Layton battles Erdley down to checkered flag in win

PORT ROYAL – Bad Chad Layton of Harrisburg overcame the odds Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway to pocket the 25-lap 410 sprint car feature after a duel with Mike Erdley that came down to the checkered flag.

In the late model feature, invader Jeff Rine of Danville wired the field for his 10th career victory at the oval while elsewhere Logan Wagner made his moves early to lead the 305 sprint feature and seal his victory.

Layton and Danny Lasoski started on the front row of the sprint feature and Layton took the lead immediately when the green flag fell over fourth starter Erdley as the pair shuffled Lasoski to third.

The race entered the backmarkers on the fifth circuit but shortly afterward a caution flag slowed the pace, regrouping the field with six away.

Layton dropped the hammer when action resumed, getting away from Erdley as Lasoski raced third and last week’s winner Doug Esh raced into fourth from his ninth starting spot.

The leaders again entered the rear of the field, lapping cars on the 11th circuit and that’s when Erdley began trying to cut down Layton’s leading distance by slicing across the bottom of the corners.

But still, Layton didn’t miss a trick in traffic, staying just free enough of Erdley as the race wound down, appearing to be headed easily to his ninth career checkers at the track. But that was before the race hit the two to go point and he started to develop a right rear flat tire as well.

It was then that Esh and Cliff Brian brought out the red flag after contact in the fourth turn resulted in spilled fuel on the track

When the race resumed, Erdley seemed to have new life, first trying a move low in the first and second turns before tucking in behind Layton as the pair navigated through three and four, headed for the white flag.

And then when Layton went low into the first corner, Erdley rolled the top to perfection and whisked by exiting the second corner with the lead.

However, a stopped Dave Hahn moments later in the second corner brought out the caution flag instead of the checkers and the one-lap dash to the finish found Layton back in front for the new green, taking advantage of his reprieve thanks to the yellow.

Layton made his car wide heading into the first corner, leaving Erdley to try another run around the top that put him to the leader’s inside as the pair raced down the backchute with Layton continuing to play defense.

Erdley backed out of the inside run as Layton moved lower on the track and a mad run around the top of turns three and four by Erdley found him swerving to the inside of Layton as the pair took the checkers with Layton holding on for the victory.

“Nothing I wouldn’t have done if I was in his place,” Erdley said after the race of Layton’s defense on the final restart.

Erdley finished .297 seconds behind followed by Lance Dewease, Lasoski and 13th starter Rick Lafferty.

Sixth through 10th went to Blane Heimbach, Davey Sammons, Pat Cannon, Joey Hershey and Mike Wagner.

Heats for the 25 cars in competition went to Layton, Lasoski and Ryan Bohlke.

Rine started second in the 20-lap late model main and took his $1,500 payday after wiring the field although 12th starter Matt Parks tried to sneak in for the lead after taking second on the ninth circuit.

For several consecutive laps Parks sliced into Rine’s advantage before Rine again started opening up his lead during the last five circuits.

Rine’s pace was slowed only once with seven laps completed and the front two finishers crossed the line about five seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

A rewarding run by Terry Naugle placed him third at the finish followed by Mike Lupfer and 14th starter Tim Wilson.

Sixth through 10th went to Jim Bernheisel, Bryan Bernheisel, Steve Campbell, Chad Hollenbeck and Dylan Yoder.

Heats for the 33-car field went to AJ Hoffman, Lupfer, Jim Bernheisel and Campbell. The consolation race went to Jim Yoder.

Mark Watkins took the lead at the start of the 20-lap 305 sprint main with Kody Lehman in tow.

Logan Wagner started eighth in the field and was already up to third on just the first circuit.

Wagner was second a lap later and when a caution flag regrouped the field with four laps complete, it was all he needed to take control.

The second-generation driver made virtually all his passes skating around the top groove of the racetrack and was never heeded at the front of the field.

It was his third career 305 sprint win at the oval.

Watkins finished a strong second, as did Lehman in third.

Fourth and fifth went to Tyler Bear and Lance Newlin, respectively.

Sixth through 10th went to Roger Irvine, Eric Parker, Jason Bergstresser, Ed Newhauser and Ian Detweiler.

Heats for the 32 car field went to Paul Snyder, Mike Wagner II., Lehman and Watkins with Shawn Kirkpatrick taking the consolation race.