Stevie Smith Wins Second Career Grove Opener, Cannon makes mark in 358 feature

By Shawn Brouse, Alan Holland photo

Mechanicsburg – Stevie Smith won the second Williams Grove Speedway Season Opener of his career by wiring the field from the pole Friday night, but that’s not to say that he never lost the lead.

It was second starter Tyler Walker that made a pass by Smith as the pair traversed the third and fourth turns with four laps to go but Smith didn’t give up.

Heading off of the fourth corner, Smith jockeyed his Zemco No. 1 sprinter back into the lead in order to seal the victory worth $3,600.

In the 358 sprint feature, defending champion Pat Cannon of Etters led all 20 laps to record the 22nd victory of his career at the historic oval.

For Smith, the win was number 24 on his Grove resume. He first took a season opener in 1989.

The red flag was displayed in the 410 feature on the 10th circuit when Doug Esh and Brent Marks collided while racing for the second spot in the fourth corner.

Marks got the worst of the deal and turned over while Esh continued on in second place.

Another red flag ensued seven laps later when a three-car tangle involving Mark Smith, Daryn Pittman and Danny Dietrich unfolded in the first corner.

Double spins by Brian Montieth, who was originally running fourth, on laps 18 and 20 slowed the pace even more but the restart of lap 20 was when Walker went to work.

The Californian pitched the Keen No. 17 deep into the turns lap after lap in an effort to snare the lead and win and for a fleeting moment came up with control only to see Smith retake command and pull out the victory.

Walker was second followed by Esh, Lance Dewease and Cory Haas,

Sixth through 10th went to Aaron Ott, Adam Wilt, 21st starter Greg Hodnett, Brian Leppo and Steve Buckwalter.

Heats went to Leppo, Wilt and Ott with Justin Henderson scoring the consolation.

Cannon’s 358 win was a momentous one for the lanky driver of the Highlands No. 3 machine.

The checkered flag was the 55th of his 358 sprint career overall and it tied him with Chad Layton as the winningest driver of all time on the area 358 circuit.

Cannon was never heeded on his way to the win.

Scott Geesey was second followed by Billy Dietrich, Blane Heimbach and Chad Trout.

Sixth through 10th went to Dale Hammaker, Adrian Shaffer, Kyle Moody, Glendon Forsythe and Logan Schuchart.

Heats were taken by Heimbach, Trout and Hammaker with Ted Thomas taking the consolation.

Williams Grove returns to action on March 25 with 410 sprint and super late models at 7:30 PM.

Feature Finishes:

410 sprints, 25 laps: 1. Stevie Smith, 2. Tyler Walker, 3. Doug Esh, 4. Lance Dewease, 5. Cory Haas, 6. Aaron Ott, 7. Adam Wilt, 8. Greg Hodnett, 9. Brian Leppo, 10. Steve Buckwalter, 11. Mike Erdley, 12. Fred Rahmer, 13. Rick Lafferty, 14. Justin Henderson, 15. Brad McClelland, 16. Don Kreitz Jr., 17. Curt Michael, 18. Brian Montieth, 19. Mark Smith, 20. Daryn Pittman, 21. Danny Dietrich, 22. Derek Sell, 23. Brent Marks, 24. Johnny Mackison Jr.

358 sprints, 20 laps: 1. Pat Cannon, 2. Scott Geesey, 3. Billy Dietrich, 4. Blane Heimbach, 5. Chad Trout, 6. Dale Hammaker, 7. Adrian Shaffer, 8. Kyle Moody, 9. Glenndon Forsythe, 10. Logan Schuchart, 11. Nate Hammaker, 12. Brie Hershey, 13. Michael Ruttkamp, 14. Jordan Frontz, 15. Ricky Stonebraker, 16. Tim Berkheimer, 17. Ted Thomas, 18. Brian Garland, 19. Amy Ott, 20. Joe Trone Jr., 21. Rich Eichelberger, 22. Aaron Eichelberger, 23. Chris Shuttlesworth, 24. Colby Womer.