Sunday, April 05, 2015

Track Champions Open Season With Victories

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Defending champion Mark Smith of Sunbury drove to a convincing victory in Saturday’s night’s 25-lap 360 sprint car season opener at Selinsgrove Speedway.

Smith, who scored the prestigious “King of the 360s” victory at the East Bay Raceway in Florida earlier this year, was at the wheel of the Mach 1 Chassis No. 1 for his 11th career win in 358-360 sprint car competition at the track.

Former 10-time champion Jeff Rine of Danville wired the field for his 92nd career feature win at Selinsgrove in the 25-lap super late model feature.

Andrew Shoop of Mifflintown made a last-lap pass to score his second career pro stock win in the division’s 15-lap feature, while Brandon Shultz of Milton held off numerous challenges to record his first career win at the track in the 12-lap roadrunner race.

Selinsgrove Speedway will swing back into action at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 11, with the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Mach 1 Chassis Spring Fling for 358 and 360 sprint cars paying $3,000 to win. Time Trials will be a part of the qualifying format for the 30-lap feature event. The super late models and pro stocks will also be on the racing card. Track gates will open at 4 p.m.

Polesitter Cody Keller drove into the lead at the start of the sprint car feature. Keller was chased by second-place starter Jason Shultz for the first six laps of the race. The red flag stopped the race on lap six when Mallie Shuster slammed the outside guardrail in turn four and flipped over in his sprint car. Shuster escaped injury.

On the restart, Shultz made a dive to the inside of Keller entering turn one and emerged the race’s new leader out of turn two. Meanwhile, a wheel-to-wheel race unfolded for the third position between fourth-place starter Robbie Stillwaggon and eighth-place starter Mark Smith, with Smith taking over the spot at the halfway point.

On the 17th circuit, a flat tire caused Shultz’s car to go into a wild spin in turn three, narrowly escaping serious damage with the outside wall. Keller inherited the lead again for the lap 18 restart in which Smith made the winning pass using the inside lane in turn three. Smith went on to cross the finish line 3.5 seconds ahead of Keller, Stillwaggon, Davie Franek, and Michael Walter. 
Polesitter Jim Yoder and second-place starter Jeff Rine dueled for the lead at the start of the late model feature. Rine powered into the front spot and kept his 2J in front of the pack for the duration of the race even while navigating his way through slower traffic.

Yoder kept Rine in his sights for most of the race only to get held up by the same traffic that Rine was working his way through at breakneck speeds. By the halfway point, Rine stretched his lead to a straightaway. On the 19th circuit, the caution flag waved for a three-car tangle involving Jeremy Ohl, Steve Campbell and Chad Hollenbeck in turns three and four.

When the race resumed, Rine kept his distance from Yoder and the rest of the field as seventh-place starter Dave Zona advanced to third in the final laps. At the finish, Rine was victorious by 3.6 seconds over Yoder, Zona, Hayes Mattern, and Jason Smith.
Outside front row starter Nathan Long pulled into the lead at the start of the pro stock feature. Third-place starter Andrew Shoop held onto the second position for the first lap until polesitter Brad Mitch took over the spot. A torrid battle for the lead unfolded between the top three drivers until the first caution flag of the event unfurled on lap nine for Curtis Lawton.

When the race resumed, so did the war of wheels for the lead between Long, Mitch, and Shoop. On several circuits, the leaders were racing full-tilt and almost three-wide around the oval. The caution flag slowed the field again on lap 14, setting up a chase to the checkered flag. Exiting the final turn, Shoop pulled off a thrilling victory over Long and Mitch by just .22 of a second. Adam Campbell and AJ Stroup completed the top five.

In the night-cap roadrunner race, second-place starter Brandon Shultz, fourth-place starter John Fowler Jr. and third-place starter Bob Bussey put on a precision driving show for all 12 laps of the race. While Shultz edged out the field to lead most of the laps, Fowler was scored as the frontrunner for laps three and five.

Racing off turn four for the checkered flag, the leaders formed a three-wide formation as Shultz scored his first-ever win by the slimmest of margins over Bussey and Fowler. Jeremy Kline and Ed Capper completed the top five.

360 Sprint Cars – 14 Entries
25-Lap A-Main: 1) 1 Mark Smith 2) 99 Cody Keller 3) 89 Robbie Stillwaggon 4) 28F Davie Franek 5) 33W Michael Walter II 6) 77 Derek Locke 7) 76 Larry Kelleher 8) 29 Jason Shultz 9) 1W Eric Tomecek 10) 66 Ryan Kissinger 11) C4 Jim Shuster 12) 23 TJ Stutts 13) 29S Derek Steward 14) 49S Mallie Shuster
Heat Winners: Robbie Stillwaggon, Larry Kelleher

Late Models – 15 Entries
25-Lap A-Main: 1) 2J Jeff Rine 2) 27 Jim Yoder 3) 99Z Dave Zona 4) 9 Hayes Mattern 5) 28 Jason Smith 6) 41 Derrick Casner 7) 119B Bryan Bernheisel 8) 7M Meade Hahn 9) 10 Dave Stamm 10) 33C Chris Casner 11) 4D Chad Hollenbeck 12) 2 Steve Campbell 13) 5J Jeremy Ohl 14) 15 Shaun Miller 15) 115 Troy Miller
Heat Winners: Jeff Rine, Jim Yoder

Pro Stocks – 13 Entries
15-Lap A-Main: 1) 8S Andrew Shoop 2) 63 Nathan Long 3) 10M Brad Mitch 4) 2C Adam Campbell 5) 26 AJ Stroup 6) 40 Tommy Slanker 7) 4 Jim Payne 8) 89 John Schoch 9) 88 Matt Hornberger 10) 99 Kyle Bachman 11) 14C Bill Conrad 12) 33 Curtis Lawton 13) 14 Dave Brouse Jr.
Heat Winners: Brad Mitch, Nathan Long
Roadrunners – 6 Entries
12-Lap A-Main: 1) 31B Brandon Shultz 2) 76 Bob Bussey 3) 02 John Fowler Jr. 4) F14 Ed Capper 5) 8K Jeremy Kline 6) 22 Ricky Buss

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