By David Smith Jr.
July 2, 2010 – Hutchinson, Kansas – Former Hutchinson Grand Nationals champion Danny Jennings of Norman, Oklahoma came back to the track he won fourteen years earlier to pick up the first night of the 54th Annual Hutchinson Grand Nationals as the O’Reilly/NCRA sprint car series visited the big fairgrounds half mile at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas on Friday night. The victory also guaranteed him the pole position for Saturday nights Hutchinson Grand Nationals feature finale.
By virtue of the most passing points in his earlier heat race, where he started eighth and finished second, Jennings, aboard the Carter Maxwell Goodyear sponsored/Wesmar powered Maxim chassis, earned the pole for the twenty lap feature with Jason Martin, who beat Jennings in that heat race, started along side.
Jennings quickly took the lead as the green flag fell and opened up a ten car length advantage by lap two. A.J. Selenke settled into the third position early on but it was the Jennings and Martin show for the majority of the race.
Current series points leader Jeremy Campbell, who now calls Wichita, Kansas home, began working the Danny King owned, E85 ICM/Ethanol sprinter up from his eighth starting position and passed Selenke to take over the third position on lap five.
Jennings kept a solid pace before he began to approach lapped traffic on lap nine. However the first and only caution of the feature fell when Chris Walker went for a spin in turn two.
On the restart, Jennings kept the pace and had opened up a ten car length lead by lap twelve. However Martin, who won the last event held two weeks ago at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas, began closing in on the leader and with five laps to go was right on his bumper.
But the Liberal, Kansas driver couldn’t get a good enough run to get around the leader and Jennings would go on the final laps to take the five car length victory. “The car really looked good and I knew I just had to hold my line and I would be alright,” said Jennings in victory lane. “He (Jason) would have had to burn off his tires to get around me so I felt pretty comfortable.”
Campbell came on strong at the end and finished two car lengths behind Martin for the third position. Sixth starting Aaron Berryhill finished fourth with Sherman Davis of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, who started eleventh, rounded out the top five.
The eight lap heat races for the twenty-nine car field were won by Martin, Selenke and C. Walker while Taylor Melton wired the field in the ten lap “B” feature.
O’Reilly/NCRA Sprint Car Series
Kansas State Fairgrounds/Hutchinson, Kansas
Hutchinson Grand Nationals
A Feature: 1) Danny Jennings, 2) Jason Martin, 3) Jeremy Campbell 4) Aaron Berryhill 5) Sherman Davis 6) Cody Forshee 7) Gavin Punch 8) J.D. Johnson 9) Josh Hodges 10) Mike Peters 11) Raymond Seeman 12) Taylor Velasquez 13) Garry Lee Maier 14) Luke Cranston 15) Kolt Walker 16) Patrick Stasa 17) Mark Wallinder 18) Chris Walker 19) A.J. Selenke 20) Taylor Milton
B Feature: 1) Taylor Milton 2) Luke Cranston 3) Garry Lee Maier 4) Kolt Walker 5) Patrick Stasa 6) Mark Wallinder 7) Jeff Stasa 8) Jon Freeman 9) Steve Richardson 10) Gary Floyd 11) Scott Cochran 12) Trevor Grossenbacher 13) Marc Robe
1st Heat: 1) 36 Jason Martin 2) 1j Danny Jennings 3) 3x Cody Forshee 4) 72x Sherman Davis 5) 20 Luke Cranston 6) 0w Raymond Seeman 7) 81 Jon Freeman 8) 16 Scott Cochran 9) 58 Gary Floyd
2nd Heat: 1) 43 A.J. Selenke 2) 97b Aaron Berryhill 3) 81au Gavin Punch 4) e85 Jeremy Campbell 5) 91x Taylor Milton 6) 98 J.D. Johnson 7) 35 Trevor Grossenbacher 8) 91 Jeff Stasa 9) 6 Mark Wallinder
3rd Heat: 1) 18w Chris Walker 2) 21t Taylor Velasquez 3) 51 Mike Peters 4) 74x Josh Hodges 5) 19 Patrick Stasa 6) 45k Kolt Walker 7) 1x Garry Lee Maier 8) 1 Marc Robe 9) 72 Steve Richardson
Airflow Racing Products Hard Luck:
Saldana Racing Products 2nd Place: Martin
The Joie of Seating 2nd Place: Martin
Rod End Supply 3rd Place: Campbell
Super Shox 5th Place: Davis
Hooker Harness 8th Place: Johnson