By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
MECHANICSBURG -- He was part of the first induction class into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1990 and he won the first-ever race at Williams Grove Speedway in 1939.
The late Tommy Hinnershitz, of Oley, will be remembered by the speedway again this evening with the Spring Classic which is named in his honor.
Hinnershitz began his racing career at the Reading Fairgrounds in 1931 driving in a 1914 Model 'T' Ford. He had more than 100 wins in his career.
He competed in the Indianapolis 500 three times and scored a career-best ninth-place finish in his last 500 in 1948.
Hinnershitz won the first United States Auto Club sanctioned sprint car race in the Commonwealth at Reading in 1956. He also captured the track championship at Williams Grove in 1949 and 1952.
Tonight's 30-lap, 410 sprint car feature pays $7,500 to win. Also on the card will be the Super Sportsman.
Chad Layton, of Harrisburg, has won the last two Spring Classics. Last year's race and the 2011 edition were rained out.
Season opener: The United Racing Company will open its 67th season of sprint car competition on Saturday night as the touring series makes the first of six visits this year to Selinsgrove Speedway.
The URC-Selinsgrove challenge race will be part of a four-division card along with the late models, pro stocks and roadrunners.
There will be no times trials for the sprint cars this week as the event will offer an open draw for starting spots in the heat race and a revenge draw to determine part of the feature lineup.
JJ Grasso, of Pedricktown, N.J., is the defending series champion.
An Easter Egg scramble will be held behind the covered grandstand at approximately 5. Selinsgrove Raceway Park is in action tonight with its Good Friday Special for go-karts at 7.