First-year 410 sprint driver Miller wins at Port Royal
PORT ROYAL — Jeff Miller isn’t even halfway through his first season racing 410 sprint cars at Port Royal Speedway and he’s already a feature event winner.
Miller, a former 305 sprint car champion at the track, took the lead from Justin Whittall early in the 25-lap main event, and then held off former track champion Lucas Wolfe, scoring an improbable win in only his seventh start in the most powerful of sprint cars.
“I started racing go-karts when I was 5,” Miller said. “This is always what I wanted to do. I can’t believe it happened this early. I seen Lucas there and I thought I made it this far I’m not going to give it up yet. This is my first year in this deal. I just starting adjusting the wing which helped me out. I just can’t believe it.”
The learning curve is steep between the two sprint car divisions.
“After warm-ups, I came in and talked to Dad and he said ‘what do you think we should do?’ and I said ‘I don’t have a clue to be honest with you,'” Miller said. “And later tonight, we’re standing up here.”
The 410 winner’s circle is tough to crack sometimes, especially for rookies with less than 10 starts.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people helping us. It’s a family deal. This is a tough deal, but we made it. Every week, we’re learning. This is a dream come true.”
Dustin Baney flipped in turn two on the initial start. His car was pushed back to the pits.
Whittall started on the pole and grabbed the race lead over second-starting Miller and Jared Esh.
Miller, of Huntingdon, caught and passed Whittall as they completed lap 6. Esh passed Whittall for second.
Meanwhile, Wolfe was making his way forward from his eighth starting spot. The racing was three-wide between Blane Heimbach, Wolfe and TJ Stutts.
Miller led by more than two seconds with 10 laps completed. He began lapping slower cars as Wolfe took fourth.
Esh began to cut into Miller’s lead as Wolfe took third from Whittall and then second from Esh.
With seven laps to go, Wolfe was 2.3 seconds back, but he caught the leader with a few laps left.
Wolfe ducked under Miller in both sets of corners, but couldn’t get by as Miller kept his momentum up around the cushion.
Wolfe’s last lap bid came up short as Miller held him off on the final lap earning $3,600 for the win.
Heimbach, Esh, and Dylan Cisney completed the top five. Stutts, Logan Wagner, Mike Wagner, Whittall and Ryan Taylor rounded out the top 10.
Heat races for the 18 cars were won by Cisney and Wolfe.
305 sprint cars
Ken Duke Jr. started second and grabbed the lead in the 20-lap feature for the 305 sprints.
Duke, of Selinsgrove, controlled two early-race restarts with Jonathan Jones remaining close in second.
He reached slower traffic with six laps to go allowing Jones to close. Duke was on the bottom and Jones pounding the top.
A pass of a slower car coming for the white flag secured Duke’s second Port Royal win of the season and fourth overall with the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Series.
“The car was really great,” Duke said. “We missed it a little bit in the heat race. The track slicked-off a little faster than I thought. We fixed that for the feature. Luckily, the rain held off.
“Starting up front means everything. That’s the race right there. (The engine builder) did an amazing job on this engine. It took off right at the start. Some of those lapped cars were making me nervous, but somehow we got around them. Actually, when I moved up to go around the lapped cars, the car actually worked a little bit better. I can’t believe it. We tried for years to win races here and now we win two out of the first three. It’s amazing.”
Jones finished second for the third time. Roger Irvine came up to third with Dodson and Adams completing the top five. John Scarborough, Jaremi Hanson, John Fiore, Jake Frye and Zach Newlin, who started last, rounded out the top 10.
Heat races for the 41 cars were won by Adams, Scott Ellerman, Sweigart and Dodson. Cale Reigle and Ron Aurand won the consolations.
Super late models
Dover’s Gene Knaub won the 25-lap late model feature over a hard-charging Dylan Yoder. Knaub started third and took the lead from polesitter Tim Wilson on lap 13 and pulled away, but point leader and seventh starter Yoder closed over the final laps. It was Knaub’s second career track win and worth $2,000. Yoder, Wilson, Gary Stuhler and Mike Lupfer completed in the top five in the non-stop event.
Heat races for the 18 cars were won by Knaub and Dillon Stake.
Sprint Car Feature (25 laps): 1. Jeff Miller. 2. Lucas Wolfe. 3. Blane
Heimbach. 4. Jared Esh. 5. Dylan Cisney. 6. TJ Stutts. 7. Logan
Wagner. 8. Mike Wagner. 9. Justin Whittall. 10. Ryan Taylor. 11. AJ
Flick. 12. Tyler Reeser. 13. Adrian Shaffer. 14. Joey Hershey. 15.
Cory Thornton. 16. Trenton Sheaffer. 17. Tyler Bear. 18. Dustin Baney.
305 Sprints (20 laps): 1. Ken Duke Jr. 2. Jonathan Jones. 3. Roger
Irvine. 4. Doug Dodson. 5. Devin Adams. 6. John Scarborough. 7. Jaremi
Hanson. 8. John Fiore. 9. Jake Frye. 10. Zach Newlin. 11. Cale Reigle.
12. Scott Ellerman. 13. Jake Waters. 14. Ron Aurand. 15. Jimmy White
16. Dave Wickham. 17. Mike Wenrick. 18. Erin Statler. 19. Jay Krout.
20. Nick Sweigart. 21. Nathan Gramley. 22. Dave Grube. 23. Wally
Eshenaur. 24. Ryan Lynn.
Late Model Feature (25 laps): 1. Gene Knaub. 2. Dylan Yoder. 3. Tim
Wilson. 4. Gary Stuhler. 5. Mike Lupfer. 6. Colton Finner. 7. Nick
Dickson. 8. Dillon Stake. 9. Dave Zona. 10. Austin Berry. 11. Chad
Myers. 12. Glenn Elliott. 13. Trent Brenneman. 14. Scott Flickinger.
15. Rance Garlock. 16 Nathan Lasalle. 17. Andy Haus. DNS: Chris