PORT ROYAL, PA – Danny Dietrich won a thrilling Pennsylvania Speedweek feature at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night, becoming the third and final leader in the 30-lap non-stop affair that saw the top five cars racing within a straightaway of one another for the second half of the rousing event.
In the 25-lap Moon Shine Camo Rt. 35 Dirt Late Model Challenge Series event, Ralph Morgan Jr. of Hill Valley scored the victory worth $2,200 and was also the third and final leader of a crowd-pleasing event.
Polesitter Brock Zearfoss blasted into control at the start of the speedweek feature with Anthony Macri and Greg Hodnett giving chase.
Macri struggled to keep pace with Zearfoss as the race entered traffic on the seventh tour and by lap 13, Hodnett was challenging Macri for the runnerup spot with Dietrich breathing down both of their necks and Lance Dewease lurking in fifth.
As traffic grew increasingly heavy, it became more challenging for Zearfoss and the front-runners to negotiate and the field bunched up while exchanging positions two through six with Ryan Smith now in the mix as well.
With 12 laps to go, Macri was still in second ahead of Dietrich, who had taken third from Hodnett a lap earlier, but the margin between the pair was the blink of an eye or .011 seconds.
Dietrich took second with 11 laps to go and began running down leader Zearfoss but by that time Dewease was biting into the front-runner’s advantages while also battling Hodnett for third.
Dewease finally got third while chugging around the inside and then while Dietrich battled Zearfoss for control in nose-to-tail fashion, Dewease used his favored low line to pass both drivers on the 25th lap.
But the race that most may have thought was then over after Dewease took the lead, then turned even more thrilling as the move by Dewease seemed to put Dietrich’s elbows up even higher as he flung his No. 48 higher and higher around the speedway.
Dewease was never able to open up any advantage over Zearfoss or Dietrich and finding remarkable bite against the outside fence in the second corner, Dietrich was able to burst back around Zearfoss and then Dewease and take control on the 28th tour.
The Gettysburg driver then went on to record his third week of the current series by 1.880 seconds while Zearfoss stung Dewease for second on the final tour.
Dewease rode home third followed by Hodnett and Smith.
Sixth through 10th went to Freddie Rahmer, Macri, Rico Abreu, Ryan Taylor and Lucas Wolfe.
“I was finally able to beat the 69K’s ass,” exclaimed Dietrich to a raucous crowd after he drove back by Dewease to get the victory.
Heats for the 31-cars went to Dietrich, Dewease, Taylor and Macri with the consolation going to Jared Esh.
Wolfe set quick time in time trials with a lap of 16.814 seconds.
Hodnett leads speedweek points heading into the final race of the 10-event series at Selinsgrove Speedway on Sunday, July 8.
Tim Wilson used the pole to take the lead in the 25-lap Moon Shine Camo Rt. 35 Dirt Late Model Challenge Series race over Morgan, who took second on the second tour.
Morgan soon gave way to Marvin Winters on the sixth tour however and then Winters began running down Wilson’s advantage.
Winters was challenging Wilson for the lead on the 11th lap when the caution flag appeared for a stopped Jason Schmidt.
The ensuing restart saw Wilson trip up over the cushion in the first corner and take himself out of contention, remanding control to Winters with Morgan second followed by Jeff Rine and Kyle Lee.
Lee and Rine staged a great battle for third for several laps before Rine finally began getting away with the spot.
Morgan then began challenging Winters for control and took the lead with 10 laps to go only to see Winters rally and reclaim the spot with six laps left.
Rine was then in the mix and working traffic as he pressured the leaders when he made contact with a slow car with five laps to go in the third turn while working to its inside.
The contact found Rine nearly flipping over as his car lifted up and came close to tipping over on the driver’s side.
That incident sent the lapped car up across the track with Kyle Lee than slamming into it and the outside wall.
While Winters restarted with the lead, he again found a challenge from Morgan who worked by for control by the time lap 21 could be scored.
And this time after getting the lead, Morgan held it to the finish.
Winters was second followed by 21st starter Andy Haus, Chad Myers and Matt Parks.
Sixth through 10th went to Dave Brouse Jr., Mike Lupfer, Roy Deese Jr., Colton Flinner and Nick Dickson.
Heats went to Winters, Lee and Rine with Haus taking the last chance race.
Drivers canvassed the crowd during the two-division event and collected over 5,000 to benefit injured sprint car driver TJ Stutts.
Keep up to date on all the latest speedway news and information by visiting the speedway’s official website at www.portroyalspeedway.com or by following the oval on facebook and twitter.
410 sprints, 25 laps: 1. Danny Dietrich, 2. Brock Zearfoss, 3. Lance Dewease, 4. Greg Hodnett, 5. Ryan Smith, 6. Freddie Rahmer, 7. Anthony Macri, 8. Rico Abreu, 9. Ryan Taylor, 10. Lucas Wolfe, 11. Logan Wagner, 12. Mike Wagner, 13. Robbie Kendall, 14. Dylan Cisney, 15. Gerard McIntyre Jr., 16. AJ Flick, 17. Kyle Reinhardt, 18. Steve Buckwalter, 19. Tyler Reeser, 20. Landon Myers, 21. Joe Kata III., 22. Blane Heimbach, 23. Kody Lehman, 24. Jared Esh
DNQ: Joey Hershey, Tim Wagaman, Rick Lafferty, Jesse Attard, Trey Starks, Kyle Moody, Bradley Howard
Late models, 25 laps: 1. Ralph Morgan Jr., 2. Marvin Winters, 3. Andy Haus, 4. Chad Myers, 5. Matt Parks, 6. Dave Brouse Jr., 7. Mike Lupfer, 8. Roy Deese Jr., 9. Colton Flinner, 10. Nick Dickson, 11. Jerry Bard, 12. Scott Flickinger, 13. Billy Wampler, 14. Hayes Mattern, 15. Austin Berry, 16. Matt Murphy, 17. Dave Stamm, 18. Larry Baer, 19. Bryan Bernheisel, 20. Jeff Rine, 21. Kyle Lee, 22. Meade Hahn, 23. Tim Wilson, 24. Jason Schmidt
DNQ: Matt Nailor, Tim Smith Jr., Dylan Yoder, Jason Nace