The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 30, 2013

Motorsports: Sunbury's Smith opens Selinsgrove season with sprint car win

Local sprint driver battles 2012 champ


Daily Item

---- — By Shawn Wood

For The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE -- Mark Smith and Pat Cannon may not be weekly regulars at Selinsgrove Speedway this season, but they are a threat to win when they pull into the pits.

Smith, of Sunbury, took the lead on lap 4 and pulled away from the field to score the season-opening 35-lap 358 sprint car feature win on opening day for Selinsgrove Speedway on Saturday night.

Other winners on Saturday night included Brad Mitch (pro stocks), Dylan Yoder (late models) and John Fowler Jr. (roadrunners).

Cannon appeared to have taken the lead in the 358 feature on the initial start as he got by Josh Beard and Smith on the outside. He had the lead in Turn 2 when the red flag came out for rookie Derek Stewart who flipped at the end of the front-stretch after climbing a wheel. He was uninjured.

"Pat went around us on the outside and made us look stupid," Smith said of the opening lap move by Cannon.

Smith would pass pole-sitter Josh Beard on lap 4 in Turn 2 for the lead.

"The low side was really good for me as I was up top for a little bit and when I moved down I got really fast and just stayed there," Smith added.

Smith, a four-time winner at the speedway last year, won his first 358 feature at the speedway last year on April 14.

The race was stopped on lap 5 for Brock Zearfoss who flipped on the backstretch. He was transported to an area hospital for an apparent leg injury.

"We didn't change anything under the lengthy red," Smith added. "It's good to get an early-season win."

Smith and Cannon took off in a race of their own after lap 5, leaving Beard all alone in third.

Bloomsburg's Ryan Kissinger, who won his heat race, was running fifth on lap 17 when he pulled into the pits.

The race went nonstop over the final 20 laps as Smith continued to pull away from Cannon in lapped traffic.

Cannon, the defending 358 sprint car champion held on for second with Beard third, T.J. Stutts fourth and rookie Austin Reed fifth.

Sixth through 10th went to Jason Shultz, Derek Locke, Matt Horst, Scott Flammer and Colby Womer, respectively.

Heats for the 23 sprint cars went to Cannon, Kissinger and Smith. Cannon set a track record for the 358s with a nonstop time of 2 minutes, 16.255 seconds in the eight-lap heat race. He also turned the fastest unofficial lap for a 358 sprint car with a time of 16.961 seconds.

Dylan Yoder duplicated his opening-day win from last year with a dramatic pass-at-the-line as the checkers flew in the 25-lap late model opener.

A four-time winner last year at the trick, Yoder, of Selinsgrove, was following race leader Dave Zona for most of the 25 laps until the last lap in Turn 3.

"I think his right-rear tire was going away so I went in a little bit higher to use what was left the grip and I dove to the low side of him," he said.

Perennial late model champion Jeff Rine spun out on Lap 2 and rallied to catch Yoder and Zona in the closing laps. As the trio came off Turn 4, Rine went to the outside with Zona in the middle and Yoder on the bottom as they crossed the line with Yoder under Zona for the win. The final margin of victory was .042 seconds.

Rine held on for third with Kenny Trevitz fourth and Jim Yoder, fifth. Sixth through 10th were Coleby Frye, Tony Adams, Matt Cochran, Chad Davis and Bryan Bernheisel, respectively.

Heat winners for the 17 late modes went to J. Yoder and Frey.

Mitch led wire-to-wire in the season-opening 20-lap pro stock feature while Fowler Jr. passed Bob Bussey who lost a tire on the final corner for the 12-lap roadrunner win.