By Shawn Brouse
For The Daily Item
Points races are heating up in the sprint car divisions at both Selinsgrove and Port Royal speedways and the opportunities to claim the title are getting fewer and fewer.
At Port Royal, Middleswarth Chips driver Chad Layton is the leader in the 410 sprint class over Rick Lafferty. Layton gained just five points on Lafferty on Saturday where the two finished third and fourth, respectively.
That gives Layton a scant 15-point lead in a quest for his first 410 track title anywhere with only two — Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 — point races to go. Stay tuned.
At Selinsgrove, after double 358 sprint features on Saturday, Pat Cannon went up over Blane Heimbach by 105 points after the first feature, but by the end of the night and the conclusion of the second main, Heimbach was back in front. Heimbach started the night up by 105 and now leads Cannon by 45 markers.
Selinsgrove has four point races to go for sure, ending on Sept. 25, while the verdict on points in the Sept. 4 358/360 Open is up in the air.
Things are getting good!
RESULTS: At Selinsgrove on Saturday, Cannon took the lead away from Matt Heimbach in the first sprint feature, held over from a rainout on July 24, to claim his 12th overall win of the season and seventh at Selinsgrove alone. Cannon met his match in the second main of the night, however, in New Jersey driver Davie Franek.
Franek took the lead from Bob Beidleman on the sixth circuit. Phil Walter led laps three and four before falling out of the race. Cannon, who started 10th in the field, moved into second behind Franek with eight down and the race was on. Franek entered lapped traffic at the halfway point but Cannon was still unable to challenge.
However, a restart with seven laps to go saw Cannon take the inside lead briefly in the first turn before Franek used a slingshot to go back out front off of the second corner. Cannon surged to Franek's inside as the pair entered the third turn, but when Franek went to defense and slammed the door down low, Cannon got stumped, made contact with Franek, and backed up the track where third-place runner Blane Heimbach promptly slammed him, bringing out the red.
Cannon was done for the night but Heimbach came back to the race for ninth.
Dylan Yoder won his fourth late model main of the season while Kyle Bachman won his third pro stock race in the last four events. Keith Bissinger won his first roadrunner main of 2010. There were 30 sprints, 19 lates and 20 pro stocks.
Port Royal saw Mike Wagner take the lead from Nicole Bower in the 410 sprint feature with seven laps to go to win his first of the year. Bower ran second until the final lap when she dropped out.
Scott Haus took the lead with two go to in the late model main to win his 90th career oval checkers. Brian Towsey won Port pro stocks. There were 20 sprints, 19 lates and 17 pros.
Brent Marks won his second 410 sprint main of the Lincoln Speedway season Saturday while Brian Montieth won his third of the year at Williams Grove on Friday. Eric Tomecek won Grove 358 sprints.
Clinton County rained out Friday.
KNOXVILLE NATIONALS: Tim Shaffer of Aliquippa took the lead from Donny Schatz on lap 49 to win the 50th annual Knoxville Nationals for 410 sprints on Saturday night.
Sammy Swindell was leading and thwarting Schatz's repeated passes for the lead when he blew a tire with three to go in the 50-lapper and flipped.
Shaffer started seventh in the main and earned $150,000 for the victory. Local Greg Hodnett started third in the race and finished sixth. Stevie Smith, who won the B Main, was 10th. Daryn Pittman was 11th while Fred Rahmer, Justin Henderson, Lance Dewease and Tyler Walker failed to qualify.
THREE WEEKS AWAY: With just three weeks until Selinsgrove's marquee event of the season for its 358 sprints, also to include 360 sprints as a challenge race, the track announced it will pay a hefty $6,000 to win the race coming up on Sept. 4.
The National Open for 358/360 sprints will go 35 laps and pay $300 to start. This will be the richest event for 358s in the history of the track, although the wisdom of the decision to allow 360s to compete and steal the weekly divisions top prize money of the year is debatable.
n Shawn Brouse covers motorsports for The Daily Item. E-mail comments to email@example.com