Stevie Smith Wins 44th Tuscarora 50, Wagner gets track title and Labor Day crown – Jeff Rine wins late models to close Port season

  9-10 Port Royal – Stevie Smith of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, scored the second Port Royal Speedway Tuscarora 50 of his career on Saturday night in convincing style with a flag to flag victory in the 44th annual running of the prestigious season-ending event.

The Jake’s Carts/AB Auto Glass Tuscarora 50 boasted a stellar 45 sprint car field.     

Smith scored a clean sweep of the night by claiming his heat race, worth $300; the dash, worth $100; and the feature worth $11,000 plus lap money; making his take on the night worth nearly $13,000. 

The victory was the 11th of Smith’s career at the track and his second in the Tuscarora 50 after first scoring the event back in 1988.  His father, Steve Smith, was the 50 champion in 1975. 

In the 20-lap AB Auto Glass late model main it was Danville’s Jeff Rine coming out on top to notch his third checkers of the year at the oval.

Smith earned the pole for the Jake’s Carts/AB Auto Glass Tuscarora 50 by winning the dash and drove into the lead at the drop of the green flag.

He was chased from the start by second-starter Justin Henderson and 2007 50 titlist Doug Esh.

The trio entered the rear of the field on the ninth circuit and in traffic Henderson was able to drive Smith down while the front three put distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.

While never able to get a nose under Smith for the lead, Henderson did narrow Smith’s advantage to a few car lengths at times with Esh just behind. 

The one and only caution flag of the first 25-lap segment came out with 22-laps down when point leader Ryan Taylor looped his mount at the front of the field shortly after being put a lap down.

Taylor kept going and fell back in line while racing for the 2011 track title with Mike Wagner, who was running seventh at the time. 

The restart with three to go in the first half saw Smith jet away to the break over Henderson, Esh, eighth-starter Danny Dietrich and Todd Shaffer. 

Shaffer had lost fifth to Blane Heimbach a few laps earlier but regained the spot before the half thanks to a flattening right rear tire on Heimbach’s racer. 

The second 25-laps was all Smith aboard the Zemco No. 1 as he was never heeded for the win. 

The segments only caution flag unfurled with 17 laps to go at which time it was still Smith over Henderson and now Dietrich who had disposed of Esh on lap 26. 

Late in the race Dietrich began chomping into the front two cars’ advantage and with four to go he bit fast and drove by Henderson with a low move out of the second corner.

Over the final two miles, Aspers’ Dietrich cut into Smith’s lead dramatically but came up short of time to pull off the victory, instead finishing within striking distance as the bridesmaid.

Justin Henderson was third followed by Esh. 

Racing for the track title with 11 laps to go, Mike Wagner moved into the top-five after getting by Shaffer to finish there and end his night as the 2011 track champion by a scant 15-point margin over Perkasie’s Ryan Taylor. 

Sixth through 10th went to Shaffer, Daryn Pittman, Lance Dewease, Chad Layton and Greg Hodnett.

Heats worth $300 for the 45-car field went to Smith, Shaffer, TJ Winegardner, Wagner and Esh.  The B Main was taken by Brent Marks. 

As the chosen Hard Luck driver of the feature, Blane Heimbach picked up just over $1,000 in cash as the prize award.  After starting ninth in the stellar field, he wrestled his way forward to break into the top five only to suffer a flat tire.

Four-time 50 champion Fred Rahmer received the $2,000 Ed Swartz Memorial Hard Charger Award.  After squeezing out the final transfer spot in the B Main, Rahmer started 24th in the feature and drove forward to 11th to earn the honors.  

Mike Wagner was also declared the 60th annual Foss Jewelers Labor Day Classic champion by virtue of his run in the Tuscarora 50. 

After the individual event itself was rained out on Labor Day, the driver with the best average in all races run at the track during Labor Day week from September 3 through 10 was used to determine the champion.

Coupled with his September 3 finish of fifth and a fifth in the Tuscarora 50, Wagner Walked off with the title and a $500 prize.

Danville’s Jeff Rine got by polesitter Bob Dunn on the second lap after starting fifth in the late model main. 

Once in front, Rine took his third win of the season at the oval over Mitch Hack, Dunn, Mike Lupfer and Todd Snook.

Sixth through 10th went to Steve Campbell, Andy Haus, Eric Zembower, Chris Casner and Scott Haus.

By entering competition, Hamburg’s Haus notched an unprecedented eighth track title in the division.

Heats for the 31-car late model field went to Matt Parks, Rine and Chad Hollenbeck.  Bobby Stokes took the consolation race. 

After suffering a rainout on Friday night, Brian Towsey is the 2011 Miller’s Auto Parts pro stock track champion.  Jen Powell scored the Juniata Tire Sales Enduro Dash track title on September 3.   

With thousands of dollars worth of cash and products having been distributed to the racers during the Tuscarora 50 weekend, Port Royal Speedway thanks the following sponsors for their support of the event:

Brown’s Funeral Home, First National Bank, Lingle’s Distributing, Lelands.com, Terry and Shane Ritzman, Tilton Hilton, Kens Coins & Jewelry, 21st Century Fireplace, Jack Gaughen Hower & Associates, Penske Shocks, CH Burns Inc., RE Davidson & Sons, Grid Iron Pub, Juniata Beverage, Pasquariello’s Auto Shop, York County Racing Club, Buttonwood Campground, Competition Tire East, Rider Racing Engines, Ti22 Performance, Moose Blocks, Penske Shocks, DMI, Goshorn’s Racing Supplies, VRP Shocks, Cargo Trailer Service and Wings Unlimited.

Feature Finishes

September 10, 2011

Tuscarora 50 for sprint cars, 50 laps: 1. Stevie Smith, 2, Danny Dietrich, 3, Justin Henderson, 4. Doug Esh, 5. Mike Wagner, 6. Todd Shaffer, 7. Daryn Pittman, 8. Lance Dewease, 9. Chad Layton, 10. Greg Hodnett, 11. Fred Rahmer, 12. Mark Smith, 13. Blane Heimbach, 14. Brian Leppo, 15. Steve Buckwalter, 16. Mike Erdley, 17. Dylan Cisney, 18. JJ Grasso, 19. TJ Winegardner, 20. Ryan Taylor, 21. Keith Kauffman, 22. Kevin Nouse, 23. Frank Cozze, 24. Brent Marks, 25. Dan Shetler

Late Models, 20 laps: 1. Jeff Rine, 2. Mitch Hack, 3. Bob Dunn, 4. Mike Lupfer, 5. Todd Snook, 6. Steve Campbell, 7. Andy Haus, 8. Eric Zembower, 9. Chris Casner, 10. Scott Haus, 11. Gary Beward, 12. Tim Wilson, 13. Waylon Wagner, 14. Lindsay Barton, 15. Tim Murphy, 16. Jeff Miller, 17. Steve Stitt, 18,. Patrick Bryner, 19. Bobby Stokes, 20. Dylan Yoder, 21. MAtt Parks, 22. Terry Naugle, 23. Matt Murphy, 24. Chad Hollenbeck