Local Devin Hart Wins First Time Out In Pro Stocks
Port Royal – Don Kreitz Jr. of Sinking Spring entered competition at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night for the first time in nearly four years and walked off with the 46th annual Tuscarora 50 sprint car triumph, worth $12,000 plus another $1,200 in lap money to take a total of $13,200 back to Berks County along with a trophy bigger than he for this third overall victory in the prestigious and classic event.
Kreitz made the decision to enter the event after helping teammate Ryan Smith race at the oval on Friday night and seeing the superior track surface on Friday.
“I have never seen the track here this good,” Kreitz said both before and after the Saturday races.
“I mean you could race anywhere you wanted, the bottom, the middle or the top, both nights.”
And the 40 sprint car drivers in the races on Saturday night used ever square inch of the historic half-mile as both Danny Dietrich and Brian Montieth admitted to using the outside wall as a balancing beam to sling their mounts around the turns on the high side.
“It probably wasn’t too smart, looking at it now,” Dietrich quipped after the race as the runner-up, “But it worked.”
Kreitz’s teammate Ryan Smith of Kunkeltown drew the pole for the 50-lap event while Kreitz himself got second for the start to make it an all Kreitz-car powder blue No. 69 front row for the start.
Adam Wilt and Tim Shaffer lined up in the second row with Lance Dewease and Danny Holtgraver in row three.
And when the green flag unfurled over the field of PA Posse and All Star Circuit of Champions drivers, Kreitz allowed Smith to lead only three-quarters of a lap before he pushed his No. 6K9 into the lead off of the fourth corner.
Kreitz was already entering lapped traffic with six away when the races first yellow flag appeared.
Again Kreitz entered the backmarkers in another six laps with Smith, Shaffer, Holtgraver and Dewease in tow but when the second yellow flew on the 15th circuit, fans were dazed in amazement at the show 24th starter Brian Montieth had been putting on to fly by one or two cars per lap and have himself sitting seventh for the restart.
When action resumed Montieth pushed his No. 21 up against the outside rail in the first turn to drive by both Cap Henry and Dewease and take over fifth and then to move by Holtgraver for fourth on the 18th circuit.
Dewease tried staging a comeback at this point and appeared to be showing all that his car had upon seeing Montieth get ahead and he briefly drove by Monetieth into fourth before the Phoenixville flyer drove even harder and higher to again get fourth on the 22nd tour.
And then on the 24th circuit Montieth plastered four-time All Star champion Tim Shaffer for third just before the lap 25 stoppage for refueling during which time teams could pour over their cars to make adjustments or changes.
Kreitz restarted with the lead over Smith, Montieth, Shaffer and Dewease with 15th starter Danny Dietrich up to sixth after getting rolling around the extreme topside of the track as well.
Montieth kept working his top to perfection, as did Dietrich when action resumed and the field again entered the backmarkers with 19 laps to go with the pair poised to pounce for the top spots.
Dietrich had driven past Shaffer for fifth on lap 28 and then Dewease for fourth spot with 20 to go.
As Kreitz held sway over the closing pair and a hounding Smith, Montieth and Dietrich whizzed into second and third with 18 laps left but Montieth would be the one to overtake Kreitz for the top spot.
He went out front on the 37th tour with Kreitz working traffic on the bottom but after seeing Montieth go by for control, Kreitz later said he, “Wiped his tears,” and moved up a lane and it worked.
The Sinking Spring pilot then began chugging through the middle of the track to run down Montieth’s quickly building advantage and flex his car through the middle of the third and fourth turns as the thousands of fans watched the exciting spectacle unfold as Kreitz split a lapped car on the bottom and Montieth to his outside and go back out front with just 10 laps left as Montieth lost his composure briefly and got shuffled backward.
A caution flag regrouped the field and slowed the dizzying event with six laps left when point leader and newly crowned sprint champion Blane Heimbach expired a motor on the front chute.
The restart now put Dietrich on Kreitz’s tail for racing after he got the spot amid the flurry of action for the lead.
Dietrich put up the best high wire act he could muster when the race again took off but was quickly slowed again with five to go when TJ Stutts spun to a stop.
Again Dietrich put all he had into a jaunt for control on the restart but by this time Kreitz wasn’t getting passed again as he went on to pick up the third Tuscarora victory of his career after taking his first two in 1993 and 1999.
It was his 12th career win at the oval and he credited 79-year old wizard veteran mechanic Dave Brown Sr. for the victory.
“Davey just had this thing perfect tonight,” 51-year old winner Kreitz said.
“Davey had this thing locked down. That thing in clean air was unbelievable.”
Kreitz talked about being passed by Montieth for the lead.
“Well, the first time I got to lapped traffic, I tried to roll around them,” Kreitz said. “I got one, but I couldn’t do anything.
“The second time, I would kind of hang in the middle and couldn’t do anything.”
“We changed the car a little bit at the break and when I saw Montieth go by, my heart sank a little bit,” Kreitz said.
“Once I wiped my tears away, I figured I needed to pick up the pace. We were lucky to get by him.”
Gettysburg’s Dietrich settled for second at the finish.
“We were really, really fast,” Dietrich said. “We got to second, and I thought we could make a run on him until the caution came out.”
“We ran really hard but when the race went back green, the tires sealed over. We had a good car and 15th to second, we’ll take it.”
With a twinkle in his eye, Montieth ended third in the race and admitted to having great fun during his exhibition of skill while racing mere inches from disaster for most of the race.
Smith fell to fourth at the finish with Dewease ending fifth.
Sixth through 10th went to Cap Henry, Tim Shaffer, Greg Hodnett, Mike Wagner and Holtgraver.
Heats for the 40-car field went to Adam Wilt, Stevie Smith, Dewease and Mike Wagner.
Brian Leppo won the B Main.
Tim Shaffer set quick time in qualifications with a lap of 16.827 seconds.
Dylan Cisney earned a provisional starting spot in the event as the highest driver in Port Royal points who didn’t make it into the show through the B Main while Mike Erdley received the $445 15th annual Will Gamble Determination Award as the second driver in line in points behind Cisney.
In the 15-lap pro stock main, an impressive display of skill by Juniata County native Devin Hart in his first pro stock start saw the youngster earn a hard-fought first-ever victory at the oval.
Hart started sixth in the field and watched as division powerhouse Tim Krape took the lead on the firth tour.
Hart was up to second behind Krape for the restart and he steadily applied heavy pressure to the track champion during the final 10 laps before strongly muscling by to his outside for the lead, racing just inches from the outside of Krape’s car.
Krape was the first person on the stage to congratulate Hart on his win when the smiling driver exited his racer for victory lane ceremonies.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Hart said.
Krape was second followed by Nate Fisher, Andrew Shoop and Kyle Rapp.
Heats went to Krape and Rapp.
September 7, 2013 feature finishes:
410 sprints, 50 laps, 40 entires: A-Main – (30 Laps)
1. 69K-Don Krietz Jr.; 2. 48-Danny Dietrich; 3. 21-Brian Montieth; 4. 69-Ryan Smith; 5. 27-Lance Dewease; 6. 54-Cap Henry; 7. 83-Tim Shaffer; 8. 39-Greg Hodnett; 9. 55-Mike Wagner; 10. 45-Danny Holtgraver; 11. 98-Doug Esh; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 13. 15-Adam Wilt; 14. 5-Dylan Cisney; 15. 7-Chad Layton; 16. 44-Rodney Westhafer; 17. 747-Davey Sammons; 18. 19-Stevie Smith; 19. 25-Jimmy Seger; 20. 2T-T.J. Stutts; 21. 12-Blane Heimbach; 22. 1A-Jacob Allen; 23. 56-Nate Snyder; 24. 1Z-Brian Leppo; 25. 2-Dale Blaney
Hard Charger: 21-Brian Montieth[+21]
Lap Leaders: Kreitz 1 – 36, 40 – 50; Montieth 37 – 39
DNQ: 19M-Brent Marks, O7 I-Cliff Brian, 8H-Keith Kauffman, O-Rick Lafferty, 75-Nicole Bower, 99M-Kyle Moody, 80-Trey Gustin, 11-Mike Erdley, 40-Caleb Helms, 27H-Lucas Wolfe, 25B-Tyler Bear, 55Z-Mark Zimmerman, O7-Mark Coldren, 20-Ryan Taylor, 33 Curt Stroup
Pro stocks, 15 laps, 13 entries: 1. Devin Hart, 2. Tim Krape, 3. Nate Fisher, 4. Andrew Shoop, 5. Kyle Rapp, 6. John Bouse, 7. Nate Stroup, 8. Kurt Wray, 9. Scott Landis, 10. Chase Bowsman, 11. Eric Cauffman, 12. Derrick Garman, 13. Jared Fulkroad