Covert lands 1st at Port Royal
PORT ROYAL – York Haven’s Jason Covert made his first career Port Royal Speedway late model win a big one on Saturday night when he won the annual Butch Renninger Memorial in a Three State Flyers Series event for the division at the track.
Covert took home $3,696 for the victory after leading the final 10 circuits of the event.
In the 410 sprint main it was point leader Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove wiring the field for his fifth win of the year at the oval and expanding his lead in the points with just three full-point races left in the season.
Tim Krape won the Renninger Memorial for pro stocks, while Jason Zook won his second enduro dash of the season.
The 33-lap late model Renninger Memorial started on a rough note when the second attempt at a start saw the backstretch blocked after an eight-car pile up.
Covert started seventh in the field and watched as Huntingdon’s Justin Kann took the lead from the pole when racing finally started with Andy Haus running second.
However, Three State series regular Kenny Pettyjohn, who started eighth, was fleet aboard his black racer and he was already up to second on the second circuit when a restart regrouped the field.
Kann could only hold on two more laps before Pettyjohn took the lead with five down to begin streaking away as he entered the backmarkers on the 12th tour.
Pettyjohn appeared to be headed to a sure victory with 11 laps to go when his right rear tire exploded on the backchute, forcing him to the pits for new treads.
And just before the caution for Pettyjohn’s stopped racer, Covert rallied to surpass Haus for second, which wound up being the winning pass after the leader’s bad luck.
Covert had his hands full with Haus on the restart as the Hamburg driver fought to get the spot back.
Haus got under Covert on the restart and again on a restart with six laps to go, forcing Covert to sit up in the seat to thwart his attacks using outside momentum.
Haus actually got by for the lead on the 29th loop but Covert recovered to preserve the lead at the line. Then late in the event all eyes turned to a rebounding Pettyjohn of Millsboro, Del., who had went to the rear after getting a new tire to come blasting back through the pack.
He passed Matt Parks for third with three laps to go but ran out of time to enter the race for the win.
Covert took the checkers by 1.379 seconds over Haus, Pettyjohn, Parks and Kann.
In victory lane veteran Covert mechanic and car owner Gary Klinedinst dropped a bombshell by announcing his retirement from the sport at the end of the season.
Sixth through 10th went to Brett Schadel, who earned hard charger honors, followed by Waylon Wagner, Mitch Hack, Eric Zembower and Jason Schmidt.
Heats for the 30-car field went to Mark Pettyjohn, Kann, Derek Byler and Haus, with Schadel taking the consolation event.
Fast time was set by Kenny Pettyjohn with a lap of 18.628 seconds.
Heimbach of Selinsgrove led start to finish for the $3,000 win in the 410 sprint feature after an inversion of six put him on the pole for the 25-lapper.
His pace was halted with two laps down and again on lap three, both times with Brent Marks restarting in second.
Heimbach entered the backmarkers with nine laps in the books and by the halfway point he had Doug Esh in third with Lance Dewease in fourth.
Just as it appeared the race was going to end cleanly the red flag appeared with just two to go for Joey Hershey, who had slammed into the outside turn four retaining wall, taking a nasty pounding while bouncing back across the pit entrance.
Dylan Cisney was motivated late and blasted by both Dewease and Marks on the restart to ride home third with Esh just ahead, also having gotten Marks in the final mile of racing.
Dewease was fourth followed by Brian Leppo.
Sixth through 10th went to Marks, Rodney Westhafer, Chad Layton, Mike Wagner and Keith Kauffman.
Heats for the 28-car field went to Dewease, Hershey and Cisney, with Nate Snyder taking the consolation.
Dewease set a new 10-lap track record in his heat run with a time of 2:45.551.
Tim Krape took the lead from Derrick Garman on the fifth lap of the 15-lap pro stock main to win his ninth pro stock main of the year.
Garman rode home second with Kyle Rapp in third.
Heats went to Krape and Rapp.
Devin Hart, Jared Fulkroad and finally Jason Zook led in the 20-lap enduro dash to get the victory.
Zook, who started sixth in the field, took the lead from Fulkroad with three down to hold off Bill Powell during the final laps for the victory.
Fulkroad settled for third with Mark Goodwin fourth and Pete Leiser in fifth.