Port Royal race notes 2004-04-18

Port Royal, Pa For the second straight week, race fans were a bit surprised at Port Royal,(PA) Speedway. Just as happened one week earlier, misfortune struck the Aumiller & Associate Sprint Car feature race leader on lap 22. This time Mark Smith...

Port Royal, Pa For the second straight week, race fans were a bit surprised at Port Royal,(PA) Speedway. Just as happened one week earlier, misfortune struck the Aumiller & Associate Sprint Car feature race leader on lap 22. This time Mark Smith appeared to have the race won when he made contact with a lapped car on the back stretch and flipped. Smith, of Newville, PA., had taken the lead from race winner Craig Keel of Weedsport, NY., on lap seven and appeared to be gone.

Smith and Keel were the class of the field having broken away from third place finisher Keith Kauffman of Mifflintown, who started sixteenth in a brand new Middleswarth Potato Chips no. 7. Chad Layton of Harrisburg was fourth with Herndon's Mike Erdley fifth. Sixth through tenth were Rick Lafferty, Mike Wagner, Todd Hestor, Lucas Wolfe and Richie Hartman. Heats for the 24 car field were won by Smith, Keel and Hestor.

Keel started second and held the race lead for seven laps. The event was filled with cautions and two red flag stops for a crash and fuel. The initial start found Rod Stroup spinning in turn one. The Superior Pools driver saved the car and was trying to bring it back up to speed when it jumped out of gear. Stroup pushed off and went to the rear of the field. The second start found Mark Coldren upside down with Bill Wolf and Kyle Ganoe also involved. Ganoe would restart and complete five laps while Coldren and Wolf were out. All drivers were ok. in the turn four skirmish. The third attempt got the race under way. With with one lap complete Jeff Shepard spun on the low side of turns one and two.

It didn't appear Shepard would be a factor in the outcome of the race but the Upperco, MD. driver began to work the Pete's Bridge Street Motors no. 25 through the field on the restart. Todd Shaffer had bad luck for the second week in a row when his Village Square Plaza/Beam Racing no. 88 was pinched down on the front stretch by another car causing Shaffer to crash into the inside guard rail just before the stage wall. Shaffer re-fired the car and and the race resumed with two laps complete. Action was green flagged with Smith chasing Keel until lap eight when he used a slider move in turn one to put the Zemco Speed Equipment no. 1 in front. During the same lap the race was again slowed for Boiling Springs, PA driver Roger Fickett who lost the left front wheel on the backstretch. The Hank's Performance/Rome Engineering car was towed to the pit area and action resumed. Lucas Wolfe spun the Allebach no. 5w in turn two on lap nine and went to the rear. Lap eleven action was stopped for Todd Shaffer who dropped out at the flag stand with motor problems. Race officials checked their score cards and were out of laps forcing a fuel stop. Justin Seigler of Port Royal spun on lap seventeen and the race was halted for Smith's flip on lap twenty two. Smith and Keel were dominate and it it seemed likely Keel would run away to the win. Re-enter Jeff Shepard who came from the rear of the field to restart second with three laps left. Shepard made an all out attempt to get the lead following the restart and appeared to have it in turns one and two. The pair raced side by side on lap twenty three before Keel regained control and went on to a popular win with the fans.

In Victory Lane, Keel said," He (Shepard), ran me as clean as he could there at the end." I should have done this years ago." Keel referred to coming to Port Royal and getting a win. Keel continued, "I'm getting old. I don't have much hair any more. Do you think I could get a hat", he joked. The happy winner informed fans they'll see more of him than usual this year at the Juniata Co. oval.

The 20 lap Ramsey's Car Wash/AB Auto Glass Late Model feature was won by Tim Gray of Mifflintown. Gray took the lead on the initial start and never looked back. Eight caution periods slowed the event but race action behind Gray was exciting. Tim Wilson of McClure, PA finished second and worked the high side of the speedway moving forward through the field. Wilson was followed by Scotty Haus who came from tenth spot to finish third. Eric Zembower ran a solid race finishing fourth and last weeks winner Steve Campbell was fifth. Sixth through tenth were Billy Wampler, Jere Wierman, Travis Dillman, Jim Yoder and Eric Kauffman. Heats were won by Jeff Leiphart, Zembower and Haus. There were 24 cars. Gray said in post race interviews, " This helps make up for earlier problems. We tore things up two times, on Bug Day, and last week. When you beat beat these guys and have Scotty back there in third, you've done something."

Corey Kepner put the Stong's Auto Parts no. 12K in the winners circle in Pro Stock action. The race was full of competitive. Bill Powell finished second for the third straight week. Gary Beward was third. Scott Spahr and Jim Palm completed the top five. Sixth through tenth were Harry Peffer, Neil Foust, Todd Snook, Ken Stitt Jr., and Scott Bargo. Heats were won by Kepner and Beward. Twenty two cars were on hand. Kepner was joined in Victory Lane by wife Teresa who quickly had her picture taken with her husband before belting into her Powder Puff car.

Teresa Kepner won the Zimmerman's Truck Lines Powder Puff race regaining the lead on the final lap. Kepner started on the pole leading laps one through five. Kelly Warnagiris came from ninth starting spot to get the lead on lap six. Kepner finished strong for the win over Heidi Kauffman. Warnagiris was third with Amanda Dalton fourth. Nikki Dalton finished fifth. Completing the top ten were Jen Powell, Holly Brenneman, Cramen Palm, Judy Briner and Stacey Hines.

The PA 305 Sprint Car feature was won by Brett Knable of Mcveytown, PA over Vince Snyder. Mike Allman was third with Scott Ellerman fourth. Joey Hershey was fifth. Sixth through tenth were Jim Roush, Mike Freet, Rob Mellott, Chris Melenson and Denny Mellott. Heats for the 28 car field were won by Joe Zapp, Ellerman and Rob Mellott.

Action continues Saturday April 24 with Aumiller and Associate Sprint Cars, Ramsey's Car Wash/AB Auto Glass Late Models, Stong's Auto Parts Pro Stocks and Parson's Auto Salvage/Casner Service Center 4 Cyl. Stock Cars. Gates open at 5 with racing at 7.

Port Notes. 108 race cars were in the pit area. Corey Kepner and wife Teresa may be the first husband/wife duo to win feature events on the same night at Port Royal. Speedway officials announced the All Star Circuit of Champions will compete at Port Royal Wednesday night August 25. Port Royal and Lincoln Speedways have committed to shows that week with other area speedways in negotiations.

-prs-

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Lucas Wolfe , Tim Gray