Sweigart’s late gains good for checkers

Sentinel photo by TIM SHUMAKER
Nick Sweigart (8) takes the outside past Christian Rumsey (1R) and Larry McVay (83) on his way to winning the eighth annual Keystone RaceSaver Challenge for 305 sprints Saturday at Port Royal.

PORT ROYAL — Nick Sweigart went from third to first on the final lap to win the Keystone RaceSaver Challenge for the 305 sprint cars Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway.

As Zach Newlin and Doug Dodson raced for the lead, Sweigart, who started 12th, make a three-wide pass blasting into the lead off turn two.

Newlin gave it one final shot with a slider in turns three and four, but it was Sweigart blasting off the top of turn four beating Newlin back to the line by .862 seconds for his second Port Royal win of the season, earning more than $1,100 with bonus money.

“It all played out there on the last lap,” Sweigart said. “Those guys ran a hell of a race the entire race. They were trying their best and I was sitting back there in third and could see what I needed to do. It all worked out.”

“I thought I could slide him back in three and four, but I didn’t have enough to get in front of him,” Newlin said. “He must have drove one hell of a race because he pulled 12. It was my race to lose and I lost it.”

After trading the lead with Newlin, Dodson settled for third.

“That was a lot of fun,” Dodson said. “It’s tough to end up third, but racing and dicing and running close, I’m grinning to be a part of it. It’s great to be this competitive here for such a big race.”

Newlin controlled the race after immediately taking the lead from his second starting spot.

Third starter Doug Dodson closed in on Newlin when they started lapping cars. Sweigart, meanwhile, was pounding the top advancing forward from his 12th starting spot.

Sweigart, of Myerstown, took third with 10 laps to go and quickly closed on the top two.

“I didn’t know how lapped traffic was going to play out,” Sweigart said. “I knew we were right there. We just needed something to go our way. I definitely had the car. The crew had it hooked up. It all panned out. This is awesome. This one was on my bucket list.”

Newlin appeared headed for victory until the only yellow of the 25-lap feature flew with three laps to go.

Dodson and Newlin swapped the lead at each end of the speedway following the restart. Sweigart waited patiently in third until the final lap when he made the winning move beating Newlin and Dodson.

Garrett Bard and Christian Rumsey completed the top five.

National RaceSaver Champion, Pennsylvania State Champion, and Pennsylvania Sprint Series Champion Ken Duke Jr., of Selinsgrove, raced from the 21st starting spot to finish sixth earning the Hard Charger Award. He’s also the Port Royal point leader in the class.

“We were not good earlier tonight,” Duke said. “In the heat race, I screwed up on the start. I made so many mistakes and it put us behind the eight ball. We got it going a little bit in the B-main. I knew we’d be good in the feature, but I didn’t know we’d be that good. I wish there was a few more cautions. I’ll take it — 21st to sixth at Port Royal in biggest race of the year against the best competition in the country. I’ll take that any day.”

Kevin Adams, Kevin Nagy, Jeff Geiges and Jaremi Hanson rounded out the top 10.

Dodson set overall quick time with a lap of 18.782 seconds. Heat races for the 50 cars were won by Nagy, Rumsey, Sweigart, Statler, Kepner and Scott Frack. Kyle Keen and Devin Adams won the twin B-mains.

Kassidy Kreitz took the lead from Drew Ritchey on the final lap to win the Founder’s Cup race for the 305 non-qualifiers. Ritchey led the first 14 laps before Kreitz’s inside move coming off turn four. Jay Krout, Justin Clark and Wally Eshenaur completed the top five.

In the 25-lap feature for the Mason-Dixon limited late models, it was track champion Andrew Yoder dominating the event for his seventh win of the season. He earned $1,500. Devin Hart, Justin Weaver, Dillan Stake and Chad Myers completed the top five. Trent Brenneman, Shawn Shoemaker, James Lichliter, Derick Garman and Ryan Zook rounded out the top 10.

Brad Mitch won the 15-lap extreme stock feature after taking the lead from Pete Leister. Brandon Moser, Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Imes completed the top five.

Eric Boozel won the 15-lap main event for the four-cylinder pure stocks. Adam Campbell, Justin Williamson, Tim Campbell and Ricky Weaver Jr. completed the top five.