Column: Port Royal Speedway’s The Next Stop For World Of Outlaws Sprint Vs. PA Posse Rivalry

Column By: BRIAN WALKER / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – PORT ROYAL, PA – Another doubleheader in The Keystone State awaits The Greatest Show on Dirt this weekend.

The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and PA Posse will take their fierce rivalry through the Tuscarora Mountain range and into Juniata County for a second and third visit this year to “The Speed Palace” on Friday and Saturday, October 7-8.

Spreading the Nittany Showdown across two nights at Port Royal Speedway, the locals will host the travelers with a $15,000-to-win prize available in Saturday’s finale at the highly-acclaimed 1/2-mile.

Let’s take a look at what to watch for this weekend:

 

THE FOUR S’s: Sweet, Schatz, Schuchart, and Spencer enter this weekend as the only four full-timers with a World of Outlaws win recorded at Port Royal Speedway.

Brad Sweet, who triumphed at “The Speed Palace” in 2014, has since struggled a bit at the 1/2-mile. In his last five starts at the track, “The Big Cat” averages an 11.1 finish with only one top-10 to his credit. The Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49 team looks to turn that around this weekend as they continue to chase a fourth consecutive World of Outlaws championship.

Donny Schatz, a four-time winner at Port Royal, remains the winningest driver at the track through 18 World of Outlaws appearances. The Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanain Racing #15 was a frontrunner during July’s stop before a delaminated tire hurt his chances at a fifth win, something he gets two opportunities for this weekend in the Advance Auto Parts, Ford Performance entry.

Logan Schuchart earned his second-career World of Outlaws win at Port Royal in 2016, and always savors every chance to race in front of his home state. The Hanover, PA native, along with nephew and Shark Racing teammate, Jacob Allen, is aiming for a second Pennsylvania win for the Bobby Allen-led group in 2022 this weekend.

Spencer Bayston, the freshest of the four faces, enters as the defending winner of the Nittany Showdown after topping last year’s $15,000 Feature in dominant fashion. It was only his fourth start with CJB Motorsports, but now the pairing returns in a much more familiar state as the Lebanon, IN 24-year-old leads the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year chase with two wins to his credit in 2022.

 

THE CONCRETE KID: It’s not a matter of “if” Anthony Macri wins a World of Outlaws race, but only “when” he does it, and that could potentially be this weekend. Among his nation-best 21 victories this year, eight have come at Port Royal Speedway; including a near-perfect five-for-six in All Star Circuit of Champions action at the 1/2-mile.

Through 60 starts with the Series, Macri is up to 26 top-10 finishes, 15 top-five results, and seven podium appearances – with three of those coming at “The Speed Palace.” The Dillsburg, PA native banked $60,000 in a miraculous come-from-behind win at the Tuscarora 50 last month and now hopes to add a triumph against The Greatest Show on Dirt to his resume. A win would not only be his first with the World of Outlaws, but his 20th at Port Royal – making him the 15th different driver to reach that mark.

 

DRIVE FOR FIVE: It’s official – Logan Wagner now owns five consecutive championship seasons at Port Royal Speedway, the longest streak in the storied history of the Juniata County 1/2-mile. The Harrisonville, PA native is up to third all-time in track championships, trailing only Keith Kauffman (13) and Lance Dewease (6).

The pilot of the Zemco Racing #1 now turns his attention to the World of Outlaws this weekend as the so-called “One Track Wonder” gets to defend home turf against the brightest stars in Sprint Car Racing. The 31-year-old local ace is a two-time top-10 finisher with the Series and qualified for the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash in both races last year at Port Royal. He’ll try to build on a five-win campaign as he gets his next chance at bettering his career-best ninth with the Series.

 

ENDING THE DROUGHT: Along with Macri and Wagner, Pennsylvania’s best will be out in full force with hopes of ending the PA Posse’s dry spell at Port Royal Speedway in World of Outlaws competition. It’s been 10 races since the locals last won an Outlaw show at their own “Palace,” and that was in 2014 at the hands of Kunkletown’s Ryan Smith. Over that span, they’ve come close time and time again, though.

Danny Dietrich, of Gettysburg, PA, Lance Dewease, of Fayetteville, PA, and Brent Marks, of Myerstown, PA, have each finished runner-up in World of Outlaws events at Port Royal since 2020. All three drivers have triumphed at “The Speed Palace” this year and are guaranteed contenders for the win come Friday and Saturday.

Additional names to keep an eye on include Freddie Rahmer, Mike Wagner, Dylan Cisney, Jeff Halligan, Justin Whittall, Lucas Wolfe, and Gerard McIntyre Jr., among others.

 

POINTS BATTLE: With only eight races remaining in the 2022 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series campaign, every point matters as drivers and teams jockey for position and points fund payout. Here’s how the current 13 full-timers stack up, along with their prospective championship earnings, entering Port Royal:

  1. 8,214 points / Brad Sweet (Kasey Kahne Racing #49) / $200,000
  2. 94 points / David Gravel (Big Game Motorsports #2) / $100,000
  3. 134 points / Carson Macedo (Jason Johnson Racing #41) / $75,000
  4. 232 points / Sheldon Haudenschild (Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing #17) / $70,000
  5. 248 points / Donny Schatz (Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanain Racing #15) / $65,000
  6. 350 points / Logan Schuchart (Shark Racing #1S) / $62,500
  7. 488 points / James McFadden (Roth Motorsports #83) / $60,000
  8. 546 points / Spencer Bayston (CJB Motorsports #5) / $57,500
  9. 662 points / Jacob Allen (Shark Racing #1A) / $55,000
  10. 910 points / Brock Zearfoss (Zearfoss Racing #3Z) / $50,000
  11. 1664 points / Kraig Kinser (Kinser Racing #11K) / $40,000
  12. 2016 points / Noah Gass (Gass Racing #20G) / $30,000
  13. 2577 points / Bill Rose (Bill Rose Racing #6) / $25,000

 

THE JONESTOWN JET: Brock Zearfoss’ first-career World of Outlaws win came at Williams Grove, but the sophomore runner is most closely associated with Port Royal Speedway. Growing up an hour away from the Juniata County 1/2-mile, Zearfoss owns seven 410 wins at the track and won the 2017 track championship. That same year, he nearly got his second-career Outlaws victory at Port Royal, but it ultimately came this summer at Cedar Lake (WI) Speedway.

He led 17 laps in a fierce battle with Schatz before finally running out of fuel with two to go while running second. In 2020, he finished fifth and seventh at the 1/2-mile in World of Outlaws action. This weekend, he gets another chance at arguably his best track in pursuit of his fourth World of Outlaws top-five of the 2022 season.

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