LOCAL AUTO RACING: Stutts picks up big Selinsgrove payday
T.J. Stutts scored an $8,000 win, leading all 35 laps of the National Open for 358/360 sprint cars Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.
It was his third win in the event, but first in 10 seasons.
"There was too much drama there at the beginning," said Stutts. "It would have been a lot easier if those guys wouldn't have raced us so hard. This thing shook really bad from lap one on. I don't know if we have a spark plug that's off or a tire that's out of balance. I could have sworn it was going to blow up. I was happy to see that checkered flag."
Stutts, who won the Open in 2001 and 2003, started second in the main event, but polesitter Robbie Stillwaggon drove into the lead. Stutts wasted little time though as he drove into the lead off turn two.
On a lap-two restart, Brock Zearfoss drove by Stillwaggon and into second. Zearfoss challenged Stutts for the lead over the next few laps before another caution flag slowed the pace.
Meanwhile, Selinsgrove's leading feature winner Pat Cannon was up to fourth.
Stutts pulled away as Cannon eventually drove into second. He never got another caution flag to challenge for the win as Stutts scored the big win.
Cannon's sprinter was light as the scales by five pounds and he was disqualified giving second to Port Royal Speedway 410-sprint car champion Blane Heimbach and third to Zearfoss. Aaron Ott and Sunbury's Mark Smith rounded out the top five.
A healthy field of 50 cars was on hand, including Selinsgrove regulars, Empire Super Sprint and United Racing Company sprints and a few 410 sprint car regulars.
Brent Marks, Davie Franek, track champion Jason Shultz, URC point leader JJ Grasso and 410 regular Lance Dewease rounded out the top 10.
Grasso set fast time with a lap of 17.383 seconds.
Brad Mitch of McClure won his eighth race of the season in the 15-lap pro stock feature. Devon Hart and Kyle Bachman kept it close, but couldn't make a move for the win.
Selinsgrove presents twin 20s for the sprint cars Sunday at 4 p.m. Track gates open at 2. Both 20-lap races pay $2,500 to win. This race will not be held if Williams Grove Speedway has to use Sunday as a raindate for its World of Outlaws-sanctioned National Open.
The National Open is this Friday and Saturday at Williams Grove with the Saturday night finale paying $50,000 to win. Donny Schatz of Fargo, N.D., is the defending and five-time champion.
In the tuneup race Friday night, it was former National Open winner Donnie Kreitz taking the win from teammate Ryan Smith. Brian Montieth, Greg Hodnett and Alan Krimes followed.
Hodnett took the season-long point lead after Fred Rahmer dropped out early in the race. He leads by 35 and is one of the Pennsylvania regulars that could win the Open.
Montieth scored his sixth win of the season at Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night in the Gentzler Memorial. Adam Wilt, Krimes, Jim Siegel and Tim Glatfelter were top five.