Close racing, a first-time winner, and plenty of wild crashes were all a part of the action this past Saturday at Portsmouth Raceway Park, as PRP hosted the 19th Annual Fred Dillow Memorial.
By: Chuck Greenslate
Saturday night’s feature winners included Wheelersburg’s R.J. Conley in the Late Models, Lucasville’s Jeremy Rayburn in the Modifieds, Tollesboro, KY’s Robbie Lewis in the Limited Lates, and Frankfort’s Conard Newman in the Bombers. However, the Fred Dillow Memorial provides many more ways to win other than simply crossing the finish line first, which is partially why the race’s popularity has grown with every passing year.
The Fred Dillow Memorial brought PRP its largest car count of the season and one of the track’s largest 2013 crowds. A total of 131 race teams filled the PRP pits – 41 Late Models, 45 Modifieds, 22 Limited Lates, and 23 Bombers.
All arrived with hopes of winning a portion of the immense amount of prize money raised through the efforts of Edna Dillow, Sherri Dillow-Willis, Susan Dillow, and Steve Dillow along with their immediate family with the assistance of the event’s many sponsors, friends, and associates.
In total, the Dillow Family gathered over 70 sponsors and accumulated in excess of $16,000 – all of which was given back to the drivers. There were bonuses galore and increased pay in all divisions.
The first award of the night was presented during the drivers’ meeting and went to Richmond, IN’s Steve Casebolt for traveling the furthest distance in order to participate in the race. He received a total of $100 worth of gas cards from Keith and Tracy Ferguson as well as ProStar Designs. He also received a DeWalt Heavy Duty Small Angle Grinder from Tri-State Industrial Supply.
Then came one of the biggest cash bonuses of the evening – The Bozo Bragdon Memorial “Just Give Me One Lap” Late Model Time Trials. Grayson, KY’s Josh McGuire turned the fastest lap and pocketed $1,077 from the Bragdon Family, C & D Counters, and Hall’s Auto Parts. Bozo’s daughter, Whitney, did a beautiful job performing the national anthem prior to the start of the races.
As for other awards at stake in the Late Model Division, Wooster’s Doug Drown captured Sgt. Tim Moore’s Dash for Cash. Delmas Conley, R.J. Conley, and Ben Adkins were the Impact RaceGear Heat Race winners.
In the Late Model A-Main, Drown picked up a $50-dollar bonus from “Racin” Jason Perry Racing for the leading the first lap. R.J. Conley earned $625 for being the Ryan “P-Funk” Potter Halfway Leader. Rod Conley was the “Racers In Christ” Hard Charger.
Pete Holt was the Hard Charger in the Modified A-Main. He received $100 from Walker Construction in memory of Linda Walker. Jeremy Rayburn was the halfway leader in the Mod feature. He earned a $50-dollar bonus from Meadows Photos 4 U.
The H & H Continuous Guttering Hard Charger in the Limited Late Model Division was Evyian Terry. The Stephens Towing & Repo Hard Charger in the Bombers was Kenny Aldridge, who also received the Bud Newman Memorial Trophy for advancing the most spots.
Late Model feature winner R.J. Conley (right) was awarded a custom-made Fred Dillow Memorial Mirror from Off-The-Wall Kustom T’s. All A-Main winners received large cardboard checks from Graphic Creations and will receive posters from Mark Bias at Mark’s Photos.
Unfortunately, not everyone was a winner. The night witnessed three grizzly-looking crashes. Late Model driver Rod Evans slapped the back-stretch wall then hit head on entering turn three. In another race, Late Model competitor J.T. Conley flew up and over top a spinning Tony Roush before landing back on his tires.
While the Late Model accidents were wild, perhaps the most bizarre wreck occurred in the Modified Division when Shawn Holiday got airborne and crashed head first into the front-stretch catch fence which sent him into a rapid pirouette spin. Thankfully, all drivers involved in these crazy crashes walked away uninjured.
At the Fred Dillow Memorial, even some of the less fortunate earned a little something. Robbie Hensley in the Late Models, Larry Holbrook in the Modifieds, Vincent Bender in the Limited Lates, and Jeremy Brady in the Bombers all earned Dangerous Dan Aldridge Tough Break Awards in their respective features.
As for the racing action itself, there were plenty of storylines. R.J. Conley started the Late Model A-Main seventh, climbed to fourth in the first lap, made it to third by lap 9, and passed Drown for the lead on lap 22. Josh McGuire made things a little interesting late as he moved from fourth to second on lap 45 of the 50-lap race. McGuire finished as the runner-up with Steve Lucas, Nick Bocook, and Steve Casebolt rounding out the top 5.
The Tri-State Industrial Supply Modified A-Main brought a first-time PRP winner. Jeremy Rayburn (right) finally got the Portsmouth Raceway Park monkey of his back. For years Rayburn has been coming to PRP. His father, Tim, used to race there on a regular basis. His mother, Donna, has worked at the track for nearly 20 years and now serves as the track promoter.
Since Jeremy began racing, he has enjoyed a great deal of success as a driver but had suffered nothing but one bad break after another in Portsmouth. His luck finally changed this past Saturday. The defending UMP Ohio State Champion was completely dominant leading all 20 laps. Todd Robinson, Brian Whiteman, Jimmy Lenex, Jr., and Aaron Pendleton made up the remainder of the top 5.
Robbie Lewis (left) led every lap of the Giovanni’s Wholesale Limited Late Model A-Main. The defending track champ was followed by Matt Melvin, Jamey Adams, Mike Meyers, and Cameron Logan. Conard Newman was the class of the H & H Continuous Guttering Bomber feature. Jeremie Bretz, Corey Lewis, Zach Pendleton, and Joe McGinnis rounded out the top 5.