Jeff Halligan Convincing Out Of The Gate; Brings Home Top 5 At Port Royal Speedway Sunday
Story By: RICH WATTS / JEFF HALLIGAN RACING – PORT ROYAL, PA – Jeff Halligan was convincing, to say the least, right out of the gate at Port Royal Speedway on Sunday, driving around and away from pole-sitter Dylan Cisney.
He held that advantage until he could nearly smell the checkered flag, then things got complicated.
Halligan and the Risser Motorsports, TheTreeCenter.com, Victory Auto of Lewistown, EMM Sales & Service, Jake’s Golf Carts, Pine Hill Trailers, Keystone Ag Spraying No.45 rolled into Port Royal Speedway Sunday afternoon to kick off another season at a track where they have had success in recent years. The team captured two victories and finished third in the championship point standings in 2022.
With 29 teams signed in for action on the sunny Central Pennsylvania day, the format called for three 10-lap heat races. The top six from each would transfer directly to the feature event, but only the top three would be included in the invert redraw.
Halligan started outside the second row in heat race number two. It took a couple laps to get rolling but the Ephrata, PA driver then powered his way into 3rd and went to work for more. A late caution looked like it would give Halligan an opportunity to claim another spot, but it wasn’t to be. He finished 3rd at the line.
The invert redraw, which flips either the top 3, 6, 9 or 12 in the starting lineup, worked to Halligan’s advantage. The invert put him outside the front row, alongside Dylan Cisney to start the 25-lap, $5,000 to win A-main.
Halligan wasted no time taking advantage of the high side of the speedway with his well-handling race car. He drove into turn one practically ‘door to door’ with Cisney but powered around the top and drove off turn two with the advantage.
Twice in the first half of the race cautions appeared to work in Halligan’s favor. As he stretched his lead and closed on lapped traffic, the caution lights flashed on, resetting the field and giving Halligan a clear track.
In the later stages of the race, Halligan finally did reach lapped traffic. He held his own, making timely moves and keeping second place Parker Price-Miller at bay by a few car lengths. With six laps to go, Price-Miller finally pulled alongside Halligan’s No.45 but he couldn’t get by.
With three laps remaining and the top five getting tighter as the leaders navigated traffic, things changed. A split-second decision took away Halligan’s momentum and the lead slipped away. By the time Halligan got back the momentum he had lost, he had slipped a few more spots and he crossed the line in 5th.
“I should’ve won.“, a straight to the point Halligan said after the race.
“That was definitely a learning moment for me. I will move on and get better from it, but it’s still tough to lose one that way.“
Recapping the series of events, Halligan zeroed in on the moment when he entered turn one and chose to go low to avoid a string of lapped cars that were occupying the high line, right where he had been ‘making hay’ all day.
“Go where they aren’t” seemed to be the right thing to do. Halligan quickly realized it was the wrong choice. He exited turn two with the lead momentarily, but he had lost momentum and Price-Miller shot by. Meanwhile, Dylan Cisney closed on the pair and sailed high into turn three as the top two dove to the bottom. The move left Halligan in third with two laps remaining.
Just over a lap earlier, Halligan dove low into turn three to take away the momentum Parker Price-Miller was building up. He, and many in attendance, thought that was the move that sealed the win at the time.
“The car was really good. That’s what I’ll take away from today. That and I will get up on the wheel a little more next time probably.“, a still smiling Halligan said.
Halligan’s 2023 schedule will resemble last year. The team’s home will be Port Royal Speedway and their primary goal will be chasing wins and a possible points championship at the fairgrounds half-mile known as ‘The Speed Palace’.
In addition, the team will hit a mix of bigger events in the Central Pennsylvania region. Most of those dates will be determined week by week, closer to the race dates. Stay tuned to Halligan’s social media accounts, as well as Addicted2DirtPR.com/Events for the most up to date schedule information.
Halligan and the Risser Motorsports team will return to Port Royal Speedway to take on the World of Outlaws on Friday, March 10th at 7pm and Saturday, March 11th at 4pm. Both nights offer a tidy $10,000 to the winner.