Blaney wins Port Royal opener, again
PORT ROYAL – NASCAR star, former World of Outlaws Champion and former Port Royal Speedway opening day winner Dave Blaney of Cortland, Ohio, picked up a surprising but pleasing win in the 2013 season opener for sprint cars at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night.
For Blaney, at the wheel of his No. 10 – a car specially designed and built by himself – it was a second career opening day Port victory, his last coming on March 17, 1984.
Worth $3,300, the victory was the third of Blaney’s overall career at the track, where he also scored a Tuscarora 50 win in 1983.
In the 20-lap late model main, Scott Haus led from start to finish to pick up his 96th career oval win despite heavy pressure from hard hitters Chad Hollenbeck, Mike Lupfer and Brett Schadel.
Keith Garman was awarded the win in the 15-lap pro stock main after Tim Krape failed to pass post-race inspection.
The 25-lap sprint car main, though exciting, was a marathon event that started off with a red flag before the first lap could be completed.
The team cars of Cliff Brian and Mark Coldren started the race on the front row and just after crossing the stripe in an effort to complete the first lap, Coldren hit the inside wall and shot across the track, getting hit hard by Mike Erdley as well as the outside wall.
After a lengthy extrication, Coldren climbed from the car under his own power.
Brian held the lead for four circuits before the red again appeared, this time for defending opening day winner Greg Hodnett, who touched wheels in the fourth turn and careened hard into the outside wall just past the pit entrance.
Rick Lafferty and Lance Dewease restarted second and third when action resumed with Lafferty threatening to challenge before a caution regrouped the field with nine away.
The red flag again unfurled with 12 laps down, this time for a turn one connection between Davey Sammons and Mike Ruttkamp when at the same time Doug Esh and Mike Wagner made contact on the back chute.
Dewease flexed his muscle on this restart and raced a lane higher into the first corner and handily drove into second before setting sail for leader Brian. He caught the leader when on the 19th circuit his right rear tire flew to pieces, causing his No. 27 to roll over after twirling out of control.
The restart placed Lafferty and Blaney in tow and it soon was clear that Blaney was taking a page out of Dewease’s book by blasting through the middle of the turns a lane higher than those in front.
And as the trio raced with just over three laps to go, Blaney again blasted the middle through the third and fourth turns when leader Brian’s car jumped out of gear, which in turn stunted Lafferty’s pace and the pair then watched as Blaney completed a two car pass for the lead and win.
At the finish, Blaney’s margin of victory was 2.822 seconds.
Lafferty rode home second followed by 20th starter Blane Heimbach, Chad Layton and Brian. Sixth through 10th went to Dylan Cisney, Keith Kauffman, Nate Snyder, Doug Esh and Dave Hahn. Heats went to Mike Erdley, Coldren and Brian.
Erdley set a new one-lap track record in his heat, posting a time of 15.634 seconds, wiping out Tyler Walker’s 11-year-old mark.
A new eight-lap record set by Erdley in his heat fell moments later when Mark Coldren put up a time of 2:07.043; Walker set those records in 2002 as well.
In the late model feature, Haus started third in the field and drove up the inside and into the lead on the first lap, surpassing front row starters Chad Hollenbeck and Steve Campbell.
The first 13 circuits went non-stop with Hollenbeck racing second before Campbell got by for second just before the caution flag unfurled.
The ensuing double file restart saw Mike Lupfer blast into contention, moving from fourth to third behind Hollenbeck as Campbell drifted back and out of the event.
And with a final restart with three laps to go, Lupfer had stormed by Hollenbeck as did sixth starter Brett Schadel and the pair motored after Haus to the finish with a surging Schadel up to second at the finish, some .675 seconds behind.
Third went to Lupfer with 10th starter Chris Casner fourth and 15th starter Derek Byler fifth. Heats went to Hollenbeck, Campbell and Haus.
Tim Krape led all 15 laps of the pro stock main but failed to meet post-race inspection, surrendering the victory to Keith Garman.
Garman originally finished second only after spinning out with two laps down, going to the rear and coming back to reclaim second in the last few loops.
Andrew Shoop ended up second in the final order followed by Dusty Baker, Scott Landis, Nate Fisher, A.J. Stroup and then Krape.