PORT ROYAL, Pa. — Blane Heimbach is off to a hot start in central Pennsylvania 410 sprint car racing.
Heimbach has two wins in the early season and those came in his only two starts so far in the Jeff Creasy No. 12.
Heimbach, a farmer by trade from Selinsgrove, Pa., won the season opener at his hometown track of Selinsgrove Speedway on March 23. That win was worth $4,000 and was his first career 410 sprint car win at Selinsgrove.
Two weeks later, Heimbach was in victory lane again.
This time it was in Port Royal Speedway’s season opener and worth $3,300. Two wins and $7,300 is not a bad way to start the season.
Heimbach won five races and the Port Royal Speedway track championship last season.
He beat Chad Layton in the Port Royal and Selinsgrove openers. Heimbach and Layton have a history that dates back 10 years when both drivers were racing 358 limited sprint cars at Selinsgrove. Both are three-time Selinsgrove track champions and rank second and third in all-time wins.
Layton has two Port Royal track titles coming in 2010 and 2012. Heimbach’s first was last year. Layton finished second in the final points.
Both have moved onto the big sprints now, but it appears their rivalry is far from over.
The team focuses on Port Royal and special shows at Susquehanna Speedway Park. Heimbach is a farmer by trade so time off from work is not always an option to race. His crew also has full-time jobs. Championship winning crew chief Tim Elwell helps Heimbach at the track only. They may travel to a few more time trial races this year.
“We try to be as smart as we can with this,” said Heimbach. “We’ve got a lot of good help right now. We’re trying to protect everybody’s investment as best we can. We haven’t been in this 410 deal that long and when you have good people behind you; you want to keep them behind you and not put them into the ground.”
• Six races have been run so far in Central Pa. for the 410 sprints. Adam Wilt, Danny Dietrich and Jimmy Siegel have won at Lincoln. Heimbach has a Selinsgrove and Port Royal win. Gerard McIntyre Jr. opened up Williams Grove’s 75th season with a win two weeks ago.
• The harsh, extra-long winter has canceled several races already and even this weekend was cold and windy for racing on Saturday night.
• The 360 sprint car era at Selinsgrove Speedway will wait one more week to start as the opener was postponed by the cold weather. Selinsgrove will transition from the 358 limited sprints to 360 sprints this season.
• Hall of Famer Fred Rahmer is retired now, but is very busy. His boys are racing 410s at Lincoln on Saturday nights. Freddie has qualified for two races and Brandon one so far. He also owns a car, along with Dave Pritchard, for Stevie Smith to run at Williams Grove on Friday nights.