selinsgrove speedway

By Steve Inch

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – In what has quickly become the challenge race of all challenge races in Pennsylvania, the 11th Annual Mach 1 Chassis National Open for 358-360 Sprint Cars is expected to be another showdown among drivers from the 358, 360, and 410 sprint car divisions at Selinsgrove Speedway this Saturday, Sept. 3, beginning at 7 p.m.

The 35-lap Open will pay $8,000 to win and $500 to start out of the lucrative $36,000-plus purse. The top five positions combined will pay out more than $22,000, with $1,000 to finish tenth. Race sponsor Mach I Chassis also announced a $500 bonus to the highest-finishing driver in a Mach 1 Chassis in the A-main.

“The generous sponsorship support from Brian Scandle and Mark Smith at Mach 1 Chassis has made this race one of the premier 358-360 sprint car races in the United States,” said speedway communications director Steve Inch. “Fans will have the unique opportunity to see drivers from all three of the sport’s main sprint car classes compete in one spectacular event. We would like to thank Brian and Mark for all of their input and support and look forward to this weekend’s race.”

In 358-360 sprint car Open history at Selinsgrove Speedway, ten races have produced seven different winners.

Daryn Pittman of Indianapolis, Ind., is the defending winner of the 358-360 sprint car Open. Michael Heffner, Pittman’s car owner, recently confirmed his team’s intentions to be in the field to defend the title this weekend. Pittman, an 11-time winner in both 360 and 410 sprint car competition in 2011, won the “King of the 360s” Ronald Laney Memorial at East Bay Raceway in Tampa, Fla., as well as last Friday night’s URC Rislone 358-360 Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway.

Selinsgrove Speedway’s current A&A Auto Stores 358 sprint car point leader and three-time winner Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove won the 2005 Open and the rain-postponed 2009 edition of the Open that was run in the spring of 2010.

Pat Cannon of Etters, central Pennsylvania’s leading 358 sprint car feature winner with nine victories, won the Open in 2007 and 2008. Cannon is also the track’s leading sprint car feature winner with five checkered flags this season.

TJ Stutts of Liverpool won the inaugural event in 2001 and returned to Victory Lane in the 2003 race. Adrian Shaffer of Hallam was the Open champion in 2002, while Nate Snyder of Halifax took the victory in the 2004 race. Phil Walter of McClure took home the trophy in 2006.

A unique qualifying format was developed for this event that will tentatively include two rounds of heat races, with points being awarded for a driver’s finish in each qualifier to ultimately determine his or her starting position in the main event. In lieu of a pill draw, times from the practice lap sessions will be utilized to determine which drivers start in each heat. The starting lineup for the second round of heats will be a complete inversion of the starting positions from the first round. Qualifiers from the B-main will round out the starting grid for the A-main.

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. The Middleburg IGA will sponsor the championship trophy.

Joining the 358-360 sprint cars on Sept. 3 will be the pro stocks in a complete series of heat races and a 15-lap main event paying $500 to win.

Track gates will open at 5 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. Track officials are also considering a second rain date of Labor Day Monday in the event Saturday and Sunday’s attempts are rained out.

2011 358/360 Sprint Car Open Purse: 1) $8,000 2) $5,000 3) $3,400 4) $3,100 5) $2,550 6) $1,600 7) $1,450 8) $1,300 9) $1,225 10) $1,000 11) $650 12) $600 13) $550 14-25) $500

Admission Prices For Sept. 3, 2011: Adults $15; Students (12-17) $12; Kids 11 & Under Free; Pit Passes $25

Rain Date: Sunday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m.