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Pittman returns to victory lane

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Zach Hampton takes a nasty flip in the third heat of 410 sprint car action Friday night at Port Royal Speedway.

PORT ROYAL — Daryn Pittman retired from full-time sprint car racing in 2021, but he didnít forget how to get around Port Royal Speedway.

Pittman, of Owasso, Okla., earned $10,000 for his Night Before the 50 victory Friday night in the Kevin and Jordan Swindell No. 39. It was only Pittmanís 15th race of the season. It was his third career victory at Port Royal.

ìCautions played into our favor tonight,î Pittman said.ìI thought the top was going to give up and the middle would come in like it normally does here. Not getting into traffic helped me stay in clean air and realize the lapped cars weren’t doing anything in the middle or the bottom.

ìI felt really good for three or four laps after every caution. We made a few adjustments. Kevinís been doing a great job and this car has been fun to drive. Itís great to run solid last night and come back and win on a completely different track tonight.î

Pittman started on the pole and raced into the lead to start the 30-lap feature. Cory Eliason and Lucas Wolfe swapped the second spot and Anthony Macri raced into fourth.

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Anthony Macri and Rico Abreu collide and spin together while running third and fourth in the 410 sprint car feature Friday night at Port Royal Speedway.

Ryan Smith stopped in turn four bringing out the yellow flag with two laps completed.

Eliason looked inside of Pittman for the lead on the restart, but Eliason had too much momentum off the top.

Macri blasted under Wolfe taking third and almost got Macri as well, but couldnít clear him off turn four.

Wolfe and Macri traded the spot again in turns one and two and then Rico Abreu grabbed a spot from Wolfe.

Eliason closed on the leader as they reached the tail of the field. He blasted under him entering turn three. Pittman turned his car back inside Eliason taking the lead back as they raced off turn four.

Abreu and Macri made contact in turn two causing both to spin bringing out the yellow with nine laps completed. Both restarted at the back.

Eliason tried the slider again on the restart, but couldnít clear Pittman in turn two. Wolfe and Eliason once again traded the runner-up spot as Pittman slowly pulled away.

The yellow flew again with 13 laps completed.

Eliason gave it another shot in one and two on the restart. He slid a bit high allowing Wolfe to get by down the backstretch. Wagner and Gio Scelzi got by as well.

Pittman slowly pulled away as the racing was very close between the next four drivers.

Eliason climbed the fourth turn fence, collapsing the front end. The car dug into the ground sending him into a wicked flip over the fourth turn fence and into the catch fence. He climbed out of the car and walked back to the pit area.

Pittman led Wolfe and Wagner for the restart with nine laps to go.

Wolfe tried a first turn slider but couldnít make the pass. Pittman streaked away after that. Scelzi raced by Wagner for third spot and Brian Brown moved into fifth.

Pittmanís final margin of victory was 1.462 seconds over Wolfe and Scelzi.

ìWe never really got into traffic, so it was clear sailing for the leader and I had to fend off a few guys throughout,î Wolfe said. ìIt was a good night for us and weíre happy with it.î

ìI needed a green flag runî Scelzi said. ìThose cautions killed me.î

Wagner and Brown completed the top five. Lance Dewease raced from 22nd to sixth. Justin Peck, Sye Lynch, Spencer Bayston and Brent Marks rounded out the top 10.

Harrisonvilleís Wagner locked up his fourth straight sprint car track championship joining Keith Kauffman as the only drivers in speedway history to win four straight. Kauffman did it from 1978-1981. Wagner drives the John and PeeWee Zemaitis, Zemco No. 1.

Wolfe set quick time over the 55-car field with a lap of 15.810 seconds. Pittman, AJ Flick, Dylan Cisney, Sye Lynch and Rico Abreu won the heat races. Justin Whittall won the B-main.

Brent Marks won the 30-lap sprint car feature Thursday night earning $8,000. Bill Balog, Daryn Pittman, Cory Eliason and AJ Flick completed the top five. Lynton Jeffrey, Rico Abreu, Aaron Reutzel, Brian Brown and Lucas Wolfe rounded out the top 10.

Jason Covert won the 25-lap late model feature. Dylan Yoder, Andy Haus, Gary Stuhler and Jeff Rine completed the top five, which allowed Yoder to eek out the late-model season championship. Colton Flinner, Chad Myers, Tim Smith Jr., Jim Yoder and Andrew Wylie rounded out the top 10.

Tonight is the 54th Annual Tuscarora 50 paying $54,000 to win the 50-lap sprint car feature.

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