From Jeremy Elliott
Newberrytown, PA — (April 13, 2014) — Don Kreitz Jr. is one of the favorites any time the Sprint Car division rolls into Susquehanna Speedway Park.
The Sinking Springs driver rarely has a bad lap at the half-mile oval. He is precise and always seems to be on his game.
That’s what made last week’s mid-week practice session at the speedway so odd. According to Kreitz’s crew chief, Davey Brown Sr., it was the slowest the powder blue No. 69K has ever looked at the Newberrytown facility.
But Sunday night’s Spring Classic wasn’t practice. Kreitz was on point and the class of the 26-car field.
Kreitz’s car got better every time it touched the track. That led to another SSP Victory Lane celebration after he chased down Blane Heimbach and captured the 25-lap Sprint Car feature paying $3,500.
Heimbach held on for second, with Lance Dewease, Trey Starks and Danny Holtgraver completing the top five.
“We were slow,” Kreitz said. “We came back tonight and were a little better. We adjusted on it all night, and it made it better after hot laps, after the heat race and for the feature.
“It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.”
Heimbach was the rabbit early, exploding off the front row and opening up a huge lead over Dewease and Holtgraver.
Kreitz, the seventh-place starter on the grid, took fifth from Kyle Reinhart on lap 4 and shot to the bottom of the fourth corner one lap later to dispose of Brock Zearfoss for fourth.
Before Heimbach could encounter lapped traffic, Danny Dietrich, Justin Barger and Joe Trenca spun in Turn 1. On the restart, Kreitz cruised low in Turn 2 and grabbed third from Holtgraver and set his sights on Dewease.
The caution flags set up perfect for Kreitz. After Mark Smith spun in Turn 4 on lap 11, the SSP dominator ripped around the middle of Turn 4 and squeezed by Dewease coming down the frontstretch to complete the circuit.
Heimbach had his 10 car-length advantage wiped out on lap 15. Danny Dietrich and Freddie Rahmer spun, which allowed Kreitz to close.
But the restart didn’t go as expected. Heimbach pulled away and appeared like a contender for victory.
“I didn’t think I was going to get him,” Kreitz said. “I adjusted my line a little bit. I don’t know if his tires got hot or he slowed down, but a couple laps and we were able to pull him back in.”
Kreitz, known for pressing his car against the bottom on dry-slick surfaces, walked up a groove and cut Heimbach’s lead to a car length by lap 18.
Heimbach moved down to cut off the bottom. In most cases, that’s the right move with Kreitz running second.
Not on this night. Kreitz stalked Heimbach and completed a slide job through Turn 4 to take the lead on lap 19.
But Heimbach didn’t give. The two cars entered lapped traffic on lap 23, and he had a clear shot at Kreitz in Turn 4 before Trenca curiously came off the bottom and blocked Heimbach’s path.
“Kreitz is here more than [track owner] Todd Fisher,” Heimbach joked. “Anytime there is a test session, he is here.
“He has 40 million laps here and can run all over the place at this track. I thought I was good enough to beat him, but he got the preferred line before I did.”
Continued Heimbach, “I’m not going to make excuses, we got beat. But second is really good and, hopefully, we hit on something to get our slick-track program back on track.”
As for Kreitz, he sped away over the final lap and earned his 30th win at the speedway, which is fifth all time.
“This means everything,” Kreitz said. “After the way we ended last year, people said this is going to happen, that’s going to happen. I’m just so happy that we got one win in 2014.
“We got the win out of the way, and now we can relax. The guys did a really good job on the car, and I’m really happy.”
Tyler Ross captured an entertaining 358 Sprint Car feature over Brad McClelland and Chandler Leiby.
The lead changed hands four times over the race distance. Ross, who started ninth, was the last to take the top spot, blowing by Leiby one lap from the finish.
McClelland came on late for second. Brock Zearfoss and Scott Fisher followed Leiby and completed the top five.