Story By: JUSTIN SNYDER / PORT ROYAL SPEEDWAY – PORT ROYAL, PA – Lance Dewease entered the 2021 racing season 14 wins behind Keith Kauffman for the all-time winningest driver in the history of the Port Royal Speedway.
With only 12 races at the historic Juniata County oval currently on Dewease and his Don Kreitz Jr. racing team’s schedule, the likelihood that Dewease catches ‘The Man from Mifflintown’ this season was highly unlikely.
However, after Saturday night’s performance during the 79th annual Opening Day presented by Packer’s Concessions Dewease’s imagination may be starting wonder just a bit. Dewease capitalized on a pole position starting spot to claim his fourth career Opening Day triumph over Kerry Madsen, Dylan Cisney, Jeff Halligan and Logan Wagner.
The win was worth $5000 and was a reminder that even with a limited schedule, Dewease is a threat every time his team pulls into the pits.
“The car was really good all night and the team did a great job,” said Dewease. “My son made up for his poor draw earlier in the night to get us the pole position for the feature. It’s a whole team effort and I’m just fortunate enough to drive the car.”
Dewease and FloRacing All Stars Circuit of Champions contender Hunter Schuerenberg lined up on the front row for the 25-lap A-main and it was Dewease getting the early jump before the start was called off due to some shuffling mid-pack. However, on the restart it was fourth starting Madsen using the highline to go to the front and he led lap one over Dewease.
Dewease started reeling in Madsen and was all over the Austalian invader for the lead when Kody Lehman got turned around in turn two and collected Jared Esh to bring out the red flag. Both drivers were ok.
Both Madsen and Dewease hugged the bottom of the speedway on the restart, but Dewease was able to take his car even lower exiting turn four. The two cars battled side by side on lap 8 and Dewease was able to use a slide job entering turn one to muscle ahead to lead lap nine.
“You know Kerry kind of surprised me early as I knew he wasn’t starting beside me and he must’ve gotten one heck of a start,” said Dewease. “I was really chasing him there and that restart was my chance. I got a couple good runs at him and was able to make the bottom stick and we just kind of took off.”
Dewease stretched his lead to nearly a full straightaway with 12 laps remaining, while the battle behind him was getting intense. Mike Wagner, Logan Wagner and Anthony Macri all swapped the sixth position multiple times and the battle came to a close with 11 to go when the younger Wagner made incidental contact with his dad and sent him spinning on the front stretch to bring out the caution.
Cisney entered the picture with nine to go as he moved past Schuerenberg for a podium spot and he set his sights on Madsen. Meanwhile, Dewease was checking out. With clean air in front of him and heavy battling throughout the pack, Dewease stretched his lead to nearly five seconds as he took the checkered flag by 4.858 seconds for his 116th career Port Royal triumph.
“We came out here and practiced last night and the guys worked really hard to get us where we needed to be as we rolled off the truck and just didn’t feel very good,” said Dewease. “Donny, Davey and the whole team just gave me a great car and I just had to be smart and make my moves and here we are.”
For Madsen, in only his second start behind the wheel of the Mike Barshinger Racing No. 24, he was thrilled to be in contention so early in the season and believes it was Dewease’s experience that played a factor.
“We have not been working together for too long but this Barshinger car is really fast and this gives us something to build on going forward,” said Madsen. “I felt really good in turn’s one and two, but I just never quite could figure out three and four. I must’ve tried every line out there and ultimately Lance just was better than us.”
Anthony Macri picked up the $200 Hard Charger Award courtesy of Valley Supply Inc. by advancing eight positions to finish sixth, while Blane Heimbach, Schuerenberg, Lynton Jeffrey and Justin Peck rounded out the top ten. Lucas Wolfe scored an extra $1000 courtesy of J&S Fabrication by finishing 19th as a result of the random draw Warrior Award. Cisney also earned an additional $104 courtesy of the Port Royal Race Chasers.
Weikert’s Livestock 410 Sprint Car Results- 1. Lance Dewease, 2. Kerry Madsen, 3. Dylan Cisney, 4. Jeff Halliagn, 5. Logan Wagner, 6. Anthony Macri, 7. Blane Heimbach, 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 9. Lynton Jeffrey, 10. Justin Peck, 11. Jason Shultz, 12. TJ Stutts, 13. Gerard McIntyre, 14. Mike Wagner 15. Tyler Reeser, 16. George Hobaugh, 17. AJ Flick, 18. Ryan Taylor, 19. Lucas Wolfe, 20. Justin Whittal, 21. Michael Bauer, 22. Pat Cannon, 23. Kody Lehman, 24. Jared Esh
Trevor Feathers backed up his 2020 Opening Day triumph by picking up his second consecutive victory on Opening Day by holding off a hard charging Tyler Bare and Ross Robinson. The win was Feathers second of his career at the speedway and was worth a whopping $3000.
“This place is premier around our area and there’s not really anything else like this place where you can have these kind of fields on a colder opening day,” said Feathers. “I was really good out in clean air and I just had to stay up top and really hit my marks. It’s great to start the season off with a win.”
Colton Flinner and Dan Stone rounded out the rest of the top-five.
Jason Miller and Feathers led the River Valley Builders Super Late Model field to the green flag with Feathers getting the early jump on the high side of the speedway. Fourth starter Bare established himself in the runner up position at the completion of lap one followed by Kanub and sixth starter Rick Eckert.
Feathers was setting a fast pace, but it was Eckert on the move. He moved into a podium spot on lap five and got by Bare for second on lap 10. As Feathers was struggling with lap traffic, it appeared Eckert was going to challenge for the lead, but he slowed off the pace with driveline issues the following lap and pulled off the speedway.
“I knew the top was the place to be if I wanted to be fast and I was kind of committed to staying up there,” said Feathers. “I don’t know what happened to Rick but I knew he was coming and I just tried to stay focused on the task at hand and keep driving hard as I could.”
Feathers stretched his lead in lap traffic the next five laps, but his tired were starring to go away and that allowed Bare to cut the distance in half. With five to go, Bare was within striking distance. With three laps to go, Bare had cut the distance to less than three car lengths.
Bare was using a unique ‘Diamond” line in turn three and four to try and get a run down the backstretch, but Feathers was able to position himself and the lap cars in the perfect position to hold off the challenge.
The Virginia native crossed under the checkers by a margin of .282 seconds to claim the victory. After starting off last season with high expectations, Feathers struggled the rest of the year. He’s hoping this year will be full of consistency.
“You know after we won last year it seemed we were constantly chasing the car and we just really struggled,” said Feathers. “We were able to come out here and start off 2021 with a win again and I’m we can sustain this success and be in contention for a title at the end of the year.”
For Bare, he felt like he missed an opportunity earlier in the race to be closer at the end and needed more laps to track down Feathers.
“I messed up going into turn one earlier in the race in lap traffic and I let Eckert get by me and I really knew I messed up,” said Bare. “He dropped out and were able to get ourselves going again. I actually thought we had a few more laps and when I saw the white flag come out I knew we were just going to be a second place car. This is a great start to our year and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Gregg Satterlee, Knaub, Jim Bernheisel, Gary Stuhler and Trent Brenneman rounded out the top ten. Dylan Yoder finished 11th and earned the $200 hard charger courtesy of George’s Used Cars Inc.
River Valley Builders Super Late Model Results- 1.Trevor Feathers, 2. Tyler Bare, 3. Ross Robinson, 4. Colton Flinner, 5. Dan Stone, 6. Gregg Satterlee, 7. Gene Knaub, 8. Jim Bernheisel, 9. Gary Stuhler, 10.Trent Brenneman, 11. Dylan Yoder, 12. Mike Lupfer, 13. Andrew Yoder, 14. Bryan Bernheisel, 15. Billy Wampler, 16. Nick Dickson, 17. Andy Haus, 18. Travis Stickley, 19. Kyle Lee, 20. Dillan Stake, 21. Kyle Knapp, 22. Jason Schmidt, 23. Shaun Jones, 24. Rick Eckert, 25. Jason Miller, 26. Justin Weaver