By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
PORT ROYAL -- A last minute decision turned into a $12,000 payday for Donnie Kreitz Jr. on Saturday night.
The 51-year-old veteran from Sinking Spring didn't even have the engine in his race car on Saturday morning. By nights end, he was standing in victory lane having led all but three of the 50 laps in the 46th annual Tuscarora 50 for the 410 sprint cars at Port Royal Speedway.
"I really like running this race and we were here on Friday night and we saw how nice the track was and how wide it was and we weren't even thinking about coming up here," Kreitz said.
By virtue of starting the feature, Selinsgrove's Blane Heimbach was crowned the 410 sprint car track champion as the two-day Tuscarora weekend closed out the season-long points battle at the speedway.
Kreitz, who won the Tuscarora 50 in 1993 and 1999, had not raced at the track in nearly four years.
He started on the outside pole thanks to the draw for the top-two finishers in each heat race.
He gained control of the feature at the drop of the green when he led teammate Ryan Smith into Turn 1. From there, the veteran showed he hadn't forgotten how to get around the big half-mile Juniata County oval.
By lap six, Kreitz had built a straightaway lead over Smith as he entered lapped traffic.
Dave Blaney, the All Stars points leader, brought out the first of four cautions on lap 6 when he the rear end broke on the car and he slowed to a stop on the backstretch.
The battle that was going on behind Kreitz was one for the ages in the history of the Tuscarora 50.
Brian Montieth, who started 21st, was rim-ridding the top-side of the race track and by lap 21, he had moved into third place.