Seven Port Royal racers take home weekend titles
PORT ROYAL – Of all the big winners at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night including Mike Erdley and Doug Esh in 410 sprints and Coleby Frye and Mike Lupfer in late models, nobody took more money home from the track than the winner of the 50/50 from Middletown, Pennsylvania, who pocketed over $5,600 during the fan-friendly event.
Including the grandstands and infield areas, a near capacity crowd of thousands crowded into the speedway on Free Fan Appreciation Night, backing up traffic along access routes into the borough of Port Royal upon their arrival to watch seven exciting features that also saw Mark Watkins and Eric Parker split 305 sprint features and Bill Powell claim xtreme stocks.
Erdley ended up winning the make-up Fallen Heroes Championship 410 sprint feature worth $5,000 after the race restarted with nine laps recorded, picking up where it was rained out back on May 24.
His victory was a hard fought and exciting one as he was passed early after the resumption of action by Rick Lafferty only to reclaim the spot with a crossover lane change in the fourth corner as the pair raced back to the stripe.
Erdley began opening up a comfortable advantage in the affair as eyes turned to Lucas Wolfe, who restarted fourth in the field but came to life as the race got to the halfway point.
Wolfe took second from Lafferty with seven laps to go in the 25-lapper and ran down Erdley’s lead by the final lap in order to get the fans out of their seats for the checkered flag.
Wolfe raced just off Erdley’s rear bumper down the backchute on the final circuit before putting on a swoop deep in the third corner that netted him the lead.
Just as he had done earlier after the restart with Lafferty, as Wolfe slid up the track and took the lead, Erdley hit the binders and turned the car off of the cushion to drive back underneath Wolfe as the pair headed for the final flag in order to reclaim control and the victory by about a quarter of a second margin.
Wolfe, Lafferty, Blane Heimbach and Davey Sammons rounded out the top five.
The May 3rd 410 sprint make-up also went down to the end with Rodney Westhafer and Justin Barger on the front row.
When the green flag dropped fourth starter Davey Sammons put on a run out of the second corner that saw him blast underneath Westhafer in the third turn only to loose control of the car and back it into the outside fence before turning over.
Westhafer took command when action resumed with sixth starter Curt Stroup muscling to the front early, taking second immediately ahead of Barger.
Meanwhile, seventh starter Esh went to the outside cushion and rocketed through the field and was up to fourth with five down in the race as fifth starter Mike Wagner honed in for the lead.
Wagner took control of the event on the seventh tour as Esh continued his assault on the pack, taking third with eight in the books and then second a lap later.
Wagner proved to be tougher to handle for Esh, who dogged the Port Royal veteran for numerous laps as the race waged through the backmarkers.
With eight laps to go Esh finally caught Wagner and using his skillful prowess around the outside of the track he blasted in to the lead on the 18th tour to never look back enroute to the popular win worth $3,000.
Wagner settled for second followed by Lafferty, 16th starter Blane Heimbach and Stroup.
Frye led every lap of the 25-lap Fallen Heroes Championship for the super late models after starting second on the field.
He entered the back of the pack on the eighth lap and worked through traffic easily.
Andy Haus was running second when the first of two caution flags fell on the field with 17 laps down.
Another restart with just two laps to go regrouped the field but Frye was too stout for the field, taking the $2,000 victory for his second in a row in the Fallen Heroes race for the late models.
Haus rode home second with a fine run for Dave Zona placing him third followed by 10th starter Tim Wilson and Nick Dickson.
Matt Parks threatened to dominate the May 3 make-up late model main, starting second in the field but point leader Mike Lupfer had other ideas.
Although Parks got away during the first half of the 20-lap race, Lupfer took second with five in the books and then slowly and steadily reeled him in to contest for the lead.
It took until there were just six laps left for the Shermansdale driver to get inside Parks in the second turn.
Once the bottom was cleared for Lupfer he rode the money lane down low to the victory, pulling away to the finish over Parks.
After starting 18th in the field, Tim Smith Jr. put on a clinic to finish a third followed by polesitter Mitch Hack and Tim Fedder.
Mark Watkins wired the field for the victory in the Fallen Heroes Championship for the 305 sprints, withstanding a pounding assault from Tyler Bear for the lead.
Bear took second with 11 laps to go and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Watkins, who proved to be unshakable to the finish.
Bear, Anthony Fiore, Jeff Miller Jr. and 22nd starter Mike Wagner II., completed the top five.
Eric Parker wired for his 305 feature win as well.
Tyler Bear started eighth in the main and drove into second with six laps left in the 20 lapper but soon withdrew from the event, letting Parker have it all his way to the finish.
Jeff Miller Jr. was second followed by Nathan Gramley, Ken Duke and 10th starter Mark Watkins.
The 15-lap xtreme stock feature closed the night with Bill Powell taking his second win of the season in the division but only after a volley of misfortunes altered the outcome of the race.
Early leader Deron Henry fell back on the sixth lap when Matt Wampler took over at the helm but then along came 11th starter Corey Kepner, who stormed to the front, taking the lead with only two laps to go.
Just after Kepner was scored the leader the red flag appeared for Henry, who flipped his car in the second turn.
Under the stoppage, Kepner withdrew from the race, handing the lead and eventual win over to Powell with Wampler ending up second followed by Bob Bussey, Mike Goodwin and Tyler Amtower.
A power outage effecting the frontstretch and first turn lighting delayed the show after the first three features were completed, forcing an approximate one hour before the final four main events could be completed.