By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
BIXBY, Okla. -- The first time Jerry Stone saw Jim Nace drive a sprint car was at Hagerstown Speedway.
What happened during the race is something which Stone has never forgotten.
"He crashed that day and had one of the funniest crashes I had ever seen," Stone recalled. "This took place before I even knew him. He spun out and they had 55-gallon barrels full of water around the inside of the turns. He hit this thing and it spun him around like a top. As the car spun around, it stood up on its tail and when it stopped spinning, it fell back against the wing and just laid there.
"It was one of the craziest crashes I had ever seen."
This Saturday, Selinsgrove Speedway will honor its only five-time 410 sprint car champion with the 31st National Open Jim Nace Memorial.
This is the fourth straight year the track is honoring Nace, and, in a shift from the past few years, this year's feature is 44 laps rather than two 22-lap features. Joining the 410s on the card are the late models.
The National Open is the third appearance of the season by the 410s at the track. Greg Hodnett won the opener on March 10, while Brent Marks won the Ray Tilley Classic on May 26. The final 410 show of the year is set for Sunday, Oct. 6.
Pat Cannon is the two-time defending champion of the Open. Fred Rahmer is the only five-time winner, while Todd Shaffer has won four times.
Stone's arrival in Pennsylvania in 1985 began with a conversation in 1979 at Phoenix, Ariz. in the Western World Classic.
"One of the regulars at the time, (the late) Smokey Snellbaker, came along and ran into me on the track once I had stopped flipping and we both rode in the same ambulance to the hospital," Stone said. "We had a follow-up visit with the doctors a couple of days later and I got his phone number and we got to talking about how good the racing was back there and how many tracks they had and I started to get the interest then."