SELINSGROVE, Pa. — Blane Heimbach owns 36 career wins at his hometown track of Selinsgrove Speedway and three track championships in the 358 limited sprint cars.
But, a 410 sprint car victory had always eluded him.
The defending Port Royal Speedway track champion can now cross that off his list, too.
Heimbach, 32, grabbed the lead from Greg Hodnett and powered away to the $4,000 win on a blustery season opener on Sunday afternoon.
“This place has eluded me from a 410 win for a long time,” said Heimbach. “I’ve either wrecked, crashed, burned, blown up tires – anything you can think of to not win a race here. Today, it happened. It’s good to roll out of the gate nice and strong.”
Heimbach started seventh in the Jeff Creasy No. 12 as New York driver Justin Barger grabbed the early lead. The caution flew before one lap was completed when Pat Cannon’s car stopped in turn two with front-end damage.
Barger grabbed the lead again on the second start over Greg Hodnett and Chad Layton. Heimbach worked his way into the fourth spot as Barger increased his lead.
The caution flag flew again on lap nine when Brent Marks stopped with a flat right rear tire. Chad Kemenah also pitted at the time to change a flat.
Heimbach took third from Layton on the restart. Barger increased his lead, but then began to slow with a flat tire on lap 13. This handed the lead to Hodnett for one lap before Heimbach drove inside of him entering turn one to take over the top spot.
“My car was really good, especially toward the middle of the race,” said Heimbach. “I didn’t expect it to be that good. We made a couple of minor adjustments after the heat race. I had a terrible first start. I’m glad that one came back. I got going on the next start. The car was working good.”
Heimbach was leading by nearly two seconds on lap 17 when Hodnett’s engine blew and he stopped in turn two.
Layton took a shot at the lead on the restart, but Heimbach was too strong. The caution flew again with five laps to go, but Heimbach once again pulled away from Layton.
He would cruise the final five laps to score a 2.026-second victory over Layton, eighth-starter Mike Erdley, former Outlaw Lucas Wolfe and Steve Buckwalter.
“I gave it everything I had to try and get him on those restarts,” said Layton, also a former 358 sprint car champion at Selinsgrove. “I did my best — just came up a little short. Hats off to Blane, he’s doing real well. I kept plugging away at it, but we had a second place racecar and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Robbie Stillwaggon, Rick Lafferty, Kemenah, Davie Franek and Ryan Wilson were in the top 10.