Fans at Portsmouth Raceway Park this past weekend witnessed two drivers record their first PRP wins and a teenager become the track’s youngest winner.
Some called it the best Late Model race they’ve ever seen. The Limited Late Model Feature brought an ending no one could have expected. The Modified and Bomber winners were filled with emotion, and history was made when a 14-year-old won the Sport Mod A-Main.
It was quite a night a Portsmouth Raceway Park Saturday filled with unexpected winners and unexpecting endings. Kenny Howell captured his first ever PRP Feature win in the Giovanni’s Pizza Late Models. Brian Sammons, Sr. claimed the annual Weaver’s Gas and Oil Bomber Shootout. Aaron Pendleton grabbed his first PRP win the R.W. Rental and Supplies Modifieds. Mike Meyers came from out of nowhere to win in the Limited Lates, and in the Sport Mods young Brayden Berry became the youngest driver ever to win a PRP Feature.
Late Model driver Kenny Howell from Lovely, KY put together his best PRP performance Saturday night, but early on it appeared as if another Eastern Kentucky driver was going to be the man to beat.
Martin, KY’s Shannon Thornsberry led the first 21 laps of the 25-lap race before his handling went away. Howell, on the other hand, started on the outside pole and fell as far back as fifth before mounting his charge. Howell took the lead on lap 22 and held on for the win.
Howell had to hold off a hard-charging Nick Bocook, who put on a show. Bocook started fifth, got caught up in a first-lap accident, restarted 18th, and battled all the way back to the runner-up spot.
Finishing behind Howell and Bocook were Josh Bocook, Robbie Lewis, and Thornsberry. Dennis Little, Ralph Withem, Lee Logan, Charlie Jude, and Joe Brewer rounded out the top 10.
The highlighted event of the evening was the annual Weaver’s Gas and Oil Bomber Shootout. Brian Sammons, Jr. started on the pole and stayed up front throughout the duration, but for the entire race he had Wayne Hughes right on his rear bumper. One slight bobble could’ve have cost Sammons, but the Olive Hill, KY native never faltered driving smoothe, consistent laps the entire race.
The Bomber groove was much higher on the track than it typically is, but leaving the bottom unprotected didn’t hurt Sammons in the least, as he managed to keep his momentum built up by running a higher line.
In victory lane, an emotional Sammons gave thanks to his son and crew for helping him win PRP’s biggest M & M Inflatables Bomber race of the season. Zack Pendleton, Shane Pendleton, Frankie King, Rick Butler, Bo McCarty, Mike Drake, Joey Clark, and Matt McClain made up the
rest of the top 10.
Sammons wasn’t the only driver to get a little emotional following his win. It was a sweet ride and an even sweeter feeling for Jackson Modified driver Aaron Pendleton, who claimed his first PRP win Saturday night. He dominated the show en route to a feat which had been a long time coming.
Pendleton made the top side work as he led every lap and cruised to the checkers. Pendleton, who recently lost his grandmother, tearfully said after the race that he wish she could’ve seen it.
Jim Barnett, Adam Jordan, James Williamson, Scott LeMaster, Matt Altiers, Jody Puckett, Josh Stumbo, Aaron Branham, and Matthew Holcomb rounded out the top 10.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model feature was a wild one. The race had an assuming winner, who had to work unusually hard to get the victory. For the first 11 laps, Michael Meyers struggled to find the handle. His car just would not turn.
Despite battling his ill-handling car, Meyers ran third for most of the race behind Evyian Terry and John Melvin. Meyers never appeared to be a contender, as it was all he could do to hold off fourth-place Cameron Logan.
Then came a lap-11 restart and it was like the switch was flipped. Meyers went to work over the last four laps quickly moving to second. He got past Terry for the lead at the white flag and pulled away in the closing lap to take the victory.
Meyers said in winner’s circle that the only thing he could figure made the difference is that he got mad. Despite leading the first 13 laps, Evyian Terry was forced to settle for second. The rest of the top 10 consisted of Cameron Logan, John Melvin, Ronnie Whitt, Austin Mullett, Kevin Terry, Joe Whitt, Randy Ross, and Vincent Bender.
The final race of the night proved to be the most historic, as 14-year-old Brayden Berry became the youngest driver to ever win a PRP Feature. The youngster from West Portsmouth hasn’t started eighth grade yet and is still a couple years away from becoming a licensed driver, but he is now a Portsmouth Raceway Park winner.
Berry said after the race that he got really nervous in the closing laps as both Emily Jordan and Derek Richmond made bids for the lead, but those nerves never showed on the track. He held his line and managed to hold off the competition.
Berry began the race in fourth and took the lead on lap 6. Emily Jordan challenged for the lead on laps 9, 10, and 11. She started the race in 15th and drove to second before falling out with car troubles four laps shy of the finish.
Derek Richmond, Cody Gifford, Jimmy Spillman, Eric Wade, Jeremy Cassidy, Robert
Lunsford, Kristin Butler, Emily Jordan, and Alan Gulley rounded out the top 10.
Portsmouth Raceway Park will be back in action next Saturday with the annual running of the Keaton’s Collision Center Mod Squad Spectacular which will pay Modifieds $3,000 to win. Also on the card will be Late Models and Sport Mods. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing at approximately 7:30.