Dietrich leads last laps, takes checkers
Flinner gets second win; Hart rebounds
PORT ROYAL — Danny Dietrich took the lead on lap 20 and went on to win the 25-lap sprint car feature Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway.
Dietrich, who could race closer to his Gettysburg home on Saturday nights, wants to get faster at Port Royal for the prestigious Bob Weikert Memorial at the end of May.
The unique trophy for the Weikert race is shaped like the head of a bull because of the family’s livestock business, plus the features on May 25 and 26 both pay $10,000 to win.
“We want to win a bull,” Dietrich said. “That’s about a month away. That’s why we’re here. We’re coming back to hopefully get better and better for the big races ahead of us.”
Although he won the feature, it was still a learning experience.
“We weren’t set up for track to get quite that slick,” Dietrich said. “We’re here to get better and part of that is reading this race track and we struggle with that every now and then. I think we’re starting to read it better and better except tonight in the A-main.”
George Hobaugh started on the pole and took control over Cory Haas. Dietrich raced from eighth to fourth on the opening lap. Hobaugh led by a straightaway as Dietrich moved up to third when Jared Esh pitted.
The leaders were in heavy lapped traffic, but Hobaugh maintained a good pace while Dietrich and Haas battled for second.
Hobaugh cleared the traffic and had clean air to race in with 10 laps to go. Dietrich was now second and Tyler Reeser was up to third.
Both Dietrich and Reeser closed on the leader who reached slower traffic again. Dietrich tried to take the lead, but couldn’t make the pass and then got pressure from Reeser. He regrouped and made the winning pass in turn one.
“It should have been quicker,” he said referring to taking the lead. “I wasn’t tight enough to capitalize on some of those lapped car situations. Eventually, we did, I think mainly just on experience of getting laps here compared to a guy like Cory Haas or George Hobaugh.”
Reeser’s great run came to an end when he hit the second turn fence getting a flat right front tire. This brought out the yellow.
Former track champion Brock Zearfoss and Hobaugh swapped second on the restart before Zearfoss secured the spot. Steve Buckwalter, who started 10th, passed Hobaugh for third.
Mike Wagner slowed on the front stretch with a broken right rear with one lap remaining.
This set-up the restart as Zearfoss blasted under Dietrich racing into turn one. He nearly completed the slider but got a little too high off the second turn allowed Dietrich to drive back by.
“I had a really good car,” Zearfoss said. “I needed a little bit more time and a little bit more wing. We were a little too tight at the end. We still had a chance. I didn’t want to pull the slider in that corner, I wanted to stay with him, but that was my only chance. I almost pulled it off. I needed a little more grip on the exit there. I wasn’t in the race track enough. It’s really good to start running good here. We’ve been struggling a little bit. I’m really excited to get going on the road.”
Dietrich scored the $3,600 win by .364 over Zearfoss, Buckwalter, Hobaugh and Haas. AJ Flick, Logan Wagner, Blane Heimbach, Dylan Cisney and T.J. Stutts rounded out the top 10.
Heat races for the 30 cars were won by Reeser, Esh and Mike Wagner with Gerard McIntyre Jr. winning the consolation.
Colton Flinner, who lives in Allison Park near Pittsburgh, grabbed the lead on lap two from Trent Brenneman and held off Dylan Yoder en route to winning the 25-lap main event for the super late models. It was his second career Port Royal win.
Flinner built a big lead, but sixth starter Yoder closed in lapped traffic. Yoder tried a last lap slider in turns three and four, but couldn’t clear the pass settling for second.
Kyle Hardy, Jeff Rine and Michael Maresca completed the top five. Kyle Lee, Nick Dickson, Trent Brenneman, Dillan Stake and Ralph Morgan rounded out the top 10.
One week after a tech violation cost him a victory, Port Royal’s Devin Hart was back in limited late model victory lane with no controversy. He took the lead on lap 11 from Troy Miller.
Andrew Yoder, Miller, Ryan Zook and Dillan Stake completed the top five. Kenny Yoder, Chase Bowsman, Shaun Miller, Todd Snook and Devin Frey rounded out the top 10.
Brad Mitch won the extreme stock feature.
A rain shower delayed the program by about two hours.