SPRINTS: Port Royal, Penna 96-06-01 June 1, 1996 Port Royal, Pennsylvania Greetings from the Port Royal Speedway located in Port Royal, Pennsylvania. This was our first ever trip to this historic track. For some reason we just never got...
SPRINTS: Port Royal, Penna 96-06-01 June 1, 1996 Port Royal, Pennsylvania
Greetings from the Port Royal Speedway located in Port Royal, Pennsylvania. This was our first ever trip to this historic track. For some reason we just never got around to making the trip. However, Saturday was a beautiful day to go to the races so Mr. G and I loaded our truck up and headed off to Port Royal, which turned out to be a two hour trip one way.
We decided that since the World of Outlaws had been at Williams Grove on Friday night (Steve Kinser won the feature) and they were at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night (Mark Kinser won the feature) I decided it was time to visit Port Royal. I just could not go two weeks during racing season without seeing a sprint car race.
Port Royal is located about 50 miles (80.47 kilometers) west of Harrisburg on US 22, then southwest on SR 75 to 6th Street, then turn north. The ride from Harrisburg is beautiful. US 22 travels through the mountains and follows the Susquehanna River which provides some great scenery.
Port Royal is a 1/2 mile (0.847 kilometer) semi banked clay oval located on the Juniata County Fair grounds. I would estimate the banking to be about 8 degrees. Reserved seating in the main grandstand was $11.00. The main grandstand is reminiscent of the old fashioned style fair grounds grandstand and covers the majority of the front stretch. It is wooden and has eleven rows and is covered with a new tin roof. When one walks along the walkway at the bottom of the grandstand they are about four feet above the racing surface since the racing surface and the grandstand share a concrete wall. There is also a small concrete grandstand towards turn four. Spectators may also bring their own lawn chairs and sit in the center of the infield since the pits are located on either end of the speedway. One thing that is mandatory at Port Royal is hearing protection if you sit in the grandstands. The facility is not ideally layed out for racing fans since the restrooms are located a good distance away from the main grandstand by the main entrance to the fairgrounds.
It is a good walk to get to the bathrooms and it requires proper planning and timing so that you do not miss any racing action.
A unique aspect of the track is that starts come at the entrance to turn three while the flag stand is at the entrance to turn one in the infield. Signed into the pits were twenty five (25) of the 410 sprints, twenty eight (28) late models, twelve (12) semi lates, and twenty (20) thunder cars. Gates opened at 5 PM, we were there, and warm ups were scheduled for 6:15 PM. I knew we were in for trouble as soon as I saw the track. It was a mess! Not only that but three of the vehicles they use to run in the track had managed to crash on the front stretch in front of the main grandstand. Two of them required towing! At 7:15 they were still grooming the track but they allowed the late models, semi lates and the thunder cars out to assist them in running the track in. At 7:30 PM the sprint cars were also allowed out to get heat in their engines. The first hot laps, semi lates, hit the track at 7:45 PM! Heck they were only running an hour and a half behind schedule and to me the track still looked awful rough and wet.
Prior to hot laps for the sprints it was announced that Mark Richard driver of the #5K would not be present due to a case of appendicitis. Prior the nights racing event Mark was third in the points standings for the 410 sprint division. The only incident during hot laps was the #555 of Mike Wells spun in turn two and came to a stop in the grove sideways. Although the Outlaws were racing at the Lincoln Speedway the #88 of Todd Shaffer and the #461 of Lance Dewease were both present since the Outlaw event was not televised last Saturday night TNN televised the Outlaw race live from Williams Grove) and they are one and two respectively in the points.
Heat races for the sprints were eight laps in distance with six cars to qualify.
Heat One Line Up Row 1: #15 Vince Snyder #30 Daryl Stimeling Row 2: #1 Rick Hench #55 Mike Wagner Row 3: #61 Tony Greener #461 Lance Dewease Row 5: #U5 Trevor Utt #12F John Fraker Row 6: #79 John Bear The #U5 of Trevor Utt scratched from the heat.
The green lights had not even come on and the #1 of Rick Hench was off and running causing a complete restart. Hench was warned by track officials that if he jumped the start again he would be sent to the rear of the field. On the restart there was some minor contact and the #461 of Dewease ended up against the outside guard rail in turn four bringing out the yellow again and requiring another restart. The pole sitter #15 of Snyder was having mechanical problems and went into the pits. The #461 was pushed off and was able to rejoined the field.
The #1 of Hench now found himself on the front row and in control of the heat and did not have to worry about the start. Once the green came out he was off and running. The #461 of Dewease started to move up and passed last weeks feature winner #61 Greener on the back stretch. On lap one Dewease passed the #30 of Stimeling in turn four and set his sights on the #55 of Wagner who was running second. On lap five the #30 of Stimeling passed the #61 of Greener in turn three while Dewease closed in on Wagner. Dewease closed on Wagner and Wagner closed on Hench but there was never any threat of positions changing. Heat One Qualifiers #1, #55, #461, #30, #61, #12F
Heat Two Line Up Row 1: #65 1/2 Christine Karns #27 John Franker Row 2: #121 Judi Bates #2H Dave Hahn Row 3: #22M Brian Miller #10 Len Thompson Row 5: #555 Mike Wells #29 Keith McMannus The #29 of McMannus was not the Bob Weikert Livestock sponsored #29 which I am assuming was running the World of Outlaw show at Lincoln.
When the green came out the #65 1/2 of Karns started going to the rear immediately. The #2H of Hahn took the lead although one had to wonder about if he was going to stay there. Every time he went through turn one I could see flames around the left side of the rear axle. On lap one the #121 of Bates passed the #27 of Franker to take second. On lap two the yellow comes out for the #29 of McMannus who had come to a stop in turn four. The running order was: #2H, #121, #10, #27, #555, #65 1/2.
The field takes the green and on lap four the #121 of Bates got high in turn two which allowed the #10 of Thompson to pass her and take over second. By lap six Thompson was closing on the #2H of Hahn and on lap seven Thompson ducked low in turns one and two and passed Hahn for to take the lead. Heat Two Qualifiers #10, #2H, #121, #27, #555, #65 1/2
Heat Three Line Up Row 1: #1/2 Von McGee #66K Steve Kenawell Row 2: #77T Jess Thomas #2C Will Cramer Row 3: #88 Todd Shaffer #17 Alan Cole Row 5: #76 Jamie Steffy #12B Brian Montieth
The green came out quickly followed by a yellow for a false start. When the green came out again it was not a great start but it the racing stayed green. Somehow the #17 of Cole was in the lead and by lap two the #88 of Shaffer was up to second followed by the #77T, #2C and #76 which is how they finished. The #12B of Montieth spun after taking the white flag but he was far enough back that the field took the checkered flag as he sat in the grove in turn two. Heat Three Qualifiers: #17, #88, #77T, #2C, #76, #1/2
There was a consi for the late models and then hot laps for the thunder cars and the semi lates and then the sprint feature was supposed to be run. However, Walt Dyer the owner of the #461 was as mad as all get out and complaining to track officials. First he was complaining about the poor condition of the racing surface and then the posted line up for the feature.
Walt felt that the #461 should be ahead of the #88 since the #88 was the points leader. However, track officials told Walt to read his rule book and that the #88 and the #461 were "in the penalty box" since both cars missed last weeks racing at Port Royal. According to the rule book the cars in the penalty box are lined up by the most number of points which put the #88 of Shaffer in front of the #461 of Dewease.
Walt did win the battle over the track surface though since the grader came out and did extensive work in turns one and two while the push trucks worked in turns three and four. After the grader left the push trucks then helped to finish running in the track in turns one and two.
25 Lap Feature Row 1: #1 Rick Hench #121 Judi Bates Row 2: #77T Jess Thomas #55 Mike Wagner Row 3: #2H Dave Hahn #88 Todd Shaffer Row 4: #461 Lance Dewease #10 Len Thompson Row 5: #17 Alan Cole #30 Daryl Stimeling Row 6: #27 John Franker #2C Will Cramer Row 7: #61 Tony Greener #555 Mike Wells Row 8: #76 Jamie Steffy #12F John Fraker Row 9: #65 1/2 Christine Karns #1/2 Von McGee Row 10: #79 John Bear #22M Brian Miller Row 11: #12B Brian Montieth #66K Steve Kenawell Row 12: #29 Brian McMannus #15 Vince Snyder
As the green came out the #1 of Hench took off. The #55 of Wagner was pressuring the #121 of Bates but she held him off. On lap one Wagner got on the inside of Bates and as they entered turn one they made contact with Bates holding off Wagner as they went down the back stretch.
On lap three the #10 of Thompson passed the #77T of Thomas in turn two. The #88 of Shaffer was moving up and was pressuring the #55 of Wagner who managed to pass Bates in turn four. On lap six the #55 of Wagner and the #121 of Bates were battling again for position. However, this time they were also joined by the #88 of Shaffer who tried to pass both on the inside going into turn two. Unfortunately for Shaffer he ran out of racing room and got pinched into the inside guard rail and lost several positions.
During all this the #461 of Dewease was beginning to move through the field. On lap eight Dewease managed two pass the #77T of Thomas and the #121 of Bates in turn two. On lap nine the caution came out for the #2C of Cramer who had hit the inside guard rail with his front end and was sitting sideways in the racing grove. The running order was: #1, #555 (-1), #55, #10, #12F (-1), #88, #461, #1/2 (-1), #77T, #65 1/2 (-1). The #12F of Fraker who was down a lap stayed in the back of the field instead of moving up into the thick of things.
As the field took the green the #1 of Hench was off and running again. The #88 of Shaffer was pressuring the #10 of Thompson for the third spot which he took in turn four on lap ten. By lap thirteen Shaffer had passed the #55 of Wagner taking over the second position while the #10 of Thompson was closing on the #55 of Wagner. On the back stretch Thompson used a lapped car and shot to the inside and passed Wagner who had gone to the outside of the lapped car. On lap fifteen the caution light came on for debris on the track which took away the cushion that Hench had from the fast closing #88 of Shaffer. The running order was: #1, #88, #10, #55, #461, #77T, #17.
When the green came back out Shaffer wasted no time and muscled his way to the inside of Hench in turn four and completed the pass taking over the lead. Before lap fifteen could be completed the yellow was back out for the 31 of Hench who had a flat rear tire. He was given two laps to make the repairs which he did and rejoined the field shotgun. On the restart the #461 of Dewease passed the #55 of Wagner in turn four and took over the third position.
By lap eighteen Dewease was beginning to close on the #10 of Thompson but by lap twenty he had fallen back again. On lap twenty two the yellow was out again for an accident in turn four involving the #27 of Franker who was sitting sideways in the grove and how had been collected by the #17 of Cole. Both cars were removed from the track and taken to the pits.
With just three laps to go it was obvious it was going to be battle to the checkers. As the green came out the #461 of Dewease quickly went to work on the #10 of Thompson and passed him coming out of turn four. The #55 of Wagner then managed to pass Thompson in turn one. However, no one was going to catch the #88 of Shaffer who took the checkered flag with a healthy margin over second place Dewease.
Top Six Finishers 1.) #88 Todd Shaffer, 2.) #461 Lance Dewease, 3.) #55 Mike Wagner, 4.) #10 Len Thompson, 5.) #77T Jess Thomas, 6.) Rick Hench
Victory Lane Interview
The track announcer welcomed Todd back to victory lane and Todd said it was good to be back. The car the team ran was a car that had been sitting around the track and they decided to put it back together to see if they could find victory lane again. Two weeks ago Todd flipped a brand new car out over the fence at Williams Grove.
Todd then congratulated Port Royal for having an excellent surface in the beginning of the year and for having the worst surface he has ever raced on tonight. Todd said it was rough and bumpy and that it was extremely hard to pass anyone.
Late Model Results Heats were 8 laps in distance with 6 cars to qualify. Heat 1: 9 Cars Winner: #1 Scottie Haus Heat 2: 10 Cars Winner: #39 Mike Hess Heat 3: 9 Cars Winner: #18 Sam Capriano Consi was 5 laps in distance with 4 cars to qualify Consi: 8 cars Winner: #33 Carl Billet 20 Lap Feature Top Five Finishers out of 28 starters 1.) #1 Scottie Haus 2.) #39 Mike Hess 3.) #33 Carl Billet 4.) #88 Rich Myers 5.) #06 Jeff Smith
Semi Late Results 12 Lap Feature with no Heat Races Top Three Finishers out of 12 starters 1.) #77x Tom Krape 2.) #88 Rick Yohn 3.) #5 Alan Noss
Thunder Cars 12 Lap Feature with no heat races 22 cars. Unfortunately we did not stay since it was getting late and we had a two hour drive to get home. :-(
Next week, weather permitting we plan to attend the Friday night show at Williams Grove where the 410 Sprints and the NAPA Super Sportsman are scheluded and possibly even another Saturday night show to see the 410 Sprints at one of three possible locations. As always I welcome any news, comments, suggestions or questions. You can reach me at: email@example.com