PRP plays host to Knittel Memorial, Swartz Classic

By Chuck Greenslate - Portsmouth Raceway Park

WEST PORTSMOUTH — On Saturday night, Portsmouth Raceway Park hosted the fifth annual Roger Hemming Contractors Dean Knittel Memorial 410 Winged Sprint Car Race, as well as the second annual Charlie Swartz Classic for Super Late Models.

Myerstown’s (Pa.) Brent Marks claimed the Dean Knittel Memorial, while Harrodsburg’s (Ky.) Michael Chilton nabbed the checkers in the Charlie Swartz Classic.

In total, 76 race teams were on hand, as 45 Sprints and 31 Late Models filed into PRP’s pits.

The Sprint Car racing was sanctioned by The Tezos All-Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1, while the Late Model portion of the program was sanctioned by The Valvoline Iron-Man Racing Northern Series.

Saturday’s Sprint Car A-Main purse exceeded $68,000 and paid $20,554 to the winner.

That event also served as the final leg of The Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires, which was won by Monrovia’s (Ind.) Justin Peck.

The Sprint A-Main went 30 laps and featured three different leaders, two lead changes, and just one caution.

Polesitter Tyler Courtney set the pace over the first 19 circuits.

Danny Dietrich would claim the lead on lap 20, but just one lap later, Marks would move to the front where he would remain.

Dietrich, Peck and Courtney would finish second through fourth, with Sam Hafertepe Jr advancing five positions to round out the top-5.

Parker Price Miller, Bill Balog, Chris Windom, Cale Thomas and Zeb Wise would complete the top 10.

The winner of The Kleinke Enterprises Heat 1 was Sye Lynch.

Claiming The Superior Lawncare Heat 2 was Brent Marks.

Grabbing The Robbie Bratchett Family Heat 3 was Parker Price Miller.

Winning The Houser & Sons Auto Repair Heat 4 was Dietrich, and prevailing in The Knittel Family Heat 5 was Sam Hafertepe Jr.

All those drivers received $254 for winning their respective heats.

On top of that, Marty Cochenour at The Water Express supplied each heat winner with a $100 bonus.

Courtney won The Holdren Construction & Mike and Lanita Warner Dash — along with the $1,154 prize that came with it.

Courtney also pocketed $354 from Vallery Ford for leading the most laps of the A-Main.

Courtney also picked up an additional $1,254 from J.D. and Anita Knittel for leading the 12th lap.

Justin Peck won $1,333.33 from Ohio Pest Control for finishing third in the A-Main.

Mitchel Moles received $554 for earning The Longest Tow Award presented by Ricer Equipment.

Cap Henry pocketed $854 from MPI Steering Wheel for being the Feature’s Hard Charger, as he advanced 12 positions.

A Fast-Time Award of $454 for the Sprints was presented by Dean Knittel’s number-one fan Rick Johnson — accompanied by a $100 bonus from Bryan Sibole.

Bill Balog earned that with a time of 12.816 seconds.

Saturday’s Charlie Swartz Classic saw a solid finish as Chilton fended off Robby Hensley for the victory.

The final 16 laps of the race went caution free.

In that time, Chilton built a somewhat comfortable lead, but with six laps to go, his advantage had evaporated — and Hensley had pulled to within a little less than a car length.

Hensley continued to apply heat to the finish, but never could make a move.

R.J. Conley, Zach Hill and Rod Conley rounded out the top-5.

The remainder of the top-10 consisted of Brandon Fouts, Shannon Thornsberry, Lucas Crooks, Austyn Mills and Kody Evans.

The race had four former track champions place in the top-7 — the Conley brothers, Fouts and Thornsberry.

Eighth-place finisher Lucas Crooks is the 16-year-old grandson of former Dirt Track World Championship and Word 100 winner Charlie Swartz, for whom Saturday’s race honored.

Saturday’s Late Model Heat Race winners were Hensley, Chilton and Hill.

Kody Evans set quick time with a lap clocked at 15.851 seconds, and Shane Bailey won the B-Main.

Portsmouth Raceway Park will be back in action this coming Saturday night as On The Esplanade Laser Center and Medical Spa will present five divisions of racing — including The Giovanni’s Wholesale Pizza Late Models presented by Impact Race Gear, The Local Happenings App Modifieds, The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Lates, The Express Oil & Tire Engineers Sport Mods as well as The Ohio Valley Roofers Legends Cars.

Gates will open at 4 p.m., with racing at approximately 7:30 p.m.

PRP Schedule Revision: There will be no Super Late Models this coming Saturday, June 25 at PRP.

By Chuck Greenslate

Portsmouth Raceway Park