360 National Open Goes To Blane Heimbach

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360 National Open Goes
Blane Heimbach. (Dan Demarco photo)

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Blane Heimbach drove across town for a rare appearance at his home track and picked up the 19th annual Mach 1 Chassis National Open for 360 sprint cars after a thrilling duel with Mark Smith.

The $5,000 win in the 30-lap championship event was Heimbach’s fourth career in the race at the wheel of the Creasy Signs/Goff Racing No. 12.

Heimbach jetted to the early sprint car lead from the pole, leading Adam Carberry, Smith, Mike Walter and Curt Michael.

Carberry dogged Heimbach until lap three, when Smith moved to second. One of the early race favorites, Chad Layton’s engine started to show heavy smoke and he retired to the pits early.

As Heimbach negotiated the heavy traffic, Smith drew to his tail. Smith used a lapped car to shoot by Heimbach for the lead on lap 11, but Heimbach came right back.

By the middle part of the race, Kyle Reinhardt started his charge from the back, taking over fifth place and continuing to move forward.

Smith started to open a lead as Heimbach again drove through traffic, but as the laps wound down, Heimbach was back on Smith’s nerf bar. Heimbach retook the lead on lap 26 and started to pull away.

A spin by third running Derek Locke on lap 29 brought out the caution flag and gave Smith one last shot in a battle of former track champions.

Reinhardt tried to slingshot by Smith on the restart, but Smith held him off. This allowed Heimbach to pull away and win by just seven tenths of a second over Smith, Locke, Reinhardt and Carberry.

Sprint car heats were won by Keller, Smith and Heimbach.

In other racing action, Jim Bernheisel returned to victory lane when he wired the field for his fifth career win in the 25-lap super late model race. Bernheisel became the division’s ninth different winner this season.

Shaun Lawton made it five wins in a row in the 15-lap pro stock race.

The finish:

Feature (30 laps): 1. 12-Blane Heimbach ($5,000), 2. M1-Mark Smith, 3. 1W-Kyle Reinhardt, 4. 47C-Adam Carberry, 5. 33W-Michael Walter, 6. 5G-Curt Michael, 7. 29-Jason Shultz, 8. 19-Colby Womer, 9. 08-Jason Clauss, 10. 99K-Cody Keller, 11. 49-Mallie Shuster, 12. 66-Ryan Kissinger, 13. 11A-Austin Bishop, 14. 07-Matt Hoyt, 15. 11-Jim Shuster, 16. 12D-Steve Downs, 17. 07-Curt Stroup, 18. 77-Derek Locke, 19. 36-Tim Perry, 20. 6M-Chad Criswell, 21. 35-Chad Layton, 22. 669-Brandon McGough, 23. 5N-Brian Nornhold, 24. 17-Jason Wagner.

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