T.J.Stutts in victory lane at Selinsgrove Speedway. - Image courtesy of ESS
T.J.Stutts in victory lane at Selinsgrove Speedway. - Image courtesy of ESS
T.J.Stutts in victory lane at Selinsgrove Speedway. – Image courtesy of ESS

From Selinsgrove Speedway
Selinsgrove, PA — (April 12, 2014) — TJ Stutts of Liverpool held off numerous challenges to score the 30-lap Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint (ESS) season opener for 360 sprint cars sponsored by Mach 1 Chassis Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.

Stutts, who has won three of the last four ESS-sanctioned races at Selinsgrove, collected $3,000 for his 18th career victory at the track in 358-360 sprint car competition driving the Mountain View Travel/Mach 1 Chassis No. 23.

Steve Poirier of Quebec was the night’s Fast Tees Fast Qualifier over the 26-car field with a lap time of 17.384 seconds.

Defending champion Jeff Rine of Danville wired the field for his 86th career feature win at Selinsgrove in the 25-lap late model season opener.

Brad Mitch of McClure, last year’s leading pro stock feature winner, scored his 10th career victory in the division’s 15-lap main event, while Keith Bissinger of Orangeville returned to the roadrunner class and scored his 41st career victory in the 12-lap feature.

Selinsgrove Speedway will present the first of six races this season sanctioned by the United Racing Company (URC) 360 sprint cars plus late models, pro stocks, and roadrunners at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 19. Track gates will open at 4 p.m.

The first lap of the 360 sprint car feature produced a few hair-raising moments as polesitter Mike Walter took the lead and fourth-place starter TJ Stutts and sixth-place starter Mark Smith stormed into the second and third positions, respectively. Pat Cannon, who started second, held down the fourth position for most of the event.

The race’s first caution flag unfurled on lap four when Brian Carber’s No. 8C sprinter spun in turn two. On the lap five restart, Walter and Stutts see-sawed for the front spot on the first of several occasions during the 30-lap contest, but it was Stutts who came away with the lead using the inside lane off turn four.

On a lap six restart, ninth-place starter Derek Locke advanced to fifth behind Stutts, Walter, Smith, and Cannon. On lap eight, the red flag waved when Steve Collins and Ryan Kissinger crashed in turn three. Both drivers walked away without injury.

When the race resumed, a war on wheels unfolded at the front of the pack. By the midway point, the race for the lead heated up between Stutts and Walter while the battle for third also escalated between Smith and Cannon.

Davie Franek, who started 12th, showed a lot of speed in the second half of the race and was racing eighth when his car rolled to a stop on lap 19. On the final restart on lap 22, Smith secured the second position and started to track down Stutts at the front the pack. At the checkered flag, Stutts was victorious by three seconds over Smith, Walter, Cannon, and 10th-place starter Brock Zearfoss.

Jeff Rine drew the pole position for the start the late model main event and powered into the lead at the drop of the green flag. The race was stopped on the first lap for a hard crash on the backstretch involving Chad Davis, Eric Hons, Dave Brouse Sr., and Chad Hollenbeck, whose car flipped upside down. All drivers escaped injury.

When the race resumed, Rine quickly checked out from the field despite the subsequent restarts. Second-place starter Tony Adams held down the runner up position while fourth-place starter Steve Campbell raced fourth. In the early laps of the race, fifth-place starter Jim Yoder closed in on Campbell in a race for the third spot.

On the eighth circuit, Yoder advanced to third and started to reel in Adams in the race for second. At the halfway point, Rine was leading Adams, Yoder, ninth-place starter Jim Bernheisel, and Campbell. Yoder powered into the runner up position on lap 17 and attempted to catch Rine.

The final caution flag unfurled on lap 18, regrouping the field for a seven-lap shootout. Rine held the field at bay and posted a convincing 4.9-second margin of victory over Yoder, eighth-place starter Bryan Bernheisel, Adams, and J. Bernheisel.

Third-place starter Brad Mitch rocketed into the lead at the start of the pro stock feature. Mitch was followed by last year’s pro stock Rookie of the Year and second-place starter Brandon Moser for the first two laps until Moser’s strong run came to an end on lap three.

Polesitter Peanut Heintzelman inherited the runner-up position with 11th-place starter Kyle Bachman in the third spot for the restart. Bachman took over second on lap five and attempted to reel in Mitch to no avail. At the finish, Mitch took the checkered flag over Bachman. In the post-race inspection, however, Bachman’s and Nathan Long’s cars were disqualified for rev-limiter infractions. Those penalties placed  Heintzelman, Tommy Slanker, Adam Campbell, and Andrew Shoop in the top five spots behind Mitch.

Second-place starter Bob Bussey took the early lead in the roadrunner feature and was chased by fourth-place starter Keith Bissinger for the first four laps. On the fifth circuit, Bissinger made the winning pass by Bussey in the second turn.

Late in the race, polesitter John Fowler Jr. made a charge into second as sixth-place starter Curtis Lawton pulled into the third position. At the finish, Bissinger was victorious by a mere .61 of a second over Fowler, Lawton, Dave Kamp, and Jeremy Kline.

358/360 Sprint Cars – 26 Entries
30-Lap A-Main:  1)  23 TJ Stutts ($3,000)  2) 1 Mark Smith  3) 49 Mike Walter  4) 3 Pat Cannon  5) 1W Brock Zearfoss  6) 88B Andy Best  7) F5 Mark Bittner  8) 77 Derek Locke  9) 13 Kevin Ward Jr.  10) 7 Ed Aikin  11) 25 Josh Weller  12) 55 Patrick Vigneault  13) 29S Derek Steward  14) 19 Colby Womer DNF  15) 28F Davie Franek DNF  16) 25 Aaron Ott DNF  17)  98 Joe Trenca DNF  18) 8C Brian Carber  19) 29 Jason Shultz DNF  20) 67 Steve Collins DNF  21) 66 Ryan Kissinger DNF  22) 21 Duane Mausteller DNF  23) 28 Steve Poirier DNS  24) 29L Scott Lutz DNS  25)  91 Anthnony Fiore DNS  26) 99K Cody Keller DNS
Heat Winners:  TJ Stutts, Mike Walter, Ed Aikin
Time Trials:  1) 28P Steve Poirier 17.384  2) 25 Aaron Ott 17.409  3) 77 Derek Locke 17.459  4) 1 Mark Smith 17.464  5) 29 Jason Shultz  6) 28F Davie Franek 17.506  7) 23 TJ Stutts 17.520  8) 49 Mike Walter 17.535  9) 7 Ed Aikin 17.557  10) 19 Colby Womer 17.615  11) 13 Kevin Ward Jr. 17.638  12) 3 Pat Cannon 17.638  13) 1W Brock Zearfoss 17.642  14) 88B Andy Best 17.743  15) 67 Steve Collins 17.751  16) 25 Josh Weller 17.800  17) 21 Duane Mausteller 17.802  18) 66 Ryan Kissinsger 17.852  19) 8C Brian Carber 17.922  20) 55 Patrick Vigneault 18.030  21) F5 Mark Bittner 18.094  22) 98 Joe Trenca 18.432  23) 29S Derek Steward 18.584  24) 29L Scott Lutz 19.121  25) 91 Anthony Fiore DNF  26) 99K Cody Keller DNS
Late Models – 20 Entries
25-Lap A-Main:  1) 2J Jeff Rine  2) 27 Jim Yoder  3) 119B Bryan Bernheisel  4) 88 Tony Adams  5) 119 Jim Bernheisel  6) 2 Steve Campbell  7) 61 Ken Trevitz  8) 9 Hayes Mattern  9) 7M Meade Hahn  10) 10 Dave Stamm  11) 14 Dave Brouse Sr.  12) 28 Jason Smith DNF  13) 45 Eric Hons DNF  14) 6M Harry Miller DNF  15) 5 Chad Julius DNF  16) 33C Chris Casner DNF  17) 91 Chad Davis DNF  18) 4D Chad Hollenbeck DNF  19) 15 Scott Flickinger DNS  20) 99Z Dave Zona DNS
Heat Winners:  Chad Davis, Tony Adams, Jeff Rine
Pro Stocks – 12 Entries
15-Lap A-Main:  1) 10M Brad Mitch  2) 1 Peanut Heintzelman  3) 40 Tommy Slanker  4) 2C Adam Campbell  5) 8S Andrew Shoop  6) 11 Jake Buck  7) 8M Brandon Moser  8) 31 Chris Snyder  9) 28J Jeff Ceballo   10) 32 Tom Hartman DNF 11) 99 Kyle Bachman DQ 12) 63 Nathan Long DQ
Heat Winners:  Tommy Slanker, Brad Mitch
Roadrunners – 12 Entries
12-Lap A-Main:  1) 11B Keith Bissinger  2) 02 John Fowler  3) 28 Curtis Lawton  4) 9K Dave Kamp  5) 8K Jeremy Kline  6) 7 Butch Shaffer  7) 31B Brandon Shultz  8) 76 Bob Bussey DNF  9) 22 Ricky Buss  10) 201 Brian Johnson  11) 89 John Schoch DNF  12) F14 Ed Capper DNS
Heat Winners:  Keith Bissinger, Brandon Shultz