By Steve Inch

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The wait might very well have been worth it. When the
checkered flag fell on the 30-lap rescheduled 2009 National Open for 358
sprint cars, which was rained out last September and completed Saturday
night at Selinsgrove Speedway, Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove came away with
the victory following a suspenseful wheel-to-wheel duel with Pat Cannon of

A former Open winner in 2005, Heimbach collected $3,000 for his 30th career
358 sprint car victory at the track behind the wheel of the Goff
Racing/Creasy Signs No. 12. Cannon, who was the two-time defending Open
winner, set a new one-lap track record of 17.360 in qualifying and received
a $100 bonus for the Fast Tees Fast Time Award in Memory of Jim Nace. In
all, 12 drivers broke the track record that was set by Cannon in 2008.

Brad Mitch of McClure won the 12-lap season opening event for roadrunners.
The win marked the 17th of Mitch’s career in roadrunner racing at the

Selinsgrove Speedway will present the first four division racing program of
the season featuring 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks, and
roadrunners at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 10. Track gates will open at 4 p.m.

On the start of the sprint car feature, several cars bobbled and made
contact racing off turn four, sending 11th-place starter Phil Walter into
the inside frontstretch guardrail. Walter, the 2006 Open winner, was
sidelined when his race car received extensive front end damage. When the
race restarted, polesitter Josh Beard beat second-place starter Blane
Heimbach into the first turn for the early race lead.

On the fourth circuit, Heimbach horsepowered his way around Beard while
exiting turn four to take command of the field. Pat Cannon, who started
sixth, passed fourth-place starter Nate Snyder, the 2004 Open champion, on
the ninth lap to move into the third position.

The event’s second caution flag unfurled on lap 11 when Jessica Anderson
stopped on the frontstretch with a flat tire. When the race resumed,
Heimbach continued to set a blistering pace, while Beard, Cannon, Snyder,
and 10th-place starter TJ Stutts, the 2001 and 2003 Open winner, raced in
the top five.

Cannon drove by Beard for second on the 14th circuit and set his sites on
Heimbach. By lap 21, Cannon began to reel in Heimbach in traffic and a
thrilling chase unfolded for the lead. The race’s final caution flag
unfurled when Snyder, who was racing fourth, stopped in turn two with a
flat tire and mechanical woes.

During the final four laps, a suspenseful wheel-to-wheel race took place
between Heimbach and Cannon for the lead and victory. While Heimbach
maintained his momentum around the top of the track, Cannon pulled even
using the inside lane. Cannon was scored as the lead on the 29th lap,
although Heimbach was able to reclaim the front spot with an inside pass
entering turn one.

At the checkered flag, Heimbach was victorious by a mere .27 of a second
over Cannon, Stutts, third-place starter Jason Shultz, and Beard.

Second-place starter Cory Long powered into the lead at the start of the
roadrunner feature. By the completion of the first lap, however, it was
fifth-place starter Brad Mitch who came away with the early race lead with
a pass on the frontstretch.

By the fifth circuit, Mitch began to weave his way around slower traffic,
allowing him to stretch his lead over Long and sixth-place starter Scott
Dunham. At the halfway point of the race, Long and Dunham dueled for the
runner up position.

A crash in turn four involving Butch Shaffer and Doug Minium Jr. erased
Mitch’s lead and regrouped the field. On the ensuing restart, Long
attempted to stick with Mitch in the final laps to no avail. At the
checkered flag, Mitch was victorious by two seconds over Long, third-place
starter Kyle Miller, Dunham, and eighth-place starter Erik Pinkerton.

358 Sprint Cars – 28 Entries
30-Lap A-Main: 1) 12 Blane Heimbach $3,000 2) 3 Pat Cannon 3) 2T TJ Stutts
4) 2S Jason Shultz 5) 5B Josh Beard 6) 4R Davie Franek 7) 19W Colby Womer
8) 22T Matt Boland 9) 14 Matt Heimbach 10) 16H Matt Horst 11) 19 Jordan
Frontz 12) 21 Duane Mausteller 13) 76 Larry Kelleher 14) 66 Ryan Kissinger
15) 81 Bob Beidleman 16) 769 Steve Nederostek 17) 63 Mike Walter 18) 56
Nate Snyder 19) 23M Tom Wise 20) 71 Jessica Anderson 21) 1 Brian Nornhold
22) 28 Chuck Paige 23) 77 Derek Locke 24) 5 Phil Walter
Time Trials: 1) Pat Cannon 17.360; 2) Colby Womer 17.387; 3) Nate Snyder
17.507; 4) Jason Shultz 17.508; 5) Blane Heimbach 17.537 6) Josh Beard
17.655 7) Matt Heimbach 17.660 8) Matt Boland 17.833 9) Mike Walter 17.839;
10) TJ Stutts 17.863 11) Phil Walter 17.865 12) Jordan Frontz 17.871 13)
Davie Franek 17.930 14) Larry Kelleher 17.986 15) Matt Horst 18.007 16)
Duane Mausteller 18.008; 17) Bob Beidleman 18.070 18) Tom Wise 18.076 19)
Ryan Kissinger 18.095 20) Derek Locke 18.101 21) Steve Buckwalter 18.175
22) Brian Nornhold 18.288 23) Jessica Anderson 18.349 24) Chuck Paige
18.357 25) Cody Keller 18.487 26) Steve Nederostek 18.618; 27) John Troxell
No Time; 28) Scott Flammer No Time
Heat Winners: Duane Mausteller, Bob Beidleman, Matt Horst
Consolation Winner: Ryan Kissinger