PORT ROYAL, PA – Jeff Halligan utilized some timely restarts and took advantage of other drivers bad luck to bring home his first Weikert’s Livestock 410 Sprint Car victory at Port Royal Speedway in 2021.
The win was the second of the young up and coming drivers career at the Juniata County oval and was worth $4000. Logan Wagner, Dylan Cisney, Jared Esh and Mike Wagner rounded out the top five.
“We were stumbling really bad on the starts and it’s something we need to fix, but It just must’ve been our night tonight,” said Halligan. “I just can’t thank all of my sponsors and crew enough. We’ve been trying so hard to get this car dialed in and we kind of took advantage some others misfortunes and I’m just so happy to be here.”
Tyler Walton and Western Pennsylvania invader George Hobaugh lined up on the front row for the 25-lpa feature and it was Walton getting the early jump on the field. Ryan Smith and Halligan, who started fifth and sixth, were early movers as the pair sat third and fourth at the completion of lap one.
Walton built up more than a two second advantage over Hobaugh by lap five, but by lap seven Hobaugh had chipped away nearly a full second on the leader. The following lap Walton closed in on lapped traffic and Hobaugh continued to chip away at the lead with Smith in tow.
However, Smith’s night came to an end three laps later when he slowed on the front stretch while running third with driveline issues to bring out the caution.
Hobaugh threw a slider on Walton entering turn one on the restart and briefly took the lead exiting turn two, but Walton powered back by down the backstretch. The battled opened up the door for Halligan, as he capitalized on Hobaugh’s lost momentum to pull even with the runner-up spot at the line the following lap. He moved into the second position officially one lap later and Cisney followed suit two laps later to move into a podium spot.
Walton looked to be in control, but his hopes of getting his first career 410 Sprint Car victory came to an end with eight laps to go when he slowed exiting turn four when his vision was blocked as a result of mechanical issues with his hood.
The bad luck inherited the lead for Halligan, who was looking to finish two spots better than he did last weekend a the track.
“You know we seemed to be in the right place at the right time all night as I saw Ryan drop off and then Tyler had his issue and I was just hoping we weren’t next,” said Halligan. “I knew those guys behind me were going to be all over me after that, so I was just hoping the motor stumbles didn’t cost us a chance there.”
When Halligan’s motor stumbled on the start, Cisney threw a wild slider entering turn one and he briefly held the lead before Halligan crossed back under down the backstretch. The two again exchanged the lead in turn’s three and four, but it was Halligan again holding the lead with seven to go.
The two continued to jockey for position over the next two laps, with Halligan using every inch given to him to sneak back by for the lead each lap. It appeared Halligan may have finally gotten enough space between him and Cisney to go into cruise control with five laps remaining, but the final caution of the event flew one lap later when fourth-place running Hobaugh slowed in turn four with a flat tire.
CIsney tried a slider again on the restart, but again Halligan used the top side to pull ahead down the backstretch. The move opened the door for eighth-place starter Logan Wagner to enter the picture and over the next three laps Cisney and Wagner waged war for the runner-up spot.
With one to go, Wagner was able to capture the second spot officially, but it was too late as Halligan was off to the races. He crossed under the checkered flag by 2.690 seconds to earn the victory aboard his family owned No. 45 sprinter.
“It always seems that I’m racing with Dylan for the lead and it’s never easy. He had a couple shots at me and I went down to three and four to block him and I thought it was a mistake, but it must not have been as I didn’t see him again in one,” said Halligan. “I never have to worry about racing any of these guys racing us clean and hard and he gave me a lane. Was it exactly one lane? Yes, but it was enough and that was a lot of fun.”
For Wagner, it was yet another runner-up finish in what has been an extremely consistent season for the three-time defending track champion.
“We had a pretty hard fought run with Cisney at the end, but we were just picking cars off there early and taking advantage of restarts,” he said. “Halligan had a really good car and hats off to him. This is like the fourth or fifth time this year we’ve run second and I feel like it’s my home up here. We just need to venture a few feet forward and be in victory lane more.”
For third-place finisher Cisney, he needed to get to clean air earlier to be able to capitalize on the speed of his car.
“I think we had the best car, but I just couldn’t quite make it stick when we needed it,” said Cisney. “That’s tough racing out there. It’s inch to inch and it’s not a great spot to be in trying to make a move for the lead, but we’ll take a third and go onto next weekend.”
Blane Heimbach, AJ Flick, Anthony Macri, Gerard McIntyre and Justin Whittall rounded out the top ten. Flick was the recipient of the $1000 J&S Fabrication Warrior Award courtesy of a random draw and McIntyre was the Valley Supply Hard Charger by advancing 10 positions form his 19th starting spot.
410 Sprint Car Results- 1. Jeff Halligan 2. Logan Wagner 3. Dylan Cisney 4. Jared Esh 5. Mike Wagner 6. Blane Heimbach 7. AJ Flick 8. Anthony Macri 9. Gerard McIntyre 10. Justin Whittall 11. Pat Cannon 12. Kody Lehman 13. Tyler Reeser 14. Curt Stroup 15. Trenton Sheaffer 16. George Hobaugh 17. Tyler Walton 18. Tyler Bear 19. Ryan Smith 20. Drew Ritchey 21. Mike Walter II
Super Late Models
Austin Berry may still be catching his breath after an absolute barn burner took place in the River Valley Builders Super Late Model division Saturday night. Berry held on for dear life and outlasted Trevor Feathers, Colton Flinner and Gary Stuhler to earn his first career Super Late Model feature win of any kind at the Port Royal Speedway.
“You’ve got the Dream going on at Eldora and you show up at Port Royal for a regular $3000 to win show and there is 33 of the best cars in the country in the pits,” said Berry. “We live 10 minutes from this place and we probably would have won one of these things sooner if we went somewhere else. My dad and I always said if we were going to do this and win, we wanted to race against the best and that’s why we keep coming here is to be the best.”
Chris Casner and Berry lined up on the front row for the feature and it was Berry getting the jump on the field early. Eighth-place starter Feathers was on the move form the start, as he settled into fourth three laps later.
Berry held a two second advantage over runner-up Donnie Lingo on lap five, but all eyes were on the rim riding of Feathers as he moved into third on lap six. With the top three drivers utilizing the top of the track, 10th-place starter Stuhler was creeping through the field slowly on the bottom and he moved into fourth with 16 laps to go.
One lap later the first caution of the event flew when Ross Robinson got turned around in turn one. Utilizing Delaware restarts, Lingo chose the bottom of the Speedway and that opened the door for Feathers to move into the second spot on the restart.
He pulled alongside of Berry on the backstretch as well, but couldn’t muster by the leader and he settled into the runner-up position. Meanwhile, it was Flinner putting on a show as he went form ninth to fourth on the restart.
Flinner got by Stuhler for third one lap later and the front four competitors were all under a blanket when the caution flew for Robinson again, who slowed with mechanical issues in turn three.
While under caution, Finner was docked two positions as it was deemed he had jumped the start on the prior restart.
When the field returned to green, Berry again took off with the lead. Feathers tried ti dive bomb him for the lead entering turn three, but Berry was able to power ahead exiting turn four to lead the lap. Feathers tried the bottom again in one and two, only for Berry to power away again with 11 to go.
Berry remained within striking distance of both Feathers and Stuhler and the trio appeared destined to break away form the field when the caution flew for a Glenn Elliot spin in turn four with eight laps remaining.
The restart proved beneficial for Stuhler, as he crept under Feathers to move into the runner up spot. Meanwhile, Flinner was back for more as he used a vicious slide job to go from seventh to fourth with seven to go.
Feathers and Stuhler ran side by side just behind Berry over the next two laps, while Flinner was in heavy pursuit just behind the pair. All four leaders used every inch of the Speedway and with three to go, Flinner cut through the middle of both Stuhler and Feathers go to second.
Feathers took the spot back down the backstretch and again set his sights on Berry. Flinner again cut through the middle in turn’s one and two to pull alongside of Berry exiting two and Berry got into the outside guardrail attempting to thwart the move.
He was able to pull ahead down the backstretch to remain in the lead and Feathers used the bottom in turn’s three and four to take second back and pull alongside Berry heading to the flagstand.
Feathers on the bottom, Berry in the middle and Flinner on the extreme high side entered turn one on the final circuit and Feathers held the lead by a nose exiting turn two. However Berry took the spot back down the backstretch. All the while, Stuhler was lurking just behind the three waiting for an opportunity.
Flinner got a run on the high side exiting turn four and got into the rear of Berry, who slid up trying to hold off Feathers. The three drag raced to the finish line, with Berry holding on for his first victory by a mere .169 seconds. The distance form first to fourth was only .639 seconds total. Jamie Lathroum rounded out the top-five.
“That was unbelievable and the hardest 25 laps I have ever drove around this place. I am absolutely worn out,” said Berry. “Handicap allowed us to start up front and I think that kind of shows what we can do. It’s cool to start sixth or eighth and win a race, but I don’t care if I start a hald lap ahead of everyone and win a race, if I win here I win.”
For Flinner, it was the starting spot that was the biggest difference.
“We won our heat and ended up starting eighth and I didn’t know how we were going to be in the feature,” he said. “I had a really good car, but I needed a little more clean air to truly get him. With a few more laps I might have figured it out, but he did a good job and got the win.”
Super Late Model Results- 1. Austin Berry 2. Trevor Feathers 3. Colton Flinner 4. Gary Stuhler 5. Jamie Lathroum 6. Jeff Rine 7. Donald Lingo Jr. 8. Dillan Stake 9. Nick Dickson 10. Tyler Bare 11. Mike Lupfer 12. Hayes Mattern 13. Andy Huas 14. Dylan Yoder 15. Chad Myers 16. Brett Schadel 17. Scott Flickinger 18. Kirk Baker 19. Deshawn Gingerich 20. Glenn Elliott 21. Ross Robinson 22. Chris Casner 23. Trent Brenneman 24. Chad Julius
PA Sprint Series
Derek Hauck used a lap 14pass on Garrett Bard to score his first Penns Valley Meat Market PASS 305 Sprint Car victory of the year of Port Royal Speedway.
Bard, who started third, took the lead form pole sitter Devin Adams on lap two and appeared to be smooth sailing for the victory.
Hauck, who started second, had fallen back early but regained the runner-up position on lap five. He utilized a restart with 12 to go to slide under Bard to take the lead, but Bard took it back in turn’s three and four.
Hauck got his momentum together using the top of the speedway exiting turn four to taker the lead for good with six laps remaining. Hauck crossed under the checkered flag by an advantage of 1.069 seconds over Bard, Domenic Melair, Adams and Kassidy Kreitz.
305 Sprint Cars Results- 1. Derek Hauck 2. Garrett Bard 3. Domenic Melair 4. Devin Adams 5. Kassidy Kreitz 6. Christian Rumsey 7.Dave Grube 8. Jeff Weaver 9. Erin Statler 10. Roger Irvine 11. Rowdy Heffner 12. Nick Sweigart 13. Dustin Young 14. Fred Arnold 15. Will Brunson 16. Austin Reed 17. Doug Dodson 18. Mike Melair 19. Drew Young 20. Mike Alleman 21. John Fiore 22. Jake Waters 23. Paul Moyer 24. Ken Duke 25. Kruz Kepner 26. Mikell McGee