PORT ROYAL, Pa. – Rookie Jeff Miller held off a hard-charging Lucas Wolfe, as well as Mother Nature, to pick up his first 410 sprint car victory at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night.
“I started racing go-carts when I was five and this is what I always wanted to do. I can’t believe it happened this early,” said Miller in victory lane.
With rains in the forecast, track officials moved up the start time an hour early for Bobby Rahal Toyota of Lewistown Ladies Night. Throughout the night, rain would spit from the sky, threatening to cancel the final track time for the cars prior to the Weikert Memorial.
However after persistent effort and the track and teams moving the program along, Justin Whittal and Miller would lead the 410s to the green for an all-rookie front row.
Whittal jumped out to the early lead over Jared Esh, but racing action was halted when Dustin Baney got upside down in turns one and two before ever completing a lap.
When racing activity returned, Whittal once again jumped out to the lead, this time with Miller in tow and Esh in third.
As Whittal was stretching his lead, Dylan Cisney was an early mover, sliding into fourth on lap five. One lap later, Miller would take the lead, powering under Whittal down the front stretch and taking the point at the flagstand.
“After warmups, I really didn’t have a clue what to do with the car,” said Miller. “I started adjusting the wing and I think it really helped me out there.”
Miller started to check out. Meanwhile on lap nine, Esh moved alongside of Whittal going down the backstretch and took the second position.
Wolfe, who started seventh in the feature, began to make his move towards the front on lap 10, cracking the top five and moving past Cisney for fourth a lap later.
Meanwhile, Miller hit lap traffic on lap 12. As he rode the top of the speedway, Mother Nature also began to show her muscle, as persistent drops fell from the sky.
Wolfe slid Whittal in turns one and two on lap 14, and four laps later used the top of the speedway coming out of turn two to power under Esh entering turn three and move into second.
On lap 21, Miller would struggle with passing the lap cars of Trenton Sheaffer and Adrian Shaffer, allowing Wolfe to close within a car length of him.
Both leaders cleared the lap cars and over the final three laps, Miller would stick to the top of the speedway, while Wolfe ran a line lower in turns one and two and attempted multiple runs through the center of speedway in turns three and four.
However, with a slick racing surface due to rains, Wolfe couldn’t make it stick.
He tried one final time in turns three and four of the final circuit, pulling alongside Miller, however Miller powered off the top of the speedway to win his first career 410 sprint car main event by a margin of .292 seconds.
“We decided to do this deal this season and this is really a family thing, but we are learning every week,” said Miller, who previously ran in the 305 sprint car ranks. “This is really a dream come true and I’m just speechless.”
Blane Heimbach finished third, followed by Esh and Cisney.
T.J. Stutts, track point leader Logan Wagner, Mike Wagner, Whittal and Ryan Taylor closed out the top 10.
Gene Knaub won the super late model main event and Ken Duke topped the PASS IMCA 305 sprint car field.
410 Sprint Cars (25 Laps): 1. Jeff Miller; 2. Lucas Wolfe; 3. Blane Heimbach; 4. Jared Esh; 5. Dylan Cisney; 6. T.J. Stutts; 7. Logan Wagner; 8. Mike Wagner; 9. Justin Whittall; 10. Ryan Taylor; 11. A.J. Flick; 12. Tyler Reeser; 13. Adrian Shaffer; 14. Joey Hershey; 15. Cory Thornton; 16. Trenton Sheaffer; 17. Tyler Bear; 18. Dustin Baney.