Zach Newlin Repeats as Hard Charger at Port’s Labor Day Classic
Millerstown, PA Wheelman Ready to Prove Himself in the 410 Division
Millerstown, PA – September 8, 2021
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Late in the 2020 season, Zach Newlin got his long-awaited first shot in a 410 sprint car. He was able to get a dozen or so races under his belt during that opportunity. It was long enough though that he knew for certain he was hooked. Open seats are not plentiful by any stretch of the imagination in the top winged division. “Zach Daddy”, as he is known by his fan base, was patiently planning, hoping, and waiting for his next opportunity.
Enter Allen Pryde. He was the man with an open seat who dialed Zach’s number a few weeks ago with the idea they should run a few races together to finish out the 2021 season. Newlin agreed to the deal, which included his brother and long-time crew chief Lance Newlin to help with the car.
Saturday 9/4: 31 cars, Heat 6th, B-main 7th
The new combination decided to kick off their venture at Port Royal Speedway’s Saturday night Juniata County Fair opener. The $5,000 to win show for 410 sprint cars drew a healthy field of 31 teams, which were divided into four 8-lap heats lined up by a random pill draw. The top five finishers from each would transfer to the A-main, with the top 3 handicapped to shape the first six rows of the starting lineup.
When a new team is formed, everyone has realistic expectations. Those who have been in the sport for any amount of time know it takes time for members of the team to learn how to communicate and to make the driver comfortable in the car.
Things seemed to get off to a good start for Newlin. Despite an undesirable pill draw that handed him the 8th starting spot in the second heat, the Millerstown, PA native immediately bolted forward into 6th position on the opening lap. He then began to challenge Justin Whittal for the final transfer position. A couple slide job attempts to claim that 5th position didn’t stick and Newlin ultimately finished 6th, missing the transfer by one spot, but putting himself in good position to hopefully transfer through the B-main.
The top four finishers from the 8-lap B-main would fill out the starting field for the 25-lap feature. Newlin started outside the front row but lost ground on the initial green flag when the rear end of his XXX Chassis got loose and left him sideways in front of the field. He managed to regain the handle but not before losing a handful of spots. The last chance race was too short and went without a caution, giving Zach no chance to recover and get back to a transfer spot. He ended his night in 7th in the B-main but short of the end-result, there were certainly positives that came out of the first night together for the team.
Monday 9/6: 39 cars, Qualifying 6th in group, Heat 5th, B-main 3rd, A-main 6th
Pryde Motorsports and Zach Newlin returned to Port Royal Speedway Monday for the 70th Annual Labor Day Classic, ready to tackle the tricky daylight surface in the Del Grosso, Gio’s BBQ, Robert Lee Jr. Trucking, R&B Auto Proz, Quality Masonry, Grove Financial & Associates, Dillman Hauling, Ron’s RV Sales No.29.
The format for the 39 teams signed in for competition utilized a slightly different time trial approach, dividing the teams into five groups for hot laps and logging each car’s best lap time during the session as their qualifying time. Newlin was part of a very experienced Group 2 but managed to log the 6th quickest time in the group.
Teams remained in their groups for 8-lap heat races, from which the top six finishers transferred to the feature. The heats were lined up “heads up” based on qualifying time, therefore putting Zach in the 6th starting spot in the second heat. Like Saturday, Newlin got a good start and moved forward on the opening lap, this time claiming the 5th position. He did everything he could to run down T.J. Stutts for the 4th spot but had to settle for 5th.
Newlin started Monday’s 12-lap B-main from outside the second row. He settled into 4th early but claimed 3rd at the halfway point of the race with a daring move low in turn one on a restart. Late in the race Zach was able to slip into 2nd briefly on two occasions. On the first the caution flag flew before the lap was complete and on the second occasion, he lost the position to Jared Esh before the lap was scored.
In preparation for their 23rd starting spot in the 25-lap finale, the Pryde Motorsports team made adjustments to Newlin’s car to keep up with the ever-changing daytime surface. During the opening laps, Newlin settled into 22nd and seemed to be stuck there. However, as the feature event unfolded and took its usual toll on competitors, the changes certainly appeared to be the right ones. Between laps six and thirteen, Newlin used a combination of green flag passes and help from attrition to find himself in 10th position.
The track had started to take rubber, which means there is a groove that is highly advantageous because the surface is sticky. If a driver misses that line, they lose spots. Following a restart just beyond the halfway point, Newlin used excellent car control to stick to the low line around the speedway and pick off the competition one by one.
With seven laps remaining, Newlin had captured the 6th spot and set his sights on a top five finish. While he wasn’t able to reach that goal, his 23rd to 6th run (+17 spots) earned him the Hard Charger Award for the second consecutive Labor Day event at Port Royal Speedway. In 2020, Newlin advanced 13 spots to claim the bonus prize.
“I really want to thank Allen (Pryde) for the opportunity. I’m thankful to get a second shot in the seat of a 410 sprint car“, Newlin shared. “We had a little luck on our side Monday, but we weren’t too bad either. He has nice equipment. We just need laps to dial it in better“.
Zach and the Pryde Motorsports team plan to return to Port Royal Speedway for the Night Before the 50 on Friday and the Tuscarora 50 on Saturday.
Learn more about Zach Newlin at: https://addicted2dirtpr.com/home/drivers/zachnewlin/
Follow Zach’s season at: https://addicted2dirtpr.com/latest-news/
Newlin Racing on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewlinRacing
Newlin Racing on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NewlinRacing
Zach Newlin (29) goes wheel to wheel with Gerard McIntyre (33) off turn 2 at Port Royal Speedway
feature photo credit: Unique1 Photography / Tracy Mackereth
Photos from Port Royal Speedway 9/4 & 9/6
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