Port Royal, PA It was a night full of emotion and action Saturday May 8 at Port Royal (PA) Speedway. When racing was finished, Mark Smith of Newville, PA and Scotty Haus of Hamburg left no doubt they are the current dominate drivers at the Juniata...
Port Royal, PA It was a night full of emotion and action Saturday May 8 at Port Royal (PA) Speedway. When racing was finished, Mark Smith of Newville, PA and Scotty Haus of Hamburg left no doubt they are the current dominate drivers at the Juniata County oval. Smith earned Aumiller & Associate Sprint Car win number four. Haus captured his third straight Ramsey's Car Wash/AB Auto Glass Late Model Main event. Gary Beward won his first Stong's Auto Parts Pro Stock feature of the season. All dedicated their victories to the late Butch Renninger. Haus requested the checkered flag following his event and drove a polish victory lap around the big half mile. The Sprint Car and Late Model featured were full of action and included red flag stops.
Mark Coldren started on the pole and led the first nine laps aboard the White Oaks Ice no. 07 sprinter. Action was stopped at that point when Judi Bates flipped in the middle of turns three and four. Also involved were youngster Jimmy Seger, Mike Erdley and Mike Wagner. Bates was not injured and out for the night. Smith restarted the race in fourth spot and took control shortly after action resumed. Smith was followed by Weedsport, NY driver Craig Keel with both drivers breaking away from the rest of the field. Smith opened nearly a straight stretch lead before action was halted on lap twenty when Randy Baughman flipped the Dillsburg NAPA Auto Parts no. 3b sprinter in turns three and four. Baughman was placed in a back brace as a precaution and transported to Lewistown Hospital for examination. No further details were available as this report was prepared. The event resumed for one lap before the caution light came on for Rod Stroup's Superior Pools no. 21. Stroup's racer had a flat left rear tire and was towed to the pit area. Stroup restarted the event and finished fourteenth. During the same caution period, Tim Wilson spun the R & T Trucking no. 17T on the front stretch and second place Keel stopped nearby. Both were out for the night. Todd Hestor inherited the second spot and the race was again halted before a restart. Juniata County Emergency Personnel dispatched the second ambulance at the race track to a nearby home in Port Royal for an emergency. Action stopped while another ambulance was called from Thompsontown. The speedways first ambulance had already left the grounds transporting Randy Baughman. Upon restarting Smith won with ease over Hestor. Jeff Shepard came from sixteenth starting spot to finish third aboard the Pete's Bridge Street Motors no. 25. Mifflintown's Keith Kauffman was fourth with Lucas Wolfe of Mechaincsburg fifth. Sixth through tenth were Chad Layton, Todd Shaffer, Dave Hahn, Richie Hartman and Mark Coldren. Heats for the 27 car field were won by Hartman, Coldren and Stroup. Rick Lafferty won the consolation.
Smith said in post race ceremonies, " I don't know what to say. This is awesome. I want to thank my sponsors. It's tough to win three in a row. I'm out of speeches. I want to dedicate this one to Butch. The track was great and my team communicates well with each other. I hope we stay together for the next few years." Owner John Zemaitis added, " I'm speechless. Everything works good."
Scotty Haus won the 20 lap Late Model test, his third win in a row. The race was stopped with two laps down for a two car pile up on the front stretch. Travis Dillman of Loysville and Mitch Hack of Mexico badly damaged their cars in the crash. Both came to rest against the outside concrete wall in front of the main grandstand. Neither were injured. Tim Gray would lead the first half of the race with Haus in hot pursuit. Both drivers were on a mission as Gray wanted the win in honor of his late brother in-law Butch Renninger and so did Haus. Haus was driving the Robby Mapes owned, Ford powered no. 33. Ironically many of Renninger's Late Model wins also came in Ford products with the same car number. Gray and Haus are good friends and ran each other hard the entire race. After several laps of side by side racing Haus finally broke through to record the win. Both drivers stopped their cars on the front stretch with Haus requesting the checkered flag. Haus turned his racer and drove down the front stretch for a "polish victory lap in honor of his late friend. Upon arriving in victory lane Haus was met by the Renninger family with Gray's wife, who is also Renninger's sister, the first to congratulate the winning driver." Haus was emotional in Victory Lane. " This one's for Butch he began. If you love us or hate us this one's for him. Tim wanted this one too. He was on mission. When we get out there we all want to win and you go for it. I changed my line because Tim was getting off the corners better than me. I had to work to get around him. I want to thank my car owner Robby Mapes and all the guys", Haus added. Mike Atherton was third with Eric Zembower fourth. Steve Campbell finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were Mike Hess, Nick Dickson, Jere Wierman, Scott Flickinger and Eric Kauffman. Heats were won by Haus and Harold Ranck. There were 23 cars.
Gary Beward won his first Pro Stock event of the season over Bill Powell. Neil Foust finished third with Todd Snook fourth. Corey Kepner completed the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Steve Stitt, Scott Spahr, Jim Palm, Ken Stitt Jr., and Scott Bargo. Harold Ranck Jr., and Beward won qualifiers. There were 22 cars.
The Pro Stock feature was competitive with tight racing through out the field. The first ten laps were spun off before the caution light came on. Dave Bowsman who was racing for the lead dropped out at that point. Powell and Foust kept the pressure on Beward but could not get by.
Racing continues Saturday May 15 with Sprint Cars, Late Models, Pro Stocks and the Parson's Auto Salvage/Casner Service Center 4 cyl. Stock Cars. Gates open at 5 P.M. and racing at 7.
Port Notes: The total car numbers of the top three finishers in the Sprint Car feature added together equaled 33, which was Butch Renninger's car number. The speedway held a Memorial Service honoring Renninger prior to the nights racing action. Cowboy Teen Little, local WJUN Racing media person, recorded Garth Brooks song, " The Dance", and it was played over the PA system as family and friends assembled on the stage. PR Director Craig Rutherford thanked everyone on behalf of the Renninger family for their love, support and prayers over the last week. John "Buck" Garloff sang Frank Sinatra's song " My Way " live and following prayer by Hank Rutherford and a moment of silence, Hillary Arnold performed the National Anthem. Renninger's no. 33 race car driven by Herm Renninger, idled around the speedway while the ceremony took place. As the National Anthem ended, Renninger broke into a hot lap with the 33 car before it was taken to the pit area. PR Director Rutherford quoted Butch Renninger's line, " Let's get this show on the road" as action began. The family brought some of the many flowers received and decorated the stage and grounds. Drivers came out of the pit area to watch the memorial. Race Director Tom Little organized the service.