LOCAL AUTO RACING: Tony Stewart wins at Selinsgrove Speedway
Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony 'Smoke' Stewart has been doing a lot more sprint car racing over the past two seasons.
He's made a habit of showing up at local dirt tracks around the country; especially if they are in the same general area as a Cup race.
Saturday, with the Cup series in Martinsville, Va., Stewart flew from there to the Penn Valley Airport, made the short trip to Selinsgrove Speedway and raced in the Empire Super Sprints Mach 1 Chassis Challenge event for the 360 and 358 sprint cars.
He made the trip worthwhile, too, dominating the entire event.
First, Stewart set a track record in qualifying with a one lap time of 17.168 seconds. Then, he won his eight-lap heat race before taking the lead from Pat Cannon on lap 15 of the 30-lap main event. He checked out from there to score the $3,000 win in his first ever visit to the big Snyder County oval.
"It's an honor to run here," said Stewart in victory lane. "It's a deal we tried last year, but it got rained out and I'm glad we got back here tonight. The track got so wide and racey. It's fun when you can go to a track and have a lot of room to race from top to bottom."
New York's Jessica Zemken started second and grabbed the early race lead before third starter Pat Cannon drove by and into the lead.
Stewart, of Rushville, Ind., passed Cannon with an inside move in turn three and pulled away. Cannon and Sunbury's Mark Smith followed Stewart. T.J. Stutts came from 17th to finish fourth and 10th-place starter Jason Shultz finished fifth.
Stewart raced at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night, finishing fourth in the 410 sprint car feature. He won nine sprint car races last season, including a 360 sprint win at the Grove. Stewart was at Selinsgrove for a Mach 1 Chassis Challenge Race last season, but the race was rained out after practice laps.
Dover's Coleby Frye earned $1,500 for his victory in the 25-lap late model feature. Shaun Miller of Tower City was awarded the victory in the 15-lap pro stock feature and Bob Bussey of Northumberland won the 12-lap roadrunner feature.
Selinsgrove presents another four division racing program of 358 sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners Saturday at 6 p.m. Fans will be permitted to enter the pit area prior to the start of Saturday's racing program as part of Camera and Autograph Night.
Jeff Strunk earned $7,500 for his win at Big Diamond Speedway, Minersville, on Friday night. Craig Von Dohren, Stewart Friesen, Duane Howard and Billy Decker completed the top five. Jared Umbenhauer won the sportsman modified feature and Marc Berzowski won the roadrunner feature.
New Jersey's Rick Lafferty won the sprint car feature at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night. He grabbed the lead from Steve Buckwalter following a lap 10 restart. Matt Parks won the late model main event. Herndon's Brett Schadel finished ninth.
Fred Rahmer has more sprint car wins at Lincoln Speedway, Hanover, than any other driver, but none since 2010. He ended that win drought with his 168th career Lincoln win on Saturday night.
Danny Dietrich was the sprint car winner at Williams Grove on Friday night and Jason Covert won the late model main event.