Portsmouth Raceway Park opened its season Sunday with the annual running of Veterans Appreciation Night.
Eddie Carrier, Jr., Brian Skaggs, Mike Meyers, and Breydan Berry recorded feature wins in their respective divisions.
“It feels good to finally get the season started,” PRP Promoter Donna Rayburn said. “Our fans and drivers have been waiting anxiously.”
After a winter that brought some of the worst flooding the Portsmouth area had witnessed in years, PRP owner Tim Coleman worked diligently to get the track dug out, cleaned up, and fixed back.
February floodwaters left a massive amount of debris at the track and tore down several sections of fencing, but no one would have known it Sunday.
“It’s amazing how quickly Tim was able to get this place restored,” Rayburn said. “Flooding is typical every spring, but this year was as bout as bad as it had ever been. As always, he’s got it looking like its brand new.”
The only flooding to speak of at PRP Sunday was the 91 race teams that flooded the pit area for the season’s opening night. Besides an outstanding car count, there were plenty of fans who filed through the gates to watch, many of which were veterans who were granted free admission as is customary at PRP on Memorial Day Weekend.
The Giovanni’s Pizza Late Model Division had an action-packed A-Main with many twists and turns. Waverly’s Billy Gullion and Grayson, KY’s Jackie Boggs made up the front row to start the 25-lap feature. At the initial drop of the green, Gullion and Kite, KY’s Brandon Fouts, who started third, would get by Boggs. Gullion and Fouts would then go side by side for the lead all the way down the backstretch and into turn three before a caution would force a complete restart.
Boggs would take advantage of this yellow flag getting the jump on Gullion when the race resumed. Boggs would dominate most of the race and would catch many other breaks along the way. Going down the front straightaway, Mike Meyers would fall off the pace right in front Boggs, but Boggs would manage to get by. A little later in the race, Boggs was locked in a three-wide battle with a pair of lap cars when Doug Drown would slow directly in front of him. Again, Boggs would manage to avoid danger.
Unfortunately for Boggs, his luck would eventually run out on a Lap-19 restart when his right rear let go just shortly after the green flag dropped. He would fall out of the race and finish 17th.
Boggs’ departure would hand the lead over to Eddie Carrier, Jr. who began the race in sixth. The Salt Rock, WV native would hold off all competitors to the finish.
Fouts would run in the top 5 for the duration of the race and would drive home a solid second just fending off a hard-charging Delmas Conley by a nose. Conley made the race very interesting in the closing laps finding a groove that worked well for him.
Martin, KY’s Shannon Thornsberry placed fourth. Wheelersburg’s Rod Conley advanced seven positions to climb from 12th to fifth. Gullion, Josh Bocook, Robbie Lewis, Travis Carr, and Larry Holbrook rounded out the top 10.
Pedro’s Brian Skaggs dominated the R.W. Rental & Supplies Modified Feature leading every lap. Nathon Loney finished second. Dave Jamison held off Tony DeHart for fourth.
Eddie Harmon, Jeremy Rayburn, and Tim Tribbey battled hard the entire race. That trio would finish fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively. Brayden Berry, Anthony Slusher, and Jody Puckett completed the top 10.
Mike Meyers, who competed in both the Late Model and Limited Late Division, would cruise to the win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Late Model A-Main. Cameron Logan placed second. Ronnie Whitt charged from eighth to third. Jacob Curnutte climbed from 10th to fourth. Shane Bailey rounded out the top 5, while A.J. Hicks, Kevin Terry, Joe Whitt, Jim Couch, and Austin Mullett made up the rest of the top 10.
Like Meyers, Brayden Berry also competed in two classes Sunday. The 15-year-old from West Portsmouth drove in both the Modified and Sport Mod Divisions. Berry, who posted a top 10 in the Mods, would better that effort in a Sport Mod.
The youngster led every lap en route to the feature win in the EMC2 Party Rentals Sport Mod A-Main. Jason Spillman, Alan Gulley, Rick Neace, Emily Jordan, Brandon Walker, Danny Hamilton, Jr., Brian Sammons, Derek Richmond, and Luke Jordan made up the rest of the top 10.
PRP will be back in action this coming Saturday as The Glockner Family of Dealerships will present an evening of racing featuring Late Models, Modifieds, Limited Lates, and Sport Mods. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing at 7:30.