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Dewease Wins Intense Bob Weikert Memorial

PORT ROYAL — After both Saturday and Sunday events were canceled due to rain, Port Royal Speedway was finally able to complete the annual Bob Weikert Memorial on a beautiful Monday evening in Juniata County. And to put it simply, it was worth the wait! In an epic battle between two of the three fastest Port Royal cars this season, veteran driver Lance Dewease took the checkered flag that was worth $29,000 — a tribute to Weikert’s famous No. 29 “Beefmobile” that called Pennsylvania home for many years. It was Dewease’s third win of the season at the Speed Palace, and the 118th of his career. He’s now just 11 victories behind Mifflintown’s Keith Kauffman for the most Port Royal wins.

He earned this one. Dewease drew the 8-pill after time trial and heat race points were accumulated, putting his No. 69K on the outside of the fourth row to start the 30-lap feature. Hunter Schuerenberg — a regular with the All-Star Circuit of Champions — got the jump from the start from his second starting position, taking an early lead over Cory Eliason. Dewease, however, was on the move as soon as the green flag was displayed, and had gone from 8th to 4th in just five laps. Fourth-starting Brent Marks was the class of the field early, and made a bid for the lead in turn one of the sixth circuit. Marks entered the bottom of the turn and slid up in front of Schuerenberg, but couldn’t make the move stick and slammed the outside wall. His No. 19 immediately slowed, ending his night with a mechanical failure.

That bunched up the field for the ensuing restart and Dewease — now third — didn’t waste any more time as he passed both Schuerenberg and Mike Wagner on the low side of the first turn for the lead. Jared Esh brought out the second caution of the event two laps later with a spin in the second turn, and Jeff Halligan did the same on lap 11 when he looped his car in turn three. Meanwhile, 10th-starting Anthony Macri used those restarts to advance his No. 39M all the way up to second, and now found himself right on the bumper of Dewease for the lap 11 restart.

Macri stalked Dewease for several laps before finally making his move on the 19th circuit. Dewease was able to cross him over to regain the top spot for one more set of turns, but Macri finally made a pass stick right before crossing the line to lead lap 20. Immediately afterwards, the caution came out once again for Justin Whittall and Bill Balog — both of whom were facing traffic between turns one and two.

An open red flag for fuel was needed to get to the end of the race, allowing all teams to make adjustments to their cars before the final 10-lap shootout. For Dewease, that meant legendary mechanic Davey Brown — who was celebrating his 87th birthday — was about to go to work one more time. When the green reappeared, it was Dewease once again that used a restart to his advantage. The veteran ducked low in turn one and won the race to backstretch, regaining the top spot that he wouldn’t relinquish again. It certainly wasn’t easy though. Macri was getting everything out of his car that it could handle, bouncing the right-rear tire off the outside wall nearly every lap in turns three and four. Finally, with just five laps remaining, the contact with the wall was just too much for the car to handle any longer. The right-rear sheared off the 39M, sending Macri hard into wall coming out of turn four.

Three-time and defending track champion Logan Wagner had worked his way up to the runner-up position for the restart, but Dewease was just too strong and took the checkered flag by a healthy margin. Logan Wagner settled for second, Tyler Courtney was third, Danny Dietrich took fourth (as well as hard charger honors) from his 17th starting spot, and Mike Wagner completed the top five. Sixth through 10th went to Schuerenberg, Rico Abreu, Blane Heimbach, Eliason and Ian Madsen. A.J. Flick was fastest in time trials over the 43-car field with a lap of 16.824 seconds. The four heat races were won by Macri, Halligan, Michael Walter and Dietrich. Gerard McIntyre won the B-main.

Port Royal will return to action Saturday evening with the return of the 410 sprint cars, super late models, and limited late models.

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