By Steve Inch
SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Selinsgrove Speedway will present the 32nd Annual Mach 1 Chassis Jack Gunn Memorial for sprint cars at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12. For the seventh consecutive year, the Gunn Memorial will feature a 30-lap challenge race between the traveling United Racing Company 360 sprint cars and the track’s weekly A&A Auto Stores 358 sprint cars. The race will pay $3,500 to win and $225 to start out of a $15,000-plus purse.
The tribute race is run each year to honor the memory of the late Hall-of-Fame race track promoter Jack Gunn, who operated Selinsgrove, Williams Grove, Penn National, and Hagerstown Speedways during his career and brought mid-state dirt track racing to national prominence in the 1970’s. Gunn was inducted posthumously into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame (Knoxville, Iowa) in 1990.
This Saturday’s Gunn Memorial will be the second race in the inaugural $120,000, six-event Mach 1 Chassis Mid-Atlantic 360 Sprint Car Championship Series that includes five shows at Selinsgrove Speedway and one event at Lincoln Speedway in 2012. Pat Cannon of Etters won the series opener at Selinsgrove on March 31. Other Selinsgrove dates include Friday, June 29 and Sunday, Aug. 5. Lincoln Speedway will host the tour on Wednesday, June 20. The series finale will be the 12th Annual National Open for 358-360 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway on Sept. 1.
Time trials, heats, and a B-Main will be the format for setting the 24-car starting field for the Gunn Memorial. The late models and roadrunners will also be on the program Saturday night. Track gates will open at 5 p.m.
Over the years, some of the biggest names in sprint car racing have won the prestigious Jack Gunn Memorial at Selinsgrove Speedway. Lynn Paxton of Dillsburg; Steve Kinser of Bloomington, Ind.; Doug Wolfgang of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and most recently, as 358 sprint drivers, TJ Stutts of Liverpool; Chad Layton of Harrisburg; Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove; and Dave Calaman of Carlisle are a few of the past winners of the Gunn Memorial.
Since the race became a challenge event in 2006, a Selinsgrove regular has been victorious each year except for the past three years. Trevor Lewis of Upper Black Eddy scored the win for the URC with a carbon-copy pass by Cannon racing off turn four in both the 2009 and 2010 events. In last year’s race, invader Shane Stewart of Indianapolis, Ind., held off Heimbach for the Gunn Memorial win as the guest driver of Scott McClaren’s No. 21 360 sprint car. As a Selinsgrove regular, Heimbach won the race in 2008 and 2006, while Calaman scored the challenge victory in 2007.
Race sponsor Mach 1 Chassis, located at 10 North Frederick Street in Mechanicsburg, engineers and builds race car chassis that are known for safety, strength, durability, and performance. In addition to chassis fabrication and repair, Mach 1 Chassis also manufactures front and rear bumpers, nerf bars, front axles, wing posts, and wing trees.
Mach 1 Chassis Mid-Atlantic 360 Sprint Car Championship Series associate sponsors include Creasy Signs, Middleswarth Potato Chips, Penske Racing Shocks, Rider Racing Engines, Wings Unlimited, Custom Metal Coating, Hoosier Tire, Fastner Specialties, Pancho’s Racing Products, Dave Franek Auto Sales, and Moose Blocks.
2012 Gunn Memorial Purse: 1) $3,500 2) $1,700 3) $1,200 4) $1,100 5) $1,000 6) $700 7) $575 8) $525 9) $515 10) $500 11) $360 12) $340 13) $320 14) $300 15) $270 16) $250 17) $240 18-20) $235 21-24) $225
Gunn Memorial Admission: Adults $15; Students (12-17) $12; Kids 11 & Under Free;
Pit Pass $25
Selinsgrove Speedway will host an open practice session from 6:30 – 9 p.m. this Wednesday, May 9. The cost per race car is $100.00. Pit and general admission for the practice night is free.
Selinsgrove Raceway Park will present a program of go karts and micro sprint cars at 7 p.m. Friday, May 11, plus the rescheduled $500-to-win Pro Series race for the Animal 375 lb. class. In the Selinsgrove Ford micro sprint car division, four races have produced four different winners, including Roger Spencer, Cameron Englehart, Nathan Ritter, and Ken Duke. Track gates will open at 5:30 p.m.