ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. – After a 24th-to-12th effort last weekend at Lincoln Speedway for Tim Shaffer and Heffner Racing Enterprises, the veteran sprint car driver was feeling confident about his new team.
“I have that feeling that this can go somewhere,” Shaffer said last weekend.
On Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Speedway, Shaffer fueled those words with his first 410 sprint car win of the season in convincing fashion. The 53-year-old veteran stormed the damaged machine of Hunter Schuerenberg with four laps to go, rolling to a 2.409-second victory and $4,000 prize.
Schurenberg, who broke a left front shock midway through the race, held on to finish second on a frigid day that hovered in the mid to upper 30s.
“Me and [crew chief] Heath [Moyle] seem to have hit it right off at the beginning,” Shaffer said in victory lane. “That means a lot.”
“I thought they were all racing crazy for racing today, and it turned out great for us,” Shaffer added. “The track got better and better as the day went. Hats off to [car owner] Mike Heffner, [crew chief] Heath [Moyle], and the guys. This one is for Greg [Hodnett].”
It is Shaffer’s third sprint car win of the young year and first in a 410. The Pittsburgh native, in his first year for Heffner Racing Enterprises and the team’s fourth driver since the death of Hodnett more than two years ago, also has 360 sprint car wins at East Bay Raceway Park and Southern Raceway in Florida this year.
Last week, if it wasn’t for an unlucky pill draw, Shaffer may have been the car to beat in his 24th-to-12th run. On Saturday, he cashed in on a clear view of the front. Shaffer raced to an easy victory from the pole of his heat before drawing the third starting position for the 30-lap feature.
In the opening seven laps, Shaffer slipped to fourth and the race had three stoppages — two for Chad Trout and a red flag for seventh-running Steve Buckwalter, who flipped for the second week in a row.
From that point on, though, Shaffer dialed in his No. 72 machine. On the ensuing restart, Shaffer shot around Billy Dietrich for third and immediately chased down pole-sitter Glenndon Forsythe for second.
With 12 laps to go, Shaffer found his way around Forsythe while Schurenberg held on as he approached lapped traffic. Not only did Schuerenberg nurse a broken shock and damaged front wing from an earlier incident, but he jarred the fuel system loose.
The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions driver felt fuel enter the cockpit and at that point it was about keeping the car smooth, preventing any potential flammable movements.
“I really wish we didn’t have that mishap with a lapped car there,” Shuerenberg said. “Our car was exceptional. It was really good. We bent the right front torsion tube there and broke the left front shock off it. I think we maybe could have dealt with that, but when I hit that guy something in the fuel system jarred loose. My legs were soaked in fuel. The last thing I wanted to do is slam on the brakes real hard.”
Shaffer stormed underneath Schuerenberg as the two took the four-to-go signal and distanced himself from there.
“I could really bend the corner and come off low, which is hard to do here,” Shaffer said. “Heath gave me a great race car. That was key today. Guys were pushing it up the track and I could sneak by on the bottom. Just a great car. … Everything is really coming together.”
Billy Dietrich finished third, while Forsythe settled for fourth. Kyle Moody finished fifth, his second-straight top five to start the year.
Danny Dietrich charged to sixth from 15th. Freddie Rahmer, Tim Glatfelter, and Rick Lafferty rounded out the top 10.
Kerry Madsen came 11th in his debut for Barshinger Racing. Last week’s winner, Tim Wagaman, finished 15th from 21st.
Tim Shaffer, Hunter Schuerenberg, Billy Dietrich, Glenndon Forsythe, Kyle Moody, Danny Dietrich, Freddie Rahmer, Tim Glatfelter, Rick Lafferty, Kerry Madsen, Tyler Ross, Matt Campbell, Anthony Macri, Tim Wagaman, Dylan Norris, Trey Hivner, Steve Buckwalter, Chad Trout, Scott Fisher, Brandon Rahmer, Bradley Howard, Alan Krimes, Jordan Givler.