Pat Cannon. - Rick Rarer / Photo

Pat Cannon. - Rick Rarer / Photo
From Selinsgrove Speedway

Selinsgrove, PA — (March 31, 2012) — Pat Cannon of Etters turned in a dominating performance for his victory in Saturday night’s Mach 1 Chassis Mid-Atlantic 360 Sprint Car Series opener at Selinsgrove Speedway.

The $2,500 victory at the wheel of the Highlands’ Tire Service No. 3 was Cannon’s third of the early 2012 season, having also won 358 sprint car features at Port Royal and Williams Grove Speedways.

Saturday night’s race was the first of six in the inaugural $120,000 360 sprint car series this season sponsored by Mach 1 Chassis of Mechanicsburg. The series includes five events at Selinsgrove and one race at Lincoln Speedway.

Mike Kiehl of Ashland won his first career pro stock feature in the division’s 15-lap main event, while Keith Bissinger of Orangeville took the checkered flag in the 12-lap season opener for the roadrunners.

Selinsgrove Speedway will hold an open practice session this Wednesday, April 4, from 6:30-9 p.m. The track will swing back into action with the season’s first four division show at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 7, featuring the 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks, and roadrunners.

Prior to the waving of the green flag to start the sprint car feature, polesitter Colby Womer’s No. 19 developed a flat tire, forcing him to pit and restart on the rear of the field. Womer’s misfortune placed original third-place starter Pat Cannon on the pole for the start of the race.

On the initial start, several cars got sideways in turn four and 11th-place starter Robbie Stillwagon’s No. 89 took a series of twisting flips. The crash also collected 18th-place starter Blane Heimbach and ninth-place starter Ryan Bohlke. All drivers escaped injury.

When the race resumed, Cannon opened up a convincing lead at the onset and was chased by original fourth-place starter T.J. Winegardner. By the third circuit, Cannon had stretch his lead to a straightaway over Winegardner, fifth-place starter Daryn Pittman and sixth-place starter Davie Franek.

On the seventh lap, Cannon’s lead was erased when the caution flag unfurled for second-place starter Troy Betts, whose car rolled to a stop on the track. On the lap eight restart, Pittman drove by Winegardner for second and Franek followed Pittman into third. A torrid battle unfolded for second between Pittman and Franek while Cannon again pulled away.

Winegardner brought out the next caution flag on lap 12 when he parked his car in the first turn. On the lap 13 restart, seventh-place starter Chuck Hebing stormed by Franek for third and set his sites on Pittman.

The red flag stopped the race again on lap 16 when Bill Sherman flipped his sprint car in turn two. Sherman was not injured in the crash. On the final restart, Cannon led the field around the ultra-fast half-mile as Pittman and Hebing dueled for second. On the 18th circuit, Hebing made an exciting pass by Pittman for the runner up position using the inside line entering turn three.

Once Hebing secured the second position, he began to show even more speed and attempted to reel in Cannon to no avail. At the checkered flag, Cannon was victorious by 2.8 seconds over Hebing, Pittman, Franek, and 16th-place starter Mark Smith.

Second-place starter Nate Kerstetter powered into the lead at the start of the pro stock feature and was trailed closely by fourth-place starter Mike Kiehl for most of the race. In the early laps, third-place starter Jason Smith made a close three-car battle at the front of the pack along with polesitter Tim Krape.

On the ninth circuit, Smith brought out the caution flag when his race car developed a flat tire. On the restart, Kerstetter held off the challenges of Kiehl for the lead until the 13th lap, when Kiehl made the winning pass using the inside line in turns one and two.

For the final two circuits, Kiehl kept his 21K in front of the pack and posted a mere .94 of a second margin of victory over Kerstetter, ninth-place starter AJ Hoffman, seventh-place starter Kyle Bachman, and sixth-place starter Doug Minium.

In the roadrunner race, second-place starter Ricky Bender and fourth-place starter Bob Bussey dueled for the lead for the first three laps until seventh-place starter Keith Bissinger stormed into the lead with outside pass in turn two on lap four.

While Bissinger set the pace at the front of the pack in the car known as “The Tank,” Bussey secured the runner up position from Bender. In the final laps of the race, ninth-place starter Brian Johnson began to show a lot of speed and advanced to third.

At the checkered flag, Bissinger was victorious by only .75 of a second over Bussey, Johnson, Bender, and third-place starter Scott Dunham Jr.

360 Sprint Cars – 22 Entries
25-Lap A-Main: 1) 3 Pat Cannon $2,500 2) 45 Chuck Hebing Jr. 3) 27 Daryn Pittman 4) 28F Davie Franek 5) 1 Mark Smith 6) 23M TJ Stutts 7) 13 Kevin Ward 8) 1Z Jessica Zemkin 9) 71 Jessica Anderson 10) 67 Steve Collins 11) 6S Bill Sherman 12) 11T TJ Winegardner 13) 22 Troy Betts 14) 36 Mark Watkins 15) 19 Colby Womer 16) 21 Duane Mausteller 17) 18 Ryan Bohlke 18) 89 Robbie Stillwagon 19) 12 Blane Heimbach 20) 11 Eric Tomecek 21) 99K Cody Keller 22) 37 Scott Flammer
Heat Winners Round 1: Davie Franek, Darn Pittman, T.J. Winegardner (NTR 8 Laps: 2:20.620)
Heat Winners Round 2: Pat Cannon, Colby Womer, Troy Betts
Pro Stocks – 19 Entries
15-Lap A-Main: 1) 21K Mike Kiehl 2) 8K Nate Kerstetter 3) 19 AJ Hoffman 4) 99 Kyle Bachman 5) 12 Doug Minium 6) 2 Jason Schmidt 7) 115 Shaun Miller 8) 85L Pete Lauver 9) 07 Tim Krape 10) 63 Nathan Long 11) 85R Russ Lauver 12) 28J Jeff Ceballo 13) 99H Peanut Heintzelman 14) 9 Hayes Mattern 15) 28 Jason Smith 16) 29 Adam Wray 17) 71 Kurt Wray 18) 10M Brad Mitch 19) 28C Dan Condo
Heat Winners: Tim Krape, Nate Kerstetter
Roadrunners – 21 Entries
12-Lap A-Main: 1) 11 Keith Bissinger 2) 76 Bob Bussey 3) 201 Brian Johnson 4) 29B Ricky Bender 5) 69 Scott Dunham Jr. 6) 111 Matt Lawrence 7) 15 Dustin Snook 8) 28 Curtis Lawton 9) 31B Brandon Shultz 10) 7 Butch Shaffer 11) 02 John Fowler 12) 44 Corey Collier 13) 15W Shawn Wondoloski 14) 112 Ben Feree 15) 2 Adam Campbell 16) 8K Jeremy Kline 17) 111X Larry Alvord 18) 89 John Schoch 19) 25J Nate Romig 20) 41D Dennis Conrad 21) 77J Jeff Swanger
Heat Winners: Scott Dunham Jr., Ricky Bender