the Dynamic Shock Service Modified Time Trials, and as a result earned $265 from Lemley Motorsports, $100 from Clifford Jacobs Excavating, and a $50-dollar gift card from Dynamic Shock Service. Wisecarver’s best circuit was clocked at 16.826 seconds.

The Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model A-Main was plagued with some early cautions, but the wait was more than worth while for Delmas Conley fans. Early on, current PRP points leader Brandon Fouts from Kite, KY looked to be the man to beat, but Conley would reel him in and make the pass for the lead on the 17th lap of the 25-lap A-Main.

Once Conley took over the point, the Wheelersburg racing veteran would never look back as he pulled away and cruised to his 561st career win with the crowd erupting as the ageless driver took the checkers. For the 1993 PRP Track Champ and 1968 Southern Ohio Speedway Track Champion, Saturday’s victory marked his first since 2019.

Fouts would hold on for second. Travis Carr would charged from 12th to third. Clint Keenan finished fourth, and Kevin Wagner climbed from 11th to fifth. Mike Hildebrand, Kirk Phillips, Austin Mullett, Chuck Simons, and Bradley Martin rounded out the top 10.

Fouts and Conley took the Late Model heat race wins. Fouts set quick time. Three-time track champion Kenny Christy was involved in a light rollover crash early on in the feature, but walked away unharmed.

The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model A-Main had the best finish of the night if not the year. Fayetteville’s Mike Meyers got a run on the high side coming off of turn 4 on the white-flag lap and just edged Portsmouth’s Billy Staker at the stripe by about a foot and a half. Evyian Terry, Nicky Pennington, and Collin Holmes rounded out the top 5.

Stout’s Zack Pendleton claimed his fourth-consecutive win in the Sport Mod Division. Cody Gifford, Jeromy Brady, Luke Jordan, and Danny Hamilton Jr completed the top 5.

Portsmouth Raceway Park will be off this coming weekend for The Scioto County Fair’s Demolition Derby. PRP will return to action on Saturday, August 21st for the annual Boone Coleman Memorial “Gator 50” presented by The Berndt-Murfin Insurance Agency. Also on the card will be The Local Happenings Modifieds, O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates, and Sport Mods. Gates will open at 4pm with racing at approximately 7:30.

By Chuck Greenslate