Port Royal set to host first of two events

Sentinel file photo
Lucas Wolfe is out to defend his Speedweek championship and has high hopes of turning things around at Port Royal Speedway tonight.

PORT ROYAL –The Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek series begins its second half tonight at Port Royal Speedway.

In fact, the big half-mile “Speed Palace” in Junita County will host two of the final five Speedweek races with the track’s second Speedweek event being held Saturday night.

The Speedweek main events will be 30 laps in distance and pay $7,000 to the winner.

The 360 sprints will join the Speedweek 410’s tonight and the Route 35 Super Late Model series is part of the program Saturday night.

Mechanicsburg’s Lucas Wolfe is the defending Speedweek champion and owns two Port Royal Speedweek wins.

“I always look forward to going down the stretch,” said Wolfe, who finished fourth Monday night at Lincoln Speedway. “You can get rolling in the second half here, have some good results, and make some good money. It’s a great way to finish Speedweek. I’ve been fortunate enough to do that a couple times and that gives you momentum for the second half of the year.”

Wolfe’s confidence is high heading into Port Royal, where he won Speedweek races in 2014 and 2016 and the track championship in 2014.

“We love going to Port Royal,” Wolfe said. “They’ve done a very good job there. It’s very racy. We had a good weekend there at the Weikert weekend. They have a lot of big events moving through the year even past Speedweek. It would be good to have two good nights there this week.”

Wolfe, a three-time Speedweek champion, had a pair of fourth place finishes to start Speedweek and some tough luck as well.

“It’s been a little bit strange,” he said. “We didn’t have near the pace needed last night at Path Valley. We were reasonably competitive here Saturday and I was okay Friday, everybody was about the same, there wasn’t too much going on, but unfortunately ended up with a flat tire and gave up a little of ground there. I think we have the ability to have as good of pace as anybody. We just have to do our job and make it happen.”

Lance Dewease won the Port Royal Speedweek race last season as the other scheduled race was rained out. Dewease and Wolfe were Port Royal winners two years ago. Steve Buckwalter won in 2015 and Wolfe in 2014. Blane Heimbach won in 2013, Tyler Walker in 2012 and Justin Henderson in 2011. Greg Hodnett won three straight including 2009, 2010 and the first race of 2011. Jeff Shepard was the first Port Royal Speedweek winner back in 1998. The “Man from Mifflintown” Keith Kauffman owns four Speedweek wins at his old home track.

The series wraps up with races at Hagerstown (Md.) Thursday night followed by the $10,000 to win Mitch Smith Memorial at Williams Grove Speedway Friday night before heading back to Port Royal Saturday. Speedweek concludes Sunday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.

Of note:

¯NASCAR drivers in attendance Monday night at Lincoln included Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart.

¯The Speedweek points — following Monday night at Lincoln –are very close as all the top drivers have had trouble at least once this week.

¯Trey Starks — who opened Speedweek with a win at Williams Grove — leads the points by only 17 (464-447) over four-time Speedweek champion Greg Hodnett. Danny Dietrich, who swept the Lincoln races, is four points back of Hodnett. Dietrich won the Speedweek title two years ago. Freddie Rahmer, who finished second at Path Valley, is 10 points behind Dietrich. Wolfe is fifth in points, but only 34 points out of the lead.

¯Brock Zearfoss, Rico Abreu, Chad Trout, Gerard McIntyre Jr., and Jim Siegel round out the top-10 scorers.

¯Drivers earn points every time they hit the track including qualifying time trials, heat races, and of course the main events. The series champion earns $5,000 if all 10 races are completed.

¯The Speedweek series raced at Grandview Speedway, near Pottstown, Tuesday night, but due to the holiday’s early deadline, results were not available upon time of press.