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Dewease, Rine Double Down at Port Royal

Photo by Bob Hockenbrock

PORT ROYAL — Lance Dewease and Jeff Rine may race in different divisions, but they’ve got many similarities when it comes to their early-season appearences at Port Royal Speedway. Both veterans picked up opening night wins just a few weeks ago before not competing in the second show of the season last weekend. They were both pitside once again on Saturday night, and sticking with the current theme, each of them parked it on the stage for the second time this season when all was said and done.

A season-high 47 410 sprint cars signed in for competition on the most pleasent weather night of 2018 to date. They were all chasing the $5,000 winners purse that came along with the Keith Kauffman Classic — an event sanctioned by Tony Stewart’s All-Star Circuit of Champions. Texas native Aaron Reutzel — one of nearly 20 drivers that plan to follow the entire series schedule — set the tone in time trials with a quick time of 16.474 seconds against the clock. Five heat races, a C-main, two four-lap dashes and a B-main set the lineup for the 30-lap feature event. After all qualifying races was completed, the two dash winners — Steve Buckwalter and Anthony Macri — were set to lead the field to the green flag.

Unfortunatly, green turned to red very quickly when last week’s winner Dave Blaney spun in turn three of the opening lap, leaving Liverpool’s T.J. Stutts with nowhere to go. Stutts’ No. 11 plowed into the No. 70 of Blaney before flipping twice to cause the stoppage. Since no laps were in the book, it was a complete double-file restart — one that allowed Macri to get the jump on Buckwalter and lead the first 11 laps of the race. Reutzel though, who started third and had already worked past Buckwalter, was hammering around the top of the speedway and finally overtook Macri’s No. 39M on the 12th circuit. A caution would follow for a flat tire on Trey Starks’ machine, and another would slow the action again on lap 15 as Blaney had problems for the second time in the race. At that point, an open red flag for fuel gave the crews an opportunity to make adjustments to the car without changing tires. The car everyone had their eyes on was the familiar No. 69K of Dewease, who had moved from his 5th starting postion to 3rd at the time of the stoppage. The Don Krietz Jr. team is one of the most experienced in the country, and a chance to adjust their car was certainly something that was enough to make the race leaders uneasy. On the ensuing restart, Reutzel motored away initially, but Dewease — who quickly picked off Macri — was able to work past the No. 87 on the low side of the speedway with nine laps remaining. The race went nonstop the rest of the way, giving Dewease a chance to pull away for his 108th career victory at the Juniata County oval — second only to Kauffman’s 129. Reuztel crossed second, Macri hung on for third, Buckwalter took fourth and Greg Hodnett was fifth. Six through ten went to Mike Wagner, Dylan Cisney, Ryan Smith, Daryn Pittman and Ryan Taylor.

Heat races were won by Hodnett, Cale Conley, Cisney, Mike Wagner and Starks, while Cole Duncan won the C-main and Logan Wagner captured the B-main.

Port Royal also hosted the first of six Moon Shine Camo Rt. 35 Challenge Series races Saturday night, and it was Rine who led all 25 laps from the second starting position to pick up his 20th Port Royal victory and second win of the young late model season. Andy Haus, Gene Knaub, Dylan Yoder and Alex Feree rounded out the top five. Six through ten went to Jason Schmidt, Colton Flinner, Matt Lux, Trent Brenneman and Mike Lupfer.

Heats for the 29 cars that were pitside went to Feree, Brenneman and Lupher.

NEXT WEEK: There’s something for every dirt racing fan this weekend. First, it’s a sprint car tripleheader with the 410s, 360s (sanctioned by URC) and 305s all in attendance on Saturday night. Make sure to come hungry for the first Dollar Hot Dog Night of the season.

Then on Sunday, the best in the business when it comes to late model racing — the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series — will be returning to Port Royal for the second annual “Rumble by the River” that pays $10,000 to win. Also attending will be the 358 late models.

OTHER AREA SPRINT CAR WINNERS: Williams Grove Speedway — 410s: Lance Dewease, 305s: Austin Bishop. Lincoln Speedway — 410s: Freddie Rahmer, 358s: Steve Wilbur. Selinsgrove Speedway — 360s: Davey Franek. Trail-Way Speedway: 358s — Steve Owings

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