The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Shawn Brouse on Motorsports

September 13, 2010

Open a tribute to Nace

One of the most innovative and interesting races to hit the area in quite a while is set for Selinsgrove Speedway this Saturday, as the 28th annual Jim Nace Memorial National Open for 410 sprints is spun off.  

Meant to honor the five-time track champion who succumbed to cancer last November, the Nace Open will consist of a pair of segments, each 22 laps in distance and paying $6,000 to win, with complete payoffs. The top six finishers in the first segment will be inverted for the second race, and if the winner of segment one can move forward to win segment two, he will get a $14,000 bonus on top of the $12,000 he’s already won. The winner of the second segment will be crowned Nace Open champion.  

This format and concept, meant to honor Nace, was announced back in February and the anticipation has been building ever since. The total laps, 44, and the total base purse, $44,000, is intended to memorialize the car that Nace started his career in. The $6,000 to win in each segment is to commemorate his final car number as a driver and owner, and the amount of money a sweep of the two segments would make for one driver — including the 14 grand bonus — $26,000 is a homage to the most identifiable mount of Nace’s career, the Camel Express No. 26.  

Aside from all the usual area drivers who race for a living like Fred Rahmer, Lance Dewease, Tyler Walker, Stevie Smith and Greg Hodnett being in attendance, look for Brent Marks, Danny Dietrich and Brian Leppo to race. Also in the field should be Curt Michael and Trevor Lewis. Doug Esh says he hopes to attend. Brian Montieth says he’s thinking about it. Kerry Madsen is a possibility to invade.     

A close friend to Nace and accomplished veteran himself, Millerstown’s Todd Shaffer will drive a replica Camel Express No. 26 for owners Gary and Patty Beam in the event, which he has won four times in the past.  

“I can’t tell you a race I would want to win more than the one coming up at Selinsgrove in Jim’s memory,” says Shaffer. “To me, this race is promoting. It’s all a great idea and we’re all excited about it.”

“When I was starting out in my career, the Camel Express, Weikert’s Livestock, and Hamilton cars were the ones everyone wanted to drive. To drive this car for this race is quite an honor.”

The newly unveiled No. 26 machine, and one of Nace’s final No.6 machines, will be on display prior to the races.  

Nace’s friend and a former racer, Bob Landis of McAlisterville, will deliver the invocation. A limited quantity of commemorative-edition Nace Memorial National Open program booklets will be on sale.    

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Shawn Brouse on Motorsports
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