RJ Conley: “It was a lot worse than the one I took a couple weeks ago here.”
RJ Conley rolled two cars in three weeks at Portsmouth Raceway Park
On Saturday night the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series rolled into Conley territory. Portsmouth Raceway Park in Portsmouth, Ohio hosted the Bob Miller Memorial.
View the RJ Conley photo album below.
RJ Conley went to victory lane at this very track on August 4th. He picked up that win as the Ultimate Super Late Models came into turn. He returned on August 18th and rolled the car. He pulled out another one and was ready for the LOLMDS show.
It rained earlier in the week. It also rained hours ahead of the Lucas Oil Late Model event on Saturday night. Following hot laps, the track was torn up pretty good. Track officials brought out the tiller to smooth out the bumps.
Conley got his night started by setting the 4th quickest qualifying run in his group B session. In group A, Scott Bloomquist set a new track record.
The track was bad fast heading into the heat races. In the final heat race of the night, RJ Conley would start on the outside front row.
Brandon Sheppard nosed ahead of Conley on the bottom into turn 1. Conley stepped on the gas and the car took off on its own from there.
He smashed a rut, that sent the car sideways. When he landed, the energy sent the dirt late model skyward.
Conley barrel rolled through turn 1. Only, he barrel rolled longways. The car spun like a top with just the back bumper touching the race track. I’ve never seen a car barrel roll and stand straight up like this one did.
When he landed, the #71R landed directly on the roof of the drivers compartment. Shanon Buckingham started second row outside. He reacted quickly and spun his car sideways to slow down and try to avoid contact with the flipping car.
However, Buckingham spun backwards. His right rear rear made direct contact with the drivers compartment.
54-year-old, RJ Conley climbed from the car and was cleared by the medical staff. He came out with a sore neck and a few bruises.
As the car was towed back to the pit area it was inspected by several members. First, Rick Schwallie came over with a flashlight to see how the cockpit area held up to see if anything could be learned. Next, Mark Richards (the owner of Rocket Chassis) came over to inspect the race car as well.
First off, are you hurt in any way?
“Bruised. I’m not hurting that bad. It was a good roll. It was a lot worse than the one I took a couple weeks ago here,” RJ Conley told RacingNews.co from Portsmouth on Saturday night.
You rolled a couple weeks ago too. Same track?
Was it the same car? Was it repaired from the first one?
“No. That car’s done. So is this one. I’ve totaled two cars in three weeks at this place.”
I see that you loaded up. None of the family has a backup for you to roll out? Or you’re just calling it a night regardless?
“We all got two cars a piece. We’re just done for tonight.”
Tell me about how it happened?
“Me and Sheppard went into the corner. I went to the top. It’s just really fast and choppy up there.”
“You know, these cars… The way we got them setup anymore, they’re so snug to the track. And we got so much traction.”
“You hit the gas and these things lift up. I just caught that cushion wrong. Or the chop in the track, caught it wrong. It just took me over, quick.”
I saw them inspecting the car. Do you think there’s anything to be learned?
“Well, there’s always something to be learned. These XR1’s are … I’d have to say the toughest chassis out there.”
“Mark and Steve Baker, they do such a good job building these cars. They are safe. I’m thankful for that cause I’ve taken a couple good ones here.”
“I’m sure Mark will look at the car. If there’s improvements to be made, Mark and Steve will definitely make improvements.”