Late pass pushes Heimbach

PORT ROYAL – Blane Heimbach passed Doug Esh as they raced to the white flag and went on to score the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek win at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night.

His third victory of the season at the Juniata County track was worth $5,000. It was his first win in Speedweek competition.

Heimbach, of Selinsgrove, led the first 13 laps of the main event before Esh drove by on a restart. Heimbach tracked him back down and made the winning pass off turn four with one lap remaining of the 30-lap main event.

“Doug did a super job on that restart getting by me,” Heimbach said. “I thought when I got through one and two and still had the lead, I was alright. He stuck it in under me in three. I couldn’t believe he made it in there. Then he set a pretty rapid pace for a while and all I could do was try to keep pace and give myself a chance at the end.”

Esh got the jump on Heimbach from the pole, but Heimbach would pass him and build a comfortable lead. The first caution flag flew on lap 13 for Logan Schuchart’s stopped sprinter in turn two. Danny Dietrich hit the first turn fence on the restart.

Esh, of Lancaster, blasted under Heimbach in turn three on the ensuing restart and completed lap 14 as the new leader. Brent Marks flipped in turn one bringing out the red flag.

Esh pulled away from Heimbach on the restart, but had a little trouble with a lapped car with five to go and then bumped the fourth turn wall a few laps later.

Heimbach went for the lead in turn three. They were side-by-side, inches apart, off turn four and Heimbach secured the lead down the frontstretch for the white flag.

“Toward the end, when he started freeing up, and I got the wing back and got after the middle,” Heimbach said. ” I ran it as hard as I could without overdriving my car. It’s nice when you can race against people like that and not wreck one another.”

Stevie Smith, Mike Erdley and Speedweek champion Greg Hodnett rounded out the top five.

“He’s fun to race with and we can run wheel-to-wheel,” Esh said. “We’ve had a ton of bad luck here. I wish we could have pulled it off, but the way our luck has been here, second is good enough.”

Danny Lasoski, Fred Rahmer, Lance Dewease, Steve Buckwalter and Dylan Cisney completed the top 10. Sam Hafertepe Jr. went into the night as the Speedweek point leader, but timed poorly, started last and finished 12th.

The Speedweek points chase became very tight with Hodnett leading Rahmer by 15 and Smith by 24. Hafertepe fell back to fourth, but only 27 behind the leader. Dewease was fifth and only 65 points out.

Schuchart set fast time over the 40-car field with a lap of 16.528. The eight-lap heat races were won by Erdley, Hodnett, Rahmer and Heimbach. Nate Snyder won the consolation.

In the 20-lap late model feature, Lewistown’s Nick Dickson grabbed the lead from Chad Hollenbeck on lap six and went on to score his second career Port Royal win. Mike Lupfer, point leader Terry Naugle, Derek Byler and Andy Haus rounded out the top five.

A.J. Hoffman, Brett Schadel, Eric Zembower, Patrick Bryner and Tim Wilson were in the top 10.

The heat races for the 27 car field were won by Byler, Naugle and Glenn Elliott. Schadel won the consolation.

Deron Henry won the 20-lap enduro dash.