By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- Selinsgrove Speedway returns to action on Saturday as the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) join the weekly 358 sprint cars for an open-wheel doubleheader.
ESS is celebrating its 30th anniversary season with 28 races at 18 different tracks. Chuck Hebing, of Ontario, N.Y., is the defending series champion.
The two sprint car divisions will each run a series of qualifiers and 25-lap features. They will be joined by the super late models and pro stocks.
The ESS 360 sprint car feature pays $3,000 to win. The 358 sprint cars and late models will race for $1,500 to win and the pro stock feature pays $400 to win.
Heading into Saturday's race, there have been six different winners in 358 and 360 sprint car races at Selinsgrove. Greg Hodnett won the 410 opener on March 10.
On April 6, in the first race sanctioned by ESS at Selinsgrove since 1996, NASCAR champion Tony Stewart of Rushville, Ind., made a surprise visit and won the 358-360 sprint car challenge event.
Mark Smith, of Sunbury, and points leader Jason Shultz, of Carlisle, won their respective 358 sprint car races on March 30 and April 27. Other winners were Pat Cannon (April 13), Eric Tomecek (May 4) and last Saturday's URC-358 challenge winner JJ Grasso of Pedricktown, N.J.
SAD TIMES: Big Diamond Speedway racer Andy Fayash Jr., passed away last weekend. Fayash Jr. started his racing career in 1984 and won in every division in which he raced. The track will honor his memory on June 14 with the Andy Fayash Jr. Memorial race for the Sportsman modified division. The race will be 45 laps and pay $1570 to win.
THANKS GUYS: As a result of the overwhelming support, Clinton County Raceway has added four more dates to the racing schedule for the 600 micro sprint cars. The dates include this Saturday; June 21; Aug. 2; and Aug. 9. The late models headline the five-division card tonight.
ALL ALONE: With his second win of the year, Danville's Jeff Rine now stands alone atop the all-time combined win list at Selinsgrove Speedway with 81. Rine holds a 145-point lead over Selinsgrove's Dylan Yoder, a one-time feature winner at the track this year, heading into Saturday's race.