By: Frank Buhrman and Stephanie Stevens Dodson
In some ways, the 2019 PA Sprint Series season has been divided into two parts: before and after July 13, the day Garrett Bard drove his first PASS/IMCA event.
Bard added his third PASS victory and fourth overall in RaceSaver sprints Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway. That also gave the rookie six top-three finishes and seven top-fives in just 11 PASS starts. He also has a Bedford Speedway win and other top-five finishes in Laurel Highlands Sprint Series competition, and he has continued to win in 600cc micro sprints.
On Saturday, the 23-year-old from Wells Tannery jumped from his third starting position into the lead on the second lap of the 20-lap feature and never looked back, handling lapped traffic smoothly in his CG Racing Engines/Lias Tire #95.
Defending PASS Champion “Zach Daddy” Newlin slipped past Keith Prutzman at the finish line to take second, with the veteran Prutzman, who was in the top five throughout the race finishing third.
Devin Adams, who won the last time PASS raced at Selinsgrove, charged from 10th starting spot to fourth, and Ian Cumens claimed fifth.
Rounding out the Top 10 were Doug Dodson, two-time Selinsgrove winner and hometown racer Ken Duke Jr., who came all the way from 22nd starting spot, Jimmy White, Friday night’s Williams Grove winner Dave Grube, and Nathan Gramley.
On lap 17, Josh Spicer blew an engine and caught fire, bringing out the red flag. While the cars were stopped on the track, Jaremi Hanson’s car also caught fire. Both drivers exited their cars and were OK.
Also while the cars were stopped, Frye, who had been running a strong second behind Bard, discovered a tire going down and had to withdraw to the pits.
Newlin, Gramley and Adams won heat races for the 29 305 sprinters on hand, with Jake Waters taking the B-Main. Waters exchanged his regular #10 for #44 on a car lovingly painted and lettered to match Jim Nace’s car from 1992. Waters’ team had wanted to honor Nace if PASS ran as part of the Jim Nace Memorial National Open, as was the case Saturday.
The track was fast, with 19 drivers posting best laps during their heats or the B-Main that were faster than the unofficial record of 19.040 set in July 2017 by Tyler Reeser.
Adams set a new 8-lap record for 305 sprints in his heat race.
Dylan Proctor, a contender for RaceSaver Sprints national rookie-the-year and runner-up Friday night at Williams Grove, could not start his heat due to rear end problems. His crew fixed the issue, and Proctor was up to third in his heat when the #92 ran out of fuel on the final lap.
On the first lap of the B-Main, Kruz Kepner made contact with Fred Arnold and was unable to continue. With two laps to go, Kepner’s teammate, Will Brunson, had his car catch fire. Brunson was OK, but it was a bad race for the team.
Results from Selinsgrove Speedway Saturday, September 14
HEAT 1 – 1. 11Z-Zach Newlin; 2. 55B-Rick Romig; 3. 28-Keith Prutzman; 4. 53-Jimmy White; 5. 46-Mike Alleman; 6. 71-Josh Spicer; 7. 88-Fred Arnold; 8. 19-Kruz Kepner; 9. 2-Erin Statler; 10. 21M-Cassandra Minium.
HEAT 2 – 1. 23-Nathan Gramley; 2. 79-Ian Cumens; 3. 20-Doug Dodson; 4. 97-Kenny Heffner; 5. 41Z-Jared Zionkowski; 6. R6-Reed Thompson; 7. 5-John Walp; 8. 44-Jake Waters; 9. 301-Chad Connor.
HEAT 3 – 1. 99A-Devin Adams; 2. 95-Garrett Bard; 3. 56-Jake Frye; 4. 3D-Dave Grube; 5. 36-Jaremi Hanson; 6. 55-Domenic Melair; 7. 67-Ken Duke; 8. 1st-Steve Surniak; 9. 51-Dave Graber; 10. 19B-Will Brunson.
B-MAIN – 1. 44-Jake Waters; 2. 5-John Walp; 3. 1st-Steve Surniak; 4. 67-Ken Duke; 5. 88-Fred Arnold; 6. 301-Chad Connor; 7. 2-Erin Statler; 8. 51-Dave Graber; 9. 92-Dylan Proctor (DNF); 10. 19B-Will Brunson (DNF); 11. 21M-Cassandra Minium (DNF).
FEATURE – 1. 95-Garrett Bard; 2. 11Z-Zack Newlin; 3. 28-Keith Prutzman; 4. 99A-Devin Adams; 5. 79-Ian Cumens; 6. 20-Doug Dodson; 7. 67-Ken Duke Jr.; 8. 53-Jimmy White; 9. 3D-Dave Grube; 10. 23-Nathan Gramley; 11. 97-Kenny Heffner; 12. 41Z-Jared Zionkowski; 13. 5-John Walp; 14. R6-Reed Thompson; 15. 55-Domenic Melair; 16. 2-Erin Statler; 17. 55B-Rick Romig; 18. 88-Fred Arnold; 19. 46-Mike Alleman; 20. 301-Chad Connor; 21. 56-Jake Frye (DNF); 22. 36-Jaremi Hanson (DNF); 23. 71-Josh Spicer; 24. 44-Jake Waters. DNQ – 51-Dave Graber; 92-Dylan Proctor; 19B-Will Brunson; 21M-Cassandra Minium; 19-Kruz Kepner; 1ST-Steve Surniak.
Next weekend PASS joins the Laurel Highlands Sprint Series for a pair of co-sanctioned events, running Saturday night at Bedford Speedway and Sunday at Hagerstown Speedway – both unusual nights for those tracks.
At Bedford, PASS is part of the second night of the Bedford Fall Fest races and will join late model sportsman cars, pure stocks and 4-cylinders. At Hagerstown, PASS will be supporting Tony Stewart’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions.
The events also will mark the end of the 2019 RaceSaver Sprint points race. Ken Duke Jr. leads the national RaceSaver points over fellow Pennsylvanian Scott Lutz, and both are expected to compete in next weekend’s races. Zach Newlin is second to Duke in PASS points.
Next weekend’s events also are the final races for PASS before the Keystone RaceSaver Challenge at Port Royal Speedway on October 12.