Nitro Sweigart wins in a wild finish
“Nitro Nick” Sweigart saw an opening on the last lap and seized it, passing both cars battling for the lead and holding on to win the 8th Annual Keystone RaceSaver Challenge at Port Royal Speedway Saturday night.
The Myerstown driver, who had started 10th in the “Blue Collar Classic,” had fought his way to third place when Doug Dodson, running second, dove to the inside of leader “Zach Daddy” Newlin in turn two of the 25th and final lap, and Newlin came down to try for a cross-over to re-capture first. Sweigart fired his A.H. Moyer Inc./Ditchcreek Utility Services/C&L Siding and Decks/Lebanon Levi #8 into the narrow space outside of Dodson and went by both cars.
Newlin got to the inside in turns three and four, but Sweigart’s outside momentum and perfect line enabled him to take the checkered flag.
Seldom does a major race live up to its hype, but few in the stands Saturday would likely say that they had seen a better finish in 2019.
Newlin finished second in the Smith Concrete & Construction/Heather Sims Realtor/T&M Home Builders/Dentdu #11Z, while Dodson took third in the PowerMist Racing Fuels/Crockett Log Homes/Fastener Specialties #20.
Immediately behind the leaders, looking for an opening while engaging in their own battle for position were fourth-place Garrett Bard, the super rookie in the CG Racing Engines/Lias Tire #95, and New Yorker Christian Rumsey in the Behrents Performance Warehouse/DRP Shocks/CG Racing Engines #1R. They had charged to the front from ninth and 11th place, respectively.
But those charges were nothing compared to that of newly crowned IMCA/RaceSaver National Champion “Iron Man” Ken Duke Jr., who finished sixth after starting 21st in the Fairfield Chevrolte/Apache Tree Service/sprintcarunlimited.com #67. Duke’s run also celebrated his second points title with PASS and his Pennsylvania state championship.
Seventh-finishing Devin Adams was equally impressive, coming from 20th starting position after charging from eighth to win his B-Main in the Fredericksburg Eagle Hotel/Adams Auto Sales/Garden Spot Auto Auction #99.
Founding out the top 10 were Kevin Nagy, Jeff Geiges (from 16th starting spot) and Jaremi Hanson (from 14th).
“It all just kind of played out there in that last lap,” Sweigart said in Victory Lane. “Those two guys were in a helluva race the entire race, and it’s just racing, they were trying their best, and I was sitting back there in third, could see what I needed to do, and it all worked out.
“I knew we were right there, and we just needed something to go our way, and that’s all we needed. I definitely had the car, the crew had it hooked up, and it all panned out.”
With 50 cars in the pits for this year’s race, the annual Founders Cup race for non-qualifiers also was good one, with the race’s defending winner Kassidy Kreitz providing an ending that all but equaled that of the feature.
Pole-sitter Drew Ritchey raced out to a nearly two second lead in the 15-lap event, only to have third-starting Kreitz reel him in over the final five laps. On the final lap, the two leaders needed to lap a slower car, and when Ritchey went high, Kreitz dove low and came out ahead on the final run down the straightaway.
The Rock-It Pizza & Subs/Maxim Chassis/Schannauer Plumbing & Heating #69’s margin of victory was two one-hundredths of a second.
“I really wasn’t sure,” Kreitz said in victory lane. “I knew it was going to be close, but I think that lap car held him up, and it definitely helped me there.”
Following Kreitz and Ritchey across the line were Jay Krout, Ohio’s Justin Clark and Wally Eshenaur.
Earlier in the evening, heat races for the field, which included drivers from six states, were won by Nagy, Rumsey, Sweigart, Erin Statler, Kruz Kepner and Scott Frack. Twin B-Mains went to Kyle Keen and Adams.
Despite the hard-to-top-that excitement for the Keystone RaceSaver Challenge, the PASS season still has two races to run this weekend. On Friday, the sprinters will join street stocks, extreme stocks, legends, road warriors and Pennmar cars for the first night of the 16th Annual Sunoco/Insinger Performance Nationals Fueled by Miller’s Racing Parts.
PASS returns to Port Royal Saturday night for the season’s third Open Wheel Madness program, featuring 410 and URC/360 sprints along with the IMCA/RaceSaver 305s. Racing is set to begin at 4:00 p.m.
Several other awards and honors were given during the Keystone RaceSaver Challenge program. See the PA Sprint Series Facebook for more details, or go to www.pasprintseries.com.
Race results from Keystone RaceSaver Challenge at Port Royal Speedway Saturday, October 12
HEAT 1 – 1. 45-Kevin Nagy; 2. 20-Doug Dodson; 3. 1-Tom Carberry; 4. 26-Ryan Lynn; 5. 23-Nathan Gramley; 6. 17K-Kyle Keen; 7. 53W-Jimmy White; 8. 2-Derek Hauck; 9. 44V-Daren Bolac.
HEAT 2 – 1. 1R-Christian Rumsey; 2. 61H-John Haegele; 3. 36-Jaremi Hanson; 4. 67-Ken Duke Jr.; 5. 880-Drew Ritchey; 6. 12-Joe Kay; 7. 69K-Kassidy Kreitz; 8. 91L-John Fiore.
HEAT 3 – 1. 8-Nick Sweigart; 2. 92-Dylan Proctor; 3. 6X-Brad Mellott; 4. 55-Dominic Melair; 5. 8B-Will Brunson; 6. 72-Dave Guss; 7. 39-Tom Humphries; 8. 88-Fred Arnold.
HEAT 4 – 1. 2-Erin Statler; 2. 11Z-Zach Newlin; 3. 77J-Jeff Geiges; 4. 97-Kenny Heffner; 5. 44-Jake Waters; 6. 28-Keith Prutzman; 7. 46-Mike Alleman; 8. 21M-Cassandra Minium; 9. 19-Tylor Cochran (DNF).
HEAT 5 – 1. 19-Kruz Kepner; 2. 95-Garrett Bard; 3. 12J-Jonathan Jones; 4. 50-Jay Krout; 5. 18T-Tim Tanner; 6. 99-Devin Adams; 7. 78-Justin Clark; 8. 25K-Matt Kline.
HEAT 6 – 1. 39X-Scott Frack; 2. 83-Larry McVay; 3. 79-Ian Cumens; 4. 41Z-Jared Zionkowski; 5. 5E-Wally Eshenaur; 6. 51-Dave Graber; 7. 31C-Chase Metheney; 8. 12-Roger Irvine (DNF).
B-MAIN 1 – 1. 17K-Kyle Keen; 2. 67-Ken Duke Jr.; 3. 55-Domenic Melair; 4. 26-Ryan Lynn; 5. 880-Drew Ritchey; 6. 69K-Kassidy Kreitz; 7. 23-Nathan Gramley; 8. 12-Joe Kay; 9. 72-Dave Guss; 10. 8B-Will Brunson; 11. 53W-Jimmy White; 12. 44V-Daren Bolac; 13. 2-Derek Hauck; 14. 88-Fred Arnold; 15. 91L-John Fiore; 16. 39-Tom Humphries.
B-MAIN 2 – 1. 99-Devin Adams; 2. 18T-Tim Tanner; 3. 97-Kenny Heffner; 4. 44-Jake Waters; 5. 50-Jay Krout; 6. 5E-Wally Eshenaur; 7. 41Z-Jared Zionkowski; 8. 51-Dave Graber; 9. 28-Keith Prutzman; 10. 78-Justin Clark; 11. 46-Mike Alleman; 12. 21M-Cassandra Minium; 13. 25K-Matt Kline; 14. 31C-Chase Metheney; 15. 19-Tyler Cochran. DNS-12-Roger Irvine.
KEYSTONE RACESAVER CHALLENGE FEATURE – 1. 8-Nick Sweigart; 2. 11Z-Zach Newlin; 3. 20-Doug Dodson; 4. 95-Garrett Bard; 5. 1R-Christian Rumsey; 6. 67-Ken Duke Jr.; 7. 99-Devin Adams; 8. 45-Kevin Nagy; 9. 77J-Jeff Geiges; 10. 36-Jaremi Hanson; 11. 79-Ian Cumens; 12. 97-Kenny Heffner; 13. 12J-Jonathan Jones; 14. 2-Erin Statler; 15. 92-Dylan Proctor; 16. 61H-Jon Haegele; 17. 18T-Tim Tanner; 18. 6-Brad Mellott; 19. 39X-Scott Frack; 20. 55-Domenic Melair; 21. Kruz Kepner (DNF); 22. 26-Ryan Lynn (DNF); 23. 83-Larry McVay (DNF); 24. 17K-Kyle Keen. DNS – 1-Tom Carberry.
FOUNDERS CUP – 1. 69K-Kassidy Kreitz; 2. 880-Drew Ritchey; 3. 50-Jay Krout; 4. 78-Justin Clark; 5. 5E-Wally Eshenaur; 6. 46-Mike Alleman; 7. 23-Nathan Gramley; 8. 41Z-Jared Zionkowski; 9. 91L-John Fiore (hard charger); 10. 2-Derek Hauck; 11. 8B-Will Brunson; 12. 72-Dave Guss; 13. 88-Fred Arnold; 14. 44V-Daren Bolac; 15. 31C-Chase Metheney; 16. 21M-Cassandra Minium; 17. 53W-Jimmy White; 18. 25K-Matt Kline; 19. 51-Dave Graber (DNF); 20. 19-Tylor Cochran (DNF). DNS – 12-Joe Key; 28-Keith Prutzman; 39-Tom Humphries; 12-Roger Irvine; 44-Jake Waters.