SELINSGROVE — Selinsgrove Speedway revived its National Open for 410 sprint cars Saturday night with the 28th annual running of the event in honor of late champion Jim Nace. Nace’s wife Chrystal called the turnout of 39 cars and legions of fans “incredible.”
Admission lines stood back through the parking lot, reminiscent of the 1980’s.
“I haven’t seen this place like this since the $50,000 shows,” one fan remarked in the middle of the bedlam as patrons tried to get seats and food.
The night was full of nostalgia and a goodbye as Nace was remembered fondly by all, but especially by good friend, veteran Todd Shaffer, who drove a replica of Nace’s famed Camel Express No. 26 for car owners Gary and Patty Beam.
Shaffer said goodbye to the Beams in the event as the couple made official their retirement from the sport at the end of the night after 30 years of ownership.
Whoever thought up the promotion of making the Open a pair of 22-lap segments with $6,000 to win each and a $14,000 bonus for a sweep deserves a medal. The races were full of drama and excitement.
Track 358 sprint dominator Pat Cannon stole the first 22 lapper away from Tyler Walker on a last lap restart and set himself up for the bonus money in the second leg. He had to overcome an inversion that forced him to restart sixth. And just like in the first segment, Cannon got a shot at the leader on a final lap restart but came up shy of Lance Dewease’s horsepower.
Dewease ended up Nace Memorial National Open Champion, his second Open in a row and third in his career, and took $7,600 from both segments while Cannon ended up with $8,000 for a win and a second.
Track prep man Steve Paige had a great surface in place for the super event.