Rine’s visit to Port Royal rewarding

PORT ROYAL – Chad Layton finally put a bright spot into his season of struggles aboard his No. 7 sprint car when he found his way to victory lane at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night to claim his first win of the year anywhere.

In the 25-lap late model championship event Jeff Rine invaded and picked up the $2,000 win after trailing Port Royal point leader Mike Lupfer for the first half of the race.

And in the 355 econo late model main Tim Krape picked up his first win in the new division at the track.

Polesitter Mike Wagner held off Layton’s attempt at taking control on the start of the 25-lap 410 sprint car main and pulled away early with Layton falling in line second.

Harrisonville’s Wagner, in a fight for his third career track title, entered the backmarkers on the sixth tour with Layton in tow and Curt Stroup in third.

Sixth starter Greg Hodnett pushed his way into third just shy of the halfway point and that’s about the same time that Layton began closing on the leader.

Wagner struggled with lapped traffic at times as a hectic pace was set around the track and Layton put on a dive deep in the third corner that netted the lead as he slid up and caught to cushion to get control.

The race went nearly non-stop but a caution flag unfurled with just two laps to go for a four-car tangle in the third and fourth turns that saw point leader Blane Heimbach sitting against the outside rail albeit minus a front wheel. Also involved was Scott Wilson, Ryan Taylor and Dylan Cisney.

Wagner tried a slider for the lead on the restart but a clean race between he and Layton allowed Layton to claw his way back in front as the pair raced toward the white flag.

Layton ended up taking the checkers by 1.110 seconds ahead of Wagner with Hodnett crossing third followed by Doug Esh and Stroup.

Heats for the 20-car field went to Hodnett and Stroup. Hodnett set a new 10-lap track record with his run of 2:39.221.

Rine started on the pole of the late model championship and tried to edge out Mike Lupfer for the lead at the start but Lupfer came out on top of a squeeze play by Rine as the pair raced into the first corner to take narrow control of the event.

Running around the cushion, although a change of lane for Lupfer, proved to be working for the Shermansdale speedster as he kept Rine at bay before the caution flag appeared with five laps recorded.

Matt Parks raced third behind the pair for the restart and when action resumed Lupfer continued to keep Rine at bay but during the second half of the event Lupfer began to search around the track looking for a better-suited groove for this yellow racer and a try at the bottom groove was all it took for Rine to blast the top in the second corner and take control with seven laps to go.

A final yellow set up a two-lap dash to the finish but Rine went homefree to the victory by 1.466 seconds ahead of Lupfer, eighth starter Brett Schadel, Parks and 10th starter Coleby Frye.

Heats for the 32-car field went to Wilson, Parks, Flickinger and Rine with Mitch Hack claiming the consolation race. Fast time was set by Rine with a lap of 18.412 seconds.

Krape wired the field for the 15-lap econo late victory and took over the point lead in the division with the scratch of three-time winner Andrew Yoder from the event.

The Bellefonte driver withstook a trio of restarts to keep the win.

Todd Snook advanced from mid pack to finish second with Eric Irvin in third followed by Troy Miller and Jared Fulkroad.

Heats for the 23-car field went to Lucas Bryner, Snook and Krape.