The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 19, 2011

Cannon wins National Open

— The one thing missing from Pat Cannon’s resume at Selinsgrove Speedway was a 410 sprint car win.

The defending 358 sprint car track champion nearly pulled the feat off last year in the National Open but was passed by Lance Dewease on a late restart.

Cannon started fifth in the second 22-lap segment of Saturday’s 44-lap Jim Nace Memorial 29th annual National Open for 410 sprint cars. He passed three-time 358 track champion Chad Layton on the frontstretch on lap 38 and went on to score his first 410 win at Selinsgrove.

“I was coming up on those guys and I couldn’t believe that I was coming up that fast on then,” Cannon said. “I almost got underneath them in Turn 2, but there was a lapped car there and I was like, ‘I am not going to show them what I am doing here.’ So I rolled out of the throttle it a little bit. Actually, (Layton) tired to block the pass, but he slid up a little bit into the middle of the track, and I turned under him and the car just drove. It was a cool feeling.”

In time trials, Cannon became the first-ever driver at the track to break into the 15-second bracket. Daryn Pittman would re-set the mark as four drivers in all were in the 15-second bracket in time trials. Pittman seemed to have the car to beat on Saturday night as he won the first 22-lap segment over Cannon, setting a new five-lap dash record to win his heat.

“We just made a few small changes for that second feature and you get these cars in dirty air and they don’t react like they do out front,” Pittman said. “We knew (the track) was going to be pretty quick when we got here and saw how wet the track was. The car was good from the time we unloaded. I felt like we probably had the fastest car here all night, hands down.”

The top-six were inverted for the second 22-lap segment, giving Dewease the pole while Cannon and Pittman started fifth and sixth, respectively. A 15-minute work window allowed teams to make changes in the pits following the first 22 lap segment.

“We put new tires on and worked on the balance,” Cannon said of the changes the team made.“The car was getting a little too left, it couldn’t carry the speed I needed.”

Dewease, the two-time defending winner of the National Open, had a short-lived lead in the second segment as Layton got by him in Turn 2 on a lap-23 restart. Layton opened up a nearly two-second lead over Greg Hodnett, who moved by Dewease on lap 24. Dewease moved back to second on lap 33 while Cannon was gaining on the leaders. Cannon passed Dewease for second on lap 37 and Layton for the lead one lap later. Layton would settle for second with Dewease third. Danny Dietrich and Greg Hodnett rounded out the top five.

In the 25-lap late model feature, Donnie Schick of Middleburg kept his 11-year win streak alive at the Speedway as he raced passed Dave Zona on lap 19.

“I came underneath him slid up under him and I hopping I had him cleared,” Schick said. “The car likes the outside, so that’s where I went, but I’m a bottom feeder.”

The red flag came out on lap four for a multi-car accident in Turn 1 that included Tony Adams, Jeff Rine, Scotty Haus, Jim Yoder and Kenny Trevitz. The accident would have implications on the late model title as Rine leads Yoder by just 15 points heading into the feature with one more race left to decide the title.

Schick got by second-place running Kyle Rhoads on lap seven and closed in on Zona by lap 15. Zona made a late-race charge at Schick for the lead and he had a shot at him on lap 23 in Turn 2 but could not make the pass and held on for second. Rine, who was involved in the lap four red flag accident was able to get back out onto the speedway and passed Danville driver Steve Campbell for third on lap 23. That, coupled with Yoder’s 17th-place finish, will increase Rine’s point lead heading into this Saturday’s season finale for points.

Campbell held on for fourth with Gary Beward fifth.

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