By Shawn Brouse
For The Daily Item
The Selinsgrove Speedway 358/360 National Open for sprint cars was a hit for the fans Saturday night as a stellar field of 48 cars signed in, providing exciting action in the heats as well as throughout the feature.
Daryn Pittman was awarded the win after post race inspection. The break down came out to 20 360s and 28 358s in action. Depending on how you counted them, there were about 20 regular or at least semi-regular weekly Selinsgrove drivers in the field. Of the roughly 20 regulars, just three drivers competed with a 360 under the hood in the form of Pat Cannon, Blane Heimbach and Davie Franek.
By the end of the feature, which was a rousing one, the cream rose to the top as most of the drivers had predicted before the event with eight of the top 10 finishers wheeling 360 motors. Only 358 pilots T.J. Stutts and Nate Snyder finished in the back half of the top 10, taking home seventh and eighth place, respectively. Stutts earned a $500 bonus as the highest finishing 358.
Probably the best run of the night went to Bobby Allen’s grandson, Logan Schuchart of Hanover. The teenager won the C Main and then ran from 12th in the B up to fifth, just one spot shy of qualifying.
A great crowd was on hand for the race and could not have been disappointed. The track went with one-lap time trials, which was a good call.
OPEN NOTES: Bad luck struck track 358 regulars Colby Womer and Larry Kelleher. Both were running off with their heats only to drop out. Womer ended up as the provisional starter in the main and earned the hard charger award of $200 ... The Zemco team and Stevie Smith invaded. Smith was running a strong fifth on the 10th lap when he pulled in with visible sparks coming off of the car ... Phil Walter was in the mix early in the feature, swapping the lead with Stutts with a wild, high-sliding flyer. Walter spun out later in the race and dropped out soon after, stopping on the track ... Chad Layton’s brother Jimmy returned to racing for the event for the first time in two years, and made the show .. Irregular or invading drivers in the field included: Pittman, Aaron Ott, Trevor Lewis, Mark Smith, Stevie Smith, Tim Wagaman, Jared Fink, Kyle Purks, Jimmy Layton, Davey Sammon, Justin Barger, Jan Luckenbaugh, Kevin Nagy, Nick Schlauch, Steve Buckwalter, Dale Hammaker, Ryan Smith, Joe Biasi, Bill Sherman and Tony Smolenyak.
TODAY: The 59th running of the annual Labor Day Classic for 410 sprints as part of the Juniata County fair is this afternoon at 1. Mike Wagner is the defending winner of the prestigious race.
AND SATURDAY: Port Royal was in action Saturday night as the fair opened and local, loved veteran Keith Kauffman of Mifflintown won the 410 sprint main, leading all 25 laps. Ironically, Kauffman’s nephew, Josh Dressler, won sprints last week. Chad Layton won the 2010 track title aboard the Middleswarth No. 7 with a fourth place finish. The crown is the sixth for team Middleswarth, the previous five having come with Kauffman.
Tim Wilson won the late model main while Scott Haus took the title. It is Haus’ seventh Port crown and his fourth in a row. Brian Towsey won pro stocks and John Heane took the title.
LINCOLN: Brian Montieth charged from 12th starting spot to win his fourth 410 sprint feature of the year and seal the track title on Saturday. The crown is his third straight driving the Jerry Parrish No. 21.
AT WILLIAMS GROVE: Triple 20s on Friday night went to Pittman, Tyler Walker and Don Krietz Jr., as the Jack Gunn Memorial event. Both Greg Hodnett and Montieth had extra cars at the event with Adrian Shaffer wheeling the extra Kline No. 22 for Hodnett and Curt Michael in the Parrish No. 21 for Montieth.
Hodnett and Montieth are in a heated race for the track title and wanted a spare car qualified in case they needed it. As it turned out, neither one needed their spare car but neither driver helped themselves in the points chase either, struggling in each feature. Hodnett still leads Montieth by 175.
THIS WEEKEND: The place for racing and atmosphere is Port Royal, where the season ending Tuscarora 50 races for 410 sprints are on tap Friday and Saturday along with the Juniata County Fair. Friday is a 25-lap preliminary before the 50 on Saturday night.