Port Royal, PA – March 8, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
The beginning of a new season always consists of more questions than it does answers for a race team.
Will our equipment be better than last year? Will the competition be tougher than before? Will our performance pick up where it left off last year? Were the offseason changes we made the right ones?
There’s no way to know any answers until you get out there and test yourself.
For Jeff Halligan and the Risser Motorsports team, the first test of 2022 finally arrived in the form of Port Royal Speedway’s 2022 season opener.
March 6th: 2022 Season Opener / Port Royal Speedway / Port Royal, PA
(42 cars, Heat 3rd, A-main 7th)
A beautiful early March day in Central PA brought 42 winged 410 sprint car teams out of their race shops to finally sling some clay again after their winter hibernation. The show used a random draw to set the lineups for five 8-lap heats. The top four finishers from each would transfer to the A-main, with the top two participating in a redraw that would determine their starting spot in the top ten.
Halligan’s pill draw at registration placed him in the 6th starting spot of heat number one. The opening day field was deep. It was full of top notch teams, so it was clear every spot would count if you wanted to be in the mix at the end of the day.
If his first competitive lap of the year was any indication, Jeff will be a force to be reckoned with in 2022. At the drop of the green, he ducked low and charged between two cars to swiftly move into 4th by the time he had set the car in turn one. Building momentum off of turn two and down the back stretch, Halligan dove low into turn three and claimed 3rd by the time lap one was in the books.
From there, the Ephrata, PA resident turned his focus to tracking down a redraw spot. Jeff was able to close the gap on 2nd place Devin Borden and show the young driver his nose at least once but couldn’t capture the spot. Halligan settled for a 3rd place finish in the Risser Motorsports / TheTreeCenter.com / Victory Auto of Lewistown / EMM Sales & Service / Jake’s Golf Carts, No.45.
“We were surrounded by a pretty talented group in our heat race, so I knew I had to put us in a good position, which meant I needed to make it happen early“, Halligan shared.
Jeff took the green for the day’s 25-lap finale from the 11th starting spot. After gaining one spot in the early laps, he settled into a rhythm looking for more. It took some laps but eventually the car came to life, and he was able to steadily pick up a few spots over the course of several laps as the race drew into its final stages. He ultimately crossed the finish line in 7th, a +4 result on a tricky daytime surface.
“I’m really pleased. We passed cars and moved forward every time we hit the track today. We were really good in the feature. There were good cars in front of us that we just couldn’t quite get to“, the Pennsylvania native commented.
“One big positive today is that we were fast late in the race. We got better as the race went on. That’s something we couldn’t do last year. Usually we would be quick early but then fade a few spots late. To win these races, you have to be good in the closing laps, so I’m happy about that”, Halligan commented.
It was only one race, but Jeff Halligan, crew chief Kyle Defibaugh, and the team now have at least a few of the answers. They have a solid foundation to build on in the weeks and months ahead. Eventually they will get answers to other questions such as, can they improve on their 2021 stats?
“I’m proud of the whole team. Everyone did the best they could all day long. We made the most of our situation all day. You can’t ask for much more than that. We have something we can build off of now. I’m thankful for our marking partners that make this possible for us. I hope everyone goes out and supports them“, Halligan concluded.
One thing is certain. It will be exciting to follow Jeff and the Risser Motorsports team to see how the questions get answered in 2022.
Jeff and the team will return to Port Royal Speedway on Saturday, March 12th. Racing starts at 4pm.
JEFF HALLIGAN RACING
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