||Hodnett owns Bob Weikert All Star event at Port Royal
PORT ROYAL, PA - Confidence. Simply put, it’s important in any sport, but particularly in sprint car racing. And when Greg Hodnett of Thomasville, Pa. walks through the gates at Port Royal Speedway, he exudes confidence. He led 29 of the 30 laps of the Weikert’s Livestock University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions Bob Weikert Memorial Saturday to take home $10,000 plus $2,900 in lap money.
“I’m very fortunate to have a team that has always run well here. We had a little racing luck tonight…several guys didn’t transfer from their heat and that put us in the dash and we were able to capitalize and start up front in the feature. I don’t know what it is, but this place just fits my driving style. I’ve been good here since the first time I raced here with the All Stars in 1998,” said Hodnett beside his Trone Outdoor, Eagle Steel, Macri Concrete, H&H Excavating, Apple Chevrolet, Eagle Evergreens, Brickers backed #39.
It was Hodnett’s second consecutive win of the Bob Weikert Memorial and his third win of 2012 at Port Royal. He now has 27 career victories at Port Royal. Hodnett now has six wins in 2012. The UNOH All Star victory is Hodnett’s 15th career win with the series.
The UNOH All Star drivers fared well at the Juniata County oval, taking four of the top seven finishing positions against the Pennsylvania Posse.
Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel and Hodnett started on the pole and flew the UNOH All Star colors high throughout the event after leading the first lap, as did third place starter Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Danny Holtgraver.
After Gravel led the first circuit of the race, Hodnett pulled a slider in the first corner to take the lead and began to pull away. Hodnett’s pace was halted before three laps could be completed however when fifth starter Stevie Smith looped his car exiting turn two and got hit hard by Blaine Heimbach. The red flag unfurled for the crash that saw Heimbach’s #12 turn over. There were no injuries, but both drivers were done for the night.
Hodnett restarted in control and flew away the final 28 non-stop laps. Holtgraver blasted into second on lap 11 after a spirited battle with Gravel, and for a short time, was able to close on Hodnett as he worked lapped traffic. But, Hodnett’s experience at the oval was just too much, as he was able to extend his lead over the last half of the event, taking the checkered with nearly a half track advantage. Holtgraver, competing at Port Royal for the first time in his career, would finish second followed by Gravel. The top three finishers would receive a jacket from the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
Fourth went to Sam Hafertepe Jr. with All Star regular Paul McMahan finishing fifth. All Star East Region point leader Daryn Pittman would come home sixth with three time series champion and current national points leader Dale Blaney seventh followed by Aaron Ott, Mark Smith and Fred Rahmer.
“I caught him (Hodnett) once in traffic, but once he got clear he was gone. I’m happy as hell to hold on to second having never seen this place before. It’s a fun track…very fast. I can’t wait to come back here,” said Holtgraver beside his Kargo Quality Cars, Alternative Power Source, Mel Bagley Auto Service, BKW Transport backed machine.
Gravel too expressed how impressed he was with Hodnett’s performance.
“I don’t know what they did between the dash and feature…we beat him pretty good in the dash. What ever it was, he was gone. We will take third and continue to work hard. I know we have some wins coming our way,” said Gravel beside his Musco Fuel, P&M Transportation, JRC Transportation, Model Craft backed #89G.
Heat races for the 38-car field worth $100 each in honor of late journalist Jerry Reigle as sponsored by hoseheads.com went to Tim Shaffer, Chad Layton, Brian Montieth and Doug Esh.
Jac Haudenschild set fast time over the stellar field with a fast lap of 15.693 seconds, just off of the track record of 15.652. Haudenschild pocketed $200 for his efforts.
Gravel won the dash to earn the pole for the feature and set a new six-lap track record with a time of 1:40.595.
Rahmer set a new 12-lap track record by scoring the B Main with a time of 3:30.028.
Mike Erdley, who suffered motor ills in warm-ups and scratched for the night, and Nate Snyder each received $100 as the highest drivers in Port Royal points who failed to qualify for the event. The awards were sponsored by Crankwerkz of Newville and Guisewite Moving Services of Paxtonville.
Port Royal Speedway thanks the following sponsors of the 2012 Bob Weikert Memorial: Weikerts Livestock, Fairfield PA; Virginia Cattle Compay, Moorefield WV; Hickory Bridge Farms, Orrtanna PA; Folkens Brothers Hauling, Lester IA; Roadcap Livestock, Quicksburg VA; Highland Farms, Gettysburg PA; Scott's Body Shop, Gettysburg PA; South Branch Livestock Exchange, Moorefield WV; Craig Livestock Market, Shippensburg PA; Nicholas Packing, Loganton PA; Joel Stein Show horses, Fairfield PA; Weiss Transport, Adrian MN; Upper Marsh Creek, Orrtanna PA; Miller & Associates Real Estate LLC, Gettysburg PA; Virginia Livestock Inc, Front Royal VA; Greencastle Livestock Market, Greencastle PA; Stan's Beverage, Carlisle PA; Antelope Springs Ranch, Blackwell TX; Steven K Bierly Trucking, Mill Hall PA; Mike Vis, Valley Springs, SD; Seth Snyder, Gettysburg PA; Omaha Commodities, Omaha NE; JB Cattle LLC, Biglerville PA; Hy Plains Feedyard, Montezuma KS; Heritage Cattle Company, Garden City KS; JAB Livestock Hauling LLC, Jersey Shore PA; JW Trueth Inc., Baltimore, MD; M&R Livestock Hauling, Gettysburg, PA; Stone Ridge Manor, Gettysburg PA; Flying W Express Inc., Fairfield PA; Todd Grim, East Berlin PA; Holtapp Trucking, Pomeroy IA; S & B Livestock, Herndon PA; Puckett and Associates, Nathalie VA; Crankwerkz, Newville PA; hoseheads.com, Drums PA; Guisewite Moving Services, Paxtonville PA; National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Knoxville IA.