Career First for Kenny Heffner at Port with PASS
Kenny Heffner picked a good night to go from “most-likely-to-win-his-first-feature-soon” to “first-time-winner.”
With a huge crowd on hand for the World of Outlaws program Saturday at Port Royal Speedway, the Watsontown driver in the Morgan Paving/Maloney Builders/Coyle’s Lawn Maintenance/April Kline, Realtor #97 made his 50th PA Sprint Series start his first PASS victory in the 20-lap IMCA/RaceSaver feature. With top-five finishes in his last four starts at Port Royal, a pair of runner-up performances, and more near-misses than a target-shooting competition, Heffner obviously was ready, but that had seemed the case before.
This time it was for real, and Heffner, who had started sixth, sealed his win in the most electrifying way possible: passing 2020 IMCA/RaceSaver National Champion and 2020 and 2021 PASS Champ Garrett Bard for the lead with three laps left in the race. Bard, of Wells Tannery, held on for second spot, with Bloomingburg, N.Y., racer Justin Mills coming home third, 2019 IMCA/RaceSaver National Champion and PASS Champ Ken Duke Jr., of Selinsgrove fourth, and Dave Grube of York Haven fifth.
Doug Dodson, Devin Adams, Erin Statler, Mike Melair, and Roger Irvine rounded out the top 10. Starting on the pole, Duke grabbed the early lead but lost it to Bard on lap eight. But Heffner was picking his way to the front from his sixth starting position, and by the middle of the race, he was in a three-way duel with Bard and Duke. First he passed Duke on lap 15, and then on lap 18, he made the winning move. Caution flew shortly afterward for a slowing Drew Young, but on the restart, Heffner was able to hold off the high-powered challengers behind him and secure the win.
Adams picked up the Hard Charger Award from Penns Valley Meat Market, which also is the division sponsor at Port Royal. Adams advanced 10 spots from 17th starting position to seventh at the finish – including moving up seven spots on the first lap. Irvine improved his position by eight spots, and both Grube and 14th-finishing Branstin Shue moved up seven. Grube’s advance actually was understated, because he lost three positions on the first lap, then raced from 15th to fifth.
Heats for the 24 sprinters on hand were won by Kassidy Kreitz, Drew Young and Mills. The race was an invitational, limited to the top 26 teams in Port Royal points for the RaceSavers (two teams were not able to attend).
The race was part of a unique doubleheader, with PASS teams not in the top 26 of Port Royal points running at BAPS Motor Speedway along with racers from the Mid Atlantic Sprint Series, which runs in New Jersey as well as Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania. Next weekend the PASS series will run both Friday and Saturday nights at BAPS as part of the track’s Insinger Performance/Sunoco Nationals Fueled by Miller’s Racing Parts.
For the latest news and schedule information, visit www.pasprintseries.com, the PA Sprint Series Facebook page, or @pasprintseries on Twitter.
Results from Port Royal Speedway, October 9
HEAT 1 – 1. 69K-Kassidy Kreitz; 2. 25-Dustin Young; 3. 3D-Dave Grube; 4. 2-Erin Statler; 5. 54-Mike Melair; 6. 21-Andrew Boyer; 7. 36-Dom Melair (DNF). DNS – 53W-Jimmy White.
HEAT 2 – 1. 7-Drew Young; 2. 95-Garrett Bard; 3. 97-Kenny Heffner; 4. 20-Doug Dodson; 5. 88-Fred Arnold; 6. 99-Devin Adams; 7. 10-Jake Waters; 8. 8-Will Brunson (DNF).
HEAT 3 – 1. M1-Justin Mills; 2. 34-Austin Reed; 3. 67-Ken Duke Jr.; 4. 8-Nick Sweigart; 5. 46-Mike Alleman; 6. 12-Roger Irvine; 7. 03-Branstin Shue; 8. 1-Rowdy Heffner.
FEATURE – 1. 97-Kenny Heffner; 2. 95-Garrett Bard; 3. M1-Justin Mills; 4. 67-Ken Duke Jr.; 5. 3D-Dave Grube; 6. 20-Doug Dodson; 7. 99-Devin Adams; 8. 2-Erin Statler; 9. 54-Mike Melair; 10. 12-Roger Irvine; 11. 34-Austin Reed; 12. 69K-Kassidy Kreitz; 13. 8-Nick Sweigart; 14. 03-Branstin Shue; 15. 46-Mike Alleman; 16. 88-Fred Arnold; 17. 25-Dustin Young; 18. 10-Jake Waters; 19. 1-Rowdy Heffner; 20. 21-Andrew Boyer; 21. 7-Drew Young (DNF); 22. 53W-Jimmy White (DNF). DNS – 36-Dom Melair; 8-Will Brunson.
Photo credit: Angela Dmuchowski Article by:Frank Buhrman & Stephanie Dodson