Knight, Cox, Portlock near clean sweeps at Lakeport Speedway

Richard Knight (#15) leads while Robert Schmidt (#37) fades and Darrin Knight (#20) gains position in the NCRA modified main event at the Lakeport Speedway in Lakeport, California, on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Photo by Russell Bishop.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – It was a hot night at the Lakeport Speedway Saturday, not only in temperature, but in racing action for Darrin Knight of Kelseyville (NCRA Modifieds), Donovan Cox of Kelseyville (Taco Bell Bombers), and Ron Portlock of Ukiah (AAA Energy Solutions Pro-4 Modifieds) as each of these competitors had a near clean sweep in their respective classes.

Knight, who claimed his car was running badly all day, first took home the hardware in the modified trophy dash, went on to win the heat race, and led all but seven laps in the 30-lap Anderson Logging-sponsored feature event.

It was Knight’s first appearance at Lakeport this season. The only thing Knight did not lay claim to was the quickest lap in time trials. That honor went to NCRA points leader Mike Sullivan with his 12.845-second fast lap.

The modified main event saw Richard Knight and Robert Schmidt start in the first row with Darrin Knight and Ian Elliott in row two. Richard Knight forged ahead at the start. As Schmidt lost ground, Darrin Knight moved into second place followed by Jeremy Nowlin and Donovan Cox.

Darrin Knight accepts his trophy from NCRA officials Johnny Miskill and Matt Briggs at the Lakeport Speedway in Lakeport, California, on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Photo by Russell Bishop.

Darrin Knight pulled alongside Richard Knight on lap seven, and just as the cars were entering turn two, Richard Knight’s rear-end drifted high making slight contact with Darrin Knight’s car. The impact was just hard enough to send Richard Knight’s car into a spin in front of the tight pack.

All cars made it through, but before the race could get going again, Donovan Cox (doing double duty in both a modified and bomber) drove into the pits with an electrical problem. Cox’s crew worked under the hood for several minutes but could not get the car back on the track.

This put Nowlin next to Darrin Knight for the restart where they ran side-by-side for two laps before Darrin Knight pulled ahead. Nowlin dropped back on the outside allowing Sullivan and Elliott to gain position. Richard Knight pulled into the pits on lap 22, and at the checkered flag, it was Darrin Knight, Sullivan, Elliott, Nowlin and Schmidt. Cox was the recipient of the Mark and Sharon Baldwin Hoosier tire give-away.

In Taco Bell Bomber action it was Mike Collins who set a new bomber track record of 14.020 and kept Cox from having a perfect night. Cox had previously won the trophy dash and fast heat race.

Donovan Cox wins his second season victory in the Taco Bell Bomber class at the Lakeport Speedway in Lakeport, California, on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Photo by Russell Bishop.

Seth Chew stole the lead away from pole setter Amber Portlock at the drop of the green flag in the bomber 30 lapper with both Klinton Waite and Cox moving into second and third by lap four. Cox motored by Waite on lap five, but Collins was on a mission, passing both Waite and Cox on lap six and driving by Chew for the lead the following round.

Collins began to lap the back-runners on lap 16, but two circuits later his car slowed and headed to the pits with a broken rear-end. After a brief clean-up, the action was back underway with Cox pulling away from Waite, Clew, Jim Kollenborn and Trevor Abella.

Kasey Horat spun on the final lap, and as the cars scattered to get around him, Cox was first to cross the finish line. Kollenborn beat Waite by inches to claim second place, Waite was third followed by Abella and Chew. Chew was the other heat race winner.

A good field of seven Pro-4 Modifieds was reduced to only two by main event time. The heat was brutal on these four-cylinder cars, and engine problems side-lined Andy Leuzinger, Chris Straka, Mike Peterson and Wil Robertson’s cars. Then in the heat race, Anthony Gorrin lost control of the Johnny Barker’s #14 and drove the car hard into the turn three concrete wall.

Pete Graham (left) from the Graham 55 Foundation honors Ron Portlock with his Pro-4 Modified win at the Lakeport Speedway in Lakeport, California, on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Photo by Russell Bishop.

So after winning the trophy dash and heat race, Ron Portlock held off James Gard to score the main event victory. Robertson turned the quickest lap in time trials at 13.228.

Pete Graham of the Graham 55 Foundation donated $500 to the Pro-four drivers and made sure all seven went home with money in pocket. The Pro-4 Modifieds will take next week off to regroup but will return on Sept. 12.

The start of the Bandolero class saw 10-year-old Courtney Portlock of Lucerne race against 6-year-old Braydon White of Kelseyville. Courtney came in first in both the trophy dash and the main event. She gave one of her trophies to Braydon for sharing in her fun.

Racing resumes Saturday night, Aug. 22, with the NCRA Modifieds, The Taco Bell Bombers, the Legends Cars, the Late Models and the 4-Bangers.

Then on Sept. 12, the North State Modified Series will begin its four-race NSMS fall schedule beginning at Lakeport Speedway. Health regulations dictate still no spectators in the grandstands.

NCRA races at Lakeport Speedway are presented by Anderson Logging, Sullivan Const Masonry, Napa Lake Parts, Taco Bell, D&P Pools, Hillside Powersports, Clearlake Redi-Mix, Snap-On Tools, S&K Paving & Striping, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Lucerne Roofing, S & K Automotive, Under the Sun Garden Supply, Perkins Septic Tanks, Lake County Tribal Health, Don Anderson Attorney At Law, Coleman’s Custom Vinyl, Lake County Welders, Kelseyville Lions, Mike Sullivan Consulting, Lake Co. Waste Solutions, Gifford Backhoe Service and Majestic Landscaping.

Courtney Portlock climbs out of her Bandolero after her first race to celebrate her win at the Lakeport Speedway in Lakeport, California, on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Photo by Russell Bishop.