By Steve Inch
SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Josh Beard of Brogue wired the field for his first career win in Saturday night’s 25-lap main for 358 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway. Beard became the track’s third different winner this season in the open wheel division while driving the Godfrey Racing Engines No. 5B.
Matt Cochran of Williamsport was also a first-time winner Saturday night with his victory in the 25-lap late model feature. Cochran became the division’s third different winner in as many races.
Following further review of a racing tire specification and clarification, AJ Hoffman of Richfield was reinstated as the winner of the 11th Annual Pro Stock 20 after he was initially disqualified. For Hoffman, the $1,000 victory was his third of the season and third career in the Pro Stock 20. Jason Smith of Williamsport set a new one-lap track record with a lap time of 23.470.
Defending champion Bob Bussey of Northumberland also won his third race of the year in the 12-lap roadrunner main event.
Selinsgrove Speedway will present the 32nd Annual Jack Gunn Memorial Challenge Race for 358-360 sprint cars at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12, sanctioned by the United Racing Company (URC) sprint car organization. Also on the racing card will be the late models and roadrunners. Track gates will open at 5 p.m.
The speedway will hold its final open practice session of the season on the half-mile track from 6:30-9 p.m. this Wednesday, May 9. The cost is $100 per race car and grandstand admission is free.
Polesitter Josh Beard beat out second-place starter Charlie Anderson for the lead entering turn one at the start of the sprint car feature. Fourth-place starter Cody Keller turned in a strong performance and raced in Beard’s shadow in the early laps of the race, while 10th-place starter Mark Smith raced in the third position.
On the seventh circuit, Smith’s car fell off the pace and brought out the race’s first caution flag. When the race resumed, ninth-place starter Pat Cannon passed third-placed starter Colby Womer for the fourth position. At the halfway point, Cannon dueled with seventh-place starter Derek Locke for the third spot.
On a lap 14 restart, Locke passed Keller for second and attempted to reel in Beard. With five laps remaining, Cannon advanced to third. At the checkered flag, Beard was victorious by 1.2 seconds over Locke, Cannon, 11th-place starter Larry Kelleher, and 19th-place starter Jason Shultz.
Eric Hons started the late model feature in the second position and led the first four laps until seventh-place starter Donnie Schick stormed into the lead with an inside pass through turns three and four. By lap seven, sixth-place starter Matt Cochran advanced to second and set his sites on Schick.
At the midway point, Schick was leading Cochran, polesitter Kenny Trevitz, and 12th-place starter Jeff Rine. On the 20th circuit, Cochran made the winning pass using the outside lane in turn two. At the same time, Rine horsepowered his way into the third position.
The event’s final caution flag unfurled on lap 22, setting a chase to the checkered flag. At the finish, Cochran was victorious by 1.3 seconds over Schick, Rine, 14th-place starter Jim Yoder, and Trevitz.
Second-place starter AJ Hoffman pulled ahead of polesitter Tim Krape for the early lead in the annual running of the Pro Stock 20. Krape chased Hoffman, while fourth-place starter and fast qualifier Jason Smith was in close pursuit in third.
The event’s first caution flag unfurled on lap eight when the hood on Nate Kerstetter’s racer blocked his vision, forcing him to stop his car on the track. When the race resumed, sixth-place starter Kyle Bachman began to show some speed and put in a bid for third just as Krape’s car fell off the pace.
At the halfway point, Hoffman was leading Bachman, Smith and third-place starter Hayes Mattern. Smith then reclaimed the runner up spot and reeled in Hoffman. On the 16th circuit, Mattern was involved in a tangle in turn two.
On the restart, Smith pressured Hoffman for the lead, only to spin in turn two on the final lap when a tire started to go down. For the chase to the checkered flag, Hoffman maintained the lead and posted a mere .73 of a second margin of victory over Bachman, seventh-place starter Shaun Miller, ninth-place starter Doug Minium, and 12th-place starter Dave Brouse Jr.
Sixth-place starter John Fowler Jr. quickly powered into the lead in the roadrunner feature and was soon chased by ninth-place starter Bob Bussey. On the seventh circuit, Fowler and Bussey made contact racing through turn two which resulted in Fowler’s car making a hard impact with the second turn wall.
When the race resumed, Bussey continued to set the pace, while eighth-place starter Ricky Bender began to pressure third-place starter Adam Campbell for the runner up position. At the checkered flag, Bussey was victorious by 1.9 seconds over Campbell, Bender, Curtin Lawton, and Scott Dunham Jr.
SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY – 5 May 2012
358 Sprint Cars – 19 Entries
25-Lap A-Main: 1) 5B Josh Beard 2) 77 Derek Locke 3) 3 Pat Cannon 4) 76 Larry Kelleher 5) 2 Jason Shultz 6) 99K Cody Keller 7) 23 TJ Stutts 8) 1W Eric Tomecek 9) 21 Duane Mausteller 10) Kevin Nagy 11) 25 John Smith 12) 71C Charlie Anderson 13) 67 Jason Cherry 14) 38 Scott Wilson 15) 66 Ryan Kissinger 16) 5W Phil Walter 17) 19 Colby Womer 18) 1N Brian Nornhold 19) 1 Mark Smith
Heat Winners: Josh Beard, Cody Keller