---- — By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
MECHANICSBURG -- The first extra-distance race for the 410 sprint cars this season at Williams Grove takes place tonight with the Tommy Hinnershitz Spring Classic.
The 30-lap feature pays $6,000 to win with time trials setting the heat and feature starting grids. The PA 305 sprint cars will also be on the program along with an exhibition of race cars from the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.
Chad Layton of Harrisburg is the two-time and defending champion of the event. Layton won in 2010 and in 2012 while the 2011 race was rained out.
Formerly known as the Early Bird Championship, The Tommy Hinnershitz Spring Classic took its name in 2007 in honor of the winner of the first-ever motor racing main event at Williams Grove Speedway back in 1939. An eventual Hall of Fame driver, Hinnershitz, of Oley, went on to win the track title that year and again in 1949 and 1952.
ONE REPEAT: Brian Johnson of Ashland is the only driver to score a repeat win in the early part of the 2013 season at Selinsgrove Speedway. The track presents a four-division show on Saturday. Johnson won last week's roadrunner feature while Northumberland's Bob Bussey, the two-time defending division champion, is the current points leader.
Mark Smith, Sunbury; NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, Rushville, Ind.; and defending 358 sprint car champion Pat Cannon, of Etters, are the three winners so far in 358 and 360 sprint car action. Cannon leads the 358 standings by 60 points over T.J. Stutts, of Liverpool. Jerry Bard, of Shippensburg, became the third different late model winner in as many races this season with his first-ever win at the track last Saturday. Bard joins Dylan Yoder of Selinsgrove and Coleby Frye as last model winners. Jeff Rine, of Danville, is the points leader. Shaun Miller, of Tower City, leads his father, Troy, by 80 points in the pro stock standings.
BUG DAY: Clinton County will open the 2013 season with a two-day practice session beginning tonight. The free-to-the-public session runs from 6-9 tonight and 5-8 on Saturday. The first points race of the season is April 26.
CODY FAIRCHOK UPDATE: Super Sportsman driver Cody Fairchok is recovering from injures he suffered last Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway during hot laps. Fairchok was released from Hershey Medical Center with a compressed vertebra in his neck and a chipped bone in his sternum. He is at home recovering and is expected to return to racing in the near future.
BREAKTHROUGH: It took 16 races into the 2013 World of Outlaws sprint car season before 20-time series champion Steve Kinser recorded a win. It was his 575th career win. Former Central Pennsylvania regular Daryn Pittman is the current points leader.