By Shawn Brouse
Port Royal – Greg Hodnett of Thomasville put on a passing clinic to claim the $5,000 PA Speedweek feature for sprint cars at Port Royal Speedway Thursday night.
Hodnett started his No. 39 Trone Special sprinter in 14th for the 30-lap main and went to work passing cars seemingly at will when action began while polesitter Mark Smith of Tower City held sway.
A caution with just two laps completed found Todd Shaffer and Lance Dewease chasing leader Smith just as it did again with three down when the caution flag unfurled once more.
However this time for the restart Hodnett was up to fifth after making a three-car pass of Brian Montieth, Stevie Smith and Mike Erdley during the previous lap.
Hodnett worked his way around fast timer Alan Krimes by the time the races final caution flag flew with eight in the books and he went to work on Dewease at the new green.
After putting Dewease by the wayside on the restart, Hodnett had to run down and pass both Shaffer and Smith to take control and while Shaffer proved not to be much contest on lap 11, Smith was a different story.
Hodnett fought hard to fly by the Tower City racer as for the next 12 circuits he raced just off of Smith’s bumper at times while unable to complete the pass as Smith drove defensively with the lead.
Smith finally succumbed to Hodnett’s heavy pressure with seven laps to go as he watched Hodnett sling his mount just to the outside of his right rear tire and pull even in the middle of the first and second turns before pulling ahead as the pair raced down the backchute.
From there, Hodnett drove unchallenged to the 24th career victory of his career at the track, his second of the season there and his second in as many nights in speedweek action after scoring Hagerstown, Md., just one night earlier.
The victory closed the gap for Hodnett in the chase for another speedweek crown, helping him bring a 141 point deficit at the beginning of the night down to 58 markers. Tyler Walker ended the event as the point leader with 629 markers over Daryn Pittman, 606; and Fred Rahmer, 580.
Smith was second in the race followed by Dewease, Shaffer and Krimes.
Sixth through 10th went to Stevie Smith, Jason Johnson, Brian Montieth, Chad Layton and Mike Erdley.
Heats for the 35-car field, a speedweek high to date, went to Doug Esh, Davey Sammons, Cliff Brian and Daryn Pittman with the B Main going to Steve Buckwalter.
Krimes posted fast time with a lap of 16.222 seconds.
Brian Towsey took the lead on the third circuit of the pro stock main to pick up his third win of the season in the division as the point leader.
Tenth starter Derrick Garman rode home second followed by Harold Ranck, Dan Berry and Hayes Mattern.
Heats went to Dave Brouse Jr. and Berry.
Feature Finishes: June 30, 2011 –
410 sprints, 30 laps: 1. Greg Hodnett, 2. Mark Smith, 3. Lance Dewease, 4. Todd Shaffer, 5. Alan Krimes, 6. Stevie Smith, 7. Jason Johnson, 8. Brian Montieth, 9. Chad Layton, 10. Mike Erdley, 11. Danny Dietrich, 12. Steve Buckwalter, 13. Tyler Walker, 14. Daryn Pittman, 15. Ryan Taylor, 16. Adam Wilt, 17. Mike Wagner, 18. Davey Sammons, 19. Doug Esh, 20. Brian Leppo, 21. Cliff Brian, 22. Curt Stroup, 23. Fred Rahmer, 24. Keith Kauffman