By Steve Inch
SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Mark Smith of Sunbury is on a winning streak at Selinsgrove Speedway, picking up his third victory in a row and fourth overall this season in Saturday night’s 25-lap 358 sprint car feature.
Smith, driving the Mach 1 Chassis No. 1, now has three wins at the wheel of a 358 cubic inch-powered sprint car at the track and was the winner of last Saturday’s URC-sanctioned event in a 360 sprint car.
Veteran late model racer Jim Bernheisel of Lebanon, who has a multitude of wins at several tracks in the northeast, scored his first triumph at Selinsgrove in the division’s 25-lap main event.
In the 15-lap pro stock feature, Brad Mitch of McClure won his first career race in the stock car division. Mitch is a former winner in the roadrunner class.
Bruce Wyland Jr. of Ranshaw and Brian Johnson of Ashland took wins in the pair of 12-lap roadrunner features. For Wyland, the victory was his first career at the track.
Selinsgrove Speedway will be in action two times next weekend. On Saturday, Aug. 25, the speedway will present another four division show featuring 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks, and roadrunners at 7:30 p.m.
The track will come back the next night, Sunday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. with the first-ever appearance by the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in a 50-lap main event paying $10,000 to win. Gates will open at 5 p.m. both nights.
On the first lap of the sprint car feature, polesitter Scott Wilson powered into the early lead until fourth-place starter Phil Walter made a pass using the outside lane racing off turn four. Walter quickly stretched his lead while third-place starter Duane Mausteller held down the runner up position.
At the halfway point, 10th-place starter Mark Smith raced by Mausteller for the second position in turn four. Once in second, Smith began to erode Walter’s straightaway lead. On the 17th circuit, 14th-place starter Pat Cannon passed both Mausteller and seventh-place starter Colby Womer in the first turn for the third position.
On lap 21, Smith pulled a slider on Walter entering turn three and drifted high racing off turn four. After the leaders made slight contact, Smith pulled ahead of Walter and started to stretch his lead in the final laps.
At the checkered flag, Smith was victorious by 2.2 seconds over Cannon, who made a last-lap, last-turn pass by Walter for the runner up position. Walter, 11th-place starter TJ Stutts, and Womer rounded out the top five.
Second-place starter Chris Shuey pulled into the lead at the start of the late model feature and was chased by third-place starter Jeff Smith. On the fourth lap, fourth-place starter Kenny Trevitz advanced to second while fifth-place starter Donnie Schick moved into fourth.
On a lap five restart, original ninth-place starter Jim Bernheisel rocketed from seventh to fourth. A lap later, Bernheisel moved into third and set his sights on Shuey and Trevitz at the front of the pack.
Bernheisel passed Trevitz for second on the eighth lap and on a lap nine restart took the lead from Shuey with an inside pass in turn one. At the halfway point, 10th-place starter Jeff Rine raced into the third position.
Racing down the backstretch on lap 15, Rine and Shuey made contact, which resulted in Shuey’s car developing a flat tire. When Shuey fell off the pace on the frontstretch, a collision sent Trevitz’s race car hard into the outside wall, bringing out the red flag. Trevitz, who was shaken from the impact, escaped injury.
When the race resumed, Bernheisel led the rest of the way and posted a 1.3-second margin of victory over Rine, eighth-place starter Steve Campbell, seventh-place starter Dylan Yoder, and sixth-place starter Bryan Bernheisel.
Polesitter Brad Mitch led a close, competitive field of pro stocks to a flag-to-flag victory. In fact, the top six drivers raced bumper-to-bumper for most of the event. Mitch’s most serious threat was fourth-place starter Mike Kiehl, who offered several challenges for the lead to no avail.
At the finish, Mitch was victorious by a mere .55 of a second over Kiehl, sixth-place starter Kyle Bachman, point leader and 10th-place starter AJ Hoffman, and seventh-place starter Troy Miller.
In the makeup roadrunner feature from July 21, fourth-place starter Bruce Wyland wired the field for his first-ever win. Wyland was chased by third-place starter Matt Lawrence for the entire race, while point leader and 10th-place starter Bob Bussey showed some speed at the halfway point and moved into third.
At the checkered flag, Wyland took the win by two seconds over Lawrence, 17th-place starter Keith Bissinger, Bussey, and seventh-place starter Brian Johnson.
In the regularly scheduled roadrunner race, polesitter John Schoch led the first lap until sixth-place starter Brian Johnson took command of the field. At the halfway point, Johnson held a sizable lead over seventh-place starter Dustin Snook and 11th-place starter Bob Bussey.
Johnson posted a 3.5-second margin of victory for his third win of the year over Snook, Bussey, third-place starter Keith Bissinger, and ninth-place starter John Fowler Jr.
SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY – 18 August 2012
358 Sprint Cars – 21 Entries
25-Lap A-Main: 1) 1M Mark Smith 2) 3 Pat Cannon 3) 5 Phil Walter 4) 23 TJ Stutts 5) 19 Colby Womer 6) 99K Cody Keller 7) 71 Jessica Anderson 8) 77 Derek Locke 9) 2 Jason Shultz 10) 21 Duane Mausteller 11) 99B Nyle Berkes 12) 1W Eric Tomecek 13) 63 Mike Walter 14) 37 Scott Flammer 15) 42 Alan Spriggle 16) 29 Derek Steward 17) 67 Jason Cherry 18) 38 Scott Wilson DNF 19) 29 Matt Horst DNF 20) 66 Ryan Kissinger DNF 21) 55 John Troxell DNF
Heat Winners: Duane Mausteller, Phil Walter, Cody Keller