Anthony Perrego and Michael Norris Claim Victory during Sunday’s Speed Showcase at Port Royal Speedway

By: Justin Snyder

Sometimes in racing, it takes quite a while to gel with a new team. With different engines, different equipment and different opinions, that first year together can be rough on a driver.

However, Anthony Perrego is a racecar driver. And as you know, racecar drivers like to go fast. That includes finding success.

In only his second showing driving for Gary Simpson #12, Perrego outlasted Matt Sheppard to find victory lane Sunday, March 24th during the Speed Showcase at Port Royal Speedway and claim the $5,000 prize in the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco modified event.

“It’s really awesome to get this win. We gave up a chance to go to the Orange County (Fair Speedway) banquet to be here and we have a 10 grand paycheck sitting there for winning their championship. So this is pretty rewarding to know we’re sitting here in victory lane,” said Perrego, a native of Middletown, N.Y

Modified legend Jimmy Horton led the field to the green alongside of Danny Bouc and got out to the early lead before NASCAR Truck Series regular Stewart Friesen passed both cars at the start-finish line on lap 2.

Friesen would race out to a commanding lead, only to slow to a stop on the front stretch on lap 5 and hand the lead to Bouc, who had moved into second just before the yellow. Friesen would pit and rejoin the field.

Bouc led the field back to the green and would lead for several laps. Meanwhile, 8th place starting Matt Shepard began to make his trek towards the front, moving into 7th and lap 7 and sliding by Horton for 2nd on lap 10.

On lap 11 Shepard took the lead from Bouc using the low-side in turn 3 and raced out to a straightaway lead before beginning to battle lapped traffic on lap 17. In the meantime, Perrego, who started from the 11th spot, had moved into 2nd on Lap 14 and was cutting into the lead. By lap 20, Perrego was locked on the leader’s bumper as they picked off slower cars attempting to position themselves for the win.

Perrego would use the high side to overtake Shepard coming to the line on lap 22. Over the next 8 laps, Perrego and Shepard would alternate lanes on the track and swap the lead 4 times before Perrego used the bottom and made slight contact with Shepard to retake the lead for what was ultimately the winning pass on lap 30.

Perrego would lead the remaining 10 laps and take the checkered flag by a 2.118 second margin of victory over Shepard and 19th starter Matt Williamson in 3rd. Bouc and Brett Hearn would complete the top 5. Williamson, from Ontario, Canada, would also be the night’s hard charger, picking up a $250 bonus from Pioneer Pole Building’s Inc.

“He tried to move to the bottom, and I had to move him a little bit,” said Perrego of his pass for the lead. “I hate to do it, but you’re racing with one of the best and it’s awesome to beat him”

Shepard praised the track surface for allowing multiple grooves of racing and heaped praise on Perrego for taking the victory.

“It was so much fun to race out there, and the track was just really good. For a little while there it seemed like neither of us wanted to lead. But he was ultimately able to sneak by me out there and it was just a lot of fun,” said Sheppard, a native of Waterloo, N.Y.

Hearn, Ryan Watt, Craig VanHorn AND Mike Mahaney won the heat races.

Speedway promoter Steve O’Neal and STSS Modified promoter Brett Deyo announced that the series and event would once again return to Port Royal Speedway in 2020 on the same weekend.

LATE MODELS

Saxonburg, Pa’s Michael Norris won the 30-lap Zimmer Service Center United Late Model Series feature to pick up his first series victory as well in the later portion of the event.

Selinsgrove’s Dylan Yoder, piloting his dad’s number 27 following mechanical issues with his car earlier in the night, lead the field to the green alongside of Laurel, DE native Austin Hubbard. Hubbard would take the early lead and would continue until Mike Pegher slowed to a stop on lap 16 to bring out the caution and halt what looked to be a runaway performance.

Meanwhile, Norris, who started the feature in 6th place had worked his way into 3rd place. After another caution for a 3-car pileup on lap 17, Hubbard would once again jump out to the lead. Norris moved past Hubbard for 2nd on lap 18 and begin to track down Hubbard before pulling a slide job in turn 1 two laps later to take the lead.

Using the high side of the speedway, 10th place starter Gregg Satterlee moved into the top 3 on lap 20. Following a final caution for a slowing Michael Lake on lap 25, Norris would again lead the field back to the green, while Saterlee made his move to 2nd on lap 26. However, he would have nothing for Norris as he would take the 30-lap checkered flag by a margin of 1.345 seconds for the $3,000 prize.

Mason Zeigler, Max Blair and Michael Maresca would complete the top 5.

“We had a bad wreck in Florida with this car and I was skeptical if it was still any good,” said Norris. “Obviously it’s fitting my liking here pretty good. I can’t say enough about this track. It doesn’t get any better than that. You could race high, low, middle and that was a lot of fun.”

Heat races were won by Rick Eckert, Jason Covert, Yoder, Norris, Zeigler and Hubbard. 47 late models competed.

 

Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Velocita- USA South Region Event No. 2 Modified Feature Finish (40 laps):  ANTHONY PERREGO,Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson, Danny Bouc, Brett Hearn, David Van Horn Jr., Craig Von Dohren, Mike Mahaney, Rick Laubach, Danny Johnson, Jimmy Horton, Duane Howard, Jeff Strunk, Billy Pauch Jr., Mike Gular, Stewart Friesen, Brandon Grosso, Roger Henion Jr., Rex King Jr., Alex Yankowski, Andy Bachetti, Jordan Watson, Ryan Krachun, Richie Pratt Jr., Cale Ross, Ryan Watt, Matt Stangle

 

Did Not Qualify: Brett Kressley, Chad Brachmann, Ryan Anderson, Clay Tatman, Kyle Coffey, Billy Van Pelt, Erick Rudolph. 

 

LATE MODEL RESULTS

Michael Norris, Satterlee, Zeigler, Blair, Maresca, D. Yoder, Eckert, Covert, Hubbard, Rine, Bare, Cosner, Weaver, Haus, Ferree, Wonderling, Lee, Lupfer, Brouse Jr. Smith Jr., Lingo Jr., Myers, Dobson, Lake, Pegher, Robinson, Brewer, Knaub.

DNQ:  Tyler Horst, Tom Decker III, Tom Decker Jr., Lux, Whaley, Snyder, Larry Neiderer, Wilson, Dickson, John Weaver, Shaun Jones, Austin Berry, Dubois, Colton Flinner, Chris Casner, Stake, Trent Brenneman, Kyle Knap, J. Yoder