PORT ROYAL, Pa. — Jeff Halligan utilized some timely restarts and took advantage of other drivers’ bad luck to bring home his first Weikert’s Livestock sprint car victory at Port Royal Speedway this season.
The win was the second of the young up and coming drivers career at the Juniata County oval and was worth $4,000.
Logan Wagner, Dylan Cisney, Jared Esh and Mike Wagner rounded out the top five.
“We were stumbling really bad on the starts and it’s something we need to fix, but It just must’ve been our night tonight,” said Halligan. “I just can’t thank all of my sponsors and crew enough. We’ve been trying so hard to get this car dialed in and we kind of took advantage some others misfortunes and I’m just so happy to be here.”
Tyler Walton and Western Pennsylvania invader George Hobaugh lined up on the front row for the 25-lpa feature and it was Walton getting the early jump on the field. Ryan Smith and Halligan, who started fifth and sixth, were early movers as the pair sat third and fourth at the completion of lap one.
Walton built up more than a two second advantage over Hobaugh by lap five, but by lap seven Hobaugh had chipped away nearly a full second on the leader. The following lap Walton closed in on lapped traffic and Hobaugh continued to chip away at the lead with Smith in tow.
However, Smith’s night came to an end three laps later when he slowed on the front stretch while running third with driveline issues to bring out the caution.
Hobaugh threw a slider on Walton entering turn one on the restart and briefly took the lead exiting turn two, but Walton powered back by down the backstretch. The battled opened up the door for Halligan, as he capitalized on Hobaugh’s lost momentum to pull even with the runner-up spot at the line the following lap. He moved into the second position officially one lap later and Cisney followed suit two laps later to move into a podium spot.
Walton looked to be in control, but his hopes of getting his first career 410 Sprint Car victory came to an end with eight laps to go when he slowed exiting turn four when his vision was blocked as a result of mechanical issues with his hood.
When Halligan’s motor stumbled on the start, Cisney threw a wild slider entering turn one and he briefly held the lead before Halligan crossed back under down the backstretch. The two again exchanged the lead in turn’s three and four, but it was Halligan again holding the lead with seven to go.
The two continued to jockey for position over the next two laps, with Halligan using every inch given to him to sneak back by for the lead each lap. It appeared Halligan may have finally gotten enough space between him and Cisney to go into cruise control with five laps remaining, but the final caution of the event flew one lap later when fourth-place running Hobaugh slowed in turn four with a flat tire.
CIsney tried a slider again on the restart, but again Halligan used the top side to pull ahead down the backstretch. The move opened the door for eighth-place starter Logan Wagner to enter the picture and over the next three laps Cisney and Wagner waged war for the runner-up spot.
With one to go, Wagner was able to capture the second spot officially, but it was too late as Halligan was off to the races. He crossed under the checkered flag by 2.690 seconds to earn the victory aboard his family owned No. 45 sprinter.