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Wolfe Claims Bob Weikert Memorial, Dewease Wins Prelim

Wolfe Claims Bob Weikert Memorial, Dewease Wins Prelim
PORT ROYAL — What a weekend at the Juniata County Fairgrounds! The annual Bob Weikert Memorial — which seemingly gets bigger and better every season — didn’t disappoint this time around, as Mechanicsburg’s Lucas Wolfe powered his way from the 8th starting position to take Monday’s $10,000 prize. Saturday night, it was Fayetteville’s Lance Dewease picking up the victory — also from the 8th starting position — his second of the year at Port Royal. Originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, rain hit the big half-mile midway through Sunday’s program, forcing track officials into a tough decision — start fresh on Monday, or pick up where they left off on Memorial Day afternoon. They chose the latter, which made for a racing surface that was completely different than that of the weekend. Needless to say, it worked out just fine with plenty of excitement to go around.
​On Saturday, it was Trey Starks that jumped out to the early lead, but the event was quickly halted with just one lap complete for a flipping Trenton Sheaffer in the first turn. Sheaffer was okay, but the violent accident didn’t allow him to continue. On the ensuing restart, veteran Dale Blaney took the lead, which he held until the 16th lap. Danny Dietrich — driving the No. 29 Weikert paint scheme — got by at that point and you got the sense that it might just be his night. Dewease though was methodically working his way through the field to reach the second position with seven laps to go. Just two laps later and Dietrich’s lead was history. Dewease opened it up over the final five laps to win uncontested.
Dietrich and Blaney settled for second and third respectively, while Starks brought home fourth and point-leader Doug Esh took fifth. Sixth through tenth were Dylan Cisney, Brock Zearfoss, Greg Hodnett, Aaron Ott and T.J. Stutts. Brent Marks went 22nd to 11th to earn the $229 Beer Hill Hard Charger award. Heats for the 31-car field were won by Steve Buckwalter, Starks, Zearfoss and Ott. Tyler Walker — who made his first start in Pennsylvania in several years — won the B-main. Dietrich also picked up a $100 bonus from Packer’s Concessions for setting fast time in time trials with a lap of 15.884 seconds. Also of note, Austin Hubbard won a thrilling super late model event over Coleby Frye, Jeff Rine, Matt Cosner and Andy Haus in a feature that showcased three-wide racing for the lead at one point.
Before the rain showed its ugly face on Sunday, Blaney had already set quick time over the 31-car field with a lap of 16.270 seconds. Wolfe, Dietrich and Cisney also won heat races. From there we switched over to Monday for the remainder of the program.
Hodnett — the pole sitter — got the jump off the start of the 35-lap main event, but for the second straight night it was Starks who would lead the opening circuit. But all the excitement on the dry, slick racing surface was behind him — namely a three-car battle with multiple slide jobs per lap from Wolfe, Ott and Dietrich. A caution was displayed with 14 down and 19 to go for George Streaker Jr., who stopped in the turn two, wiping out a big lead that Starks had created. Cisney stayed within striking distance when the green re-appeared, but just as he was set to make a move for the lead in traffic, Wolfe made one of his own to take the runner-up spot away from Cisney. From there, Wolfe waited for his opportunity at Starks, and made the race-winning move in the first turn with just four laps to go. It was the second victory of the season for the Michael Barshinger-owned No. 24, but the first at Port Royal.
Starks managed to hang on for second over Cisney, Dietrich and Ott. Sixth through tenth went to Dewease — who started 18th — Stutts, Hodnett, Blaney and Logan Wagner.
Hodnett rebounded in the United Racing Club (360 sprints) event, moving up from 7th to take the victory on a late restart over Chuck Hebing and Ott.
As a thank you to the race fans and teams that returned to the track for the third day in a row, Port Royal and the Weikert family put up an extra $12,000 so each division could run a 15-lap “Dash for Cash” after their features. Dewease won the 410s after passing Mike Wagner with a couple laps to go, and Curt Michael followed suit in the 360 event.

THIS WEEKEND: Port Royal returns to action on Saturday when it hosts the fourth race of Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek. The series opened Wednesday night at Hagerstown with Rick Eckert scoring the victory. Gene Knaub won at Susquehanna on Thursday, and the series moves on to Bedford Speedway this evening. The 410 sprints and Xtreme Stocks are also on the card for Saturday evening.

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