SELINSGROVE, Pa. – TJ Stutts of Liverpool scored a convincing flag-to-flag victory in Saturday night’s 13th Annual Mach 1 Chassis National Open for 358-360 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway. The win marked the third time Stutts won the prestigious race, having also won the Open in 2001 and 2003.
The $8,000 victory in the 35-lap event was the 17th of Stutts’ career at the track and his second this season driving the Mountain View Travel No. 23M. This year’s edition of the Open was co-sanctioned by the United Racing Company and Empire Super Sprint clubs and drew a stellar field of 50 entries.
Mach 1 Chassis drivers Stutts, Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove, and Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown finished in the top three positions. JJ Grasso of Pedricktown, N.J., was the night’s Fast Tees Fast Qualifier with a lap time of 17.383 (109.6 average miles per hour).
Brad Mitch of McClure won his eighth race of the year in the 15-lap pro stock feature.
Selinsgrove Speedway will present a Twin 20’s program for 410 sprint cars at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, plus four cylinder pure stocks. Track gates will open at 2 p.m. In the event Williams Grove Speedway needs to use Oct. 6 for a rain date for the World of Outlaws-sanctioned National Open, the Selinsgrove race will not be held.
Front row starters Robbie Stillwaggon and TJ Stutts dueled for the early lead at the start of the sprint car feature. Stillwaggon edged out Stutts in turns one and two but Stutts took command at the completion the first lap. Fourth-place starter Brock Zearfoss raced in the third spot while eighth-place starter Blane Heimbach quickly powered into the fourth position.
The event’s first caution flag unfurled on lap two when Colby Womer’s car stopped in turn three. When the race resumed, Stutts held the lead as Zearfoss advanced to second and Heimbach took over third. A three-car melee in turn four slowed the race again on lap five.
On the lap six restart, Stutts protected the lead on the bottom of the track with Zearfoss, Heimbach, and fifth-place starter Pat Cannon in pursuit. Heimbach drove by Zearfoss for second on lap nine and three circuits later Cannon was pressuring Zearfoss for third place.
With 20 laps completed, Stutts began to stretch his lead in traffic as a torrid battle unfolded for the second spot between Heimbach and Cannon. In heavy lapped traffic, Stutts set the pace as Cannon took over second on lap 28. In the final five laps, Cannon attempted to reel in Stutts to no avail.
Stutts’ margin of victory was 2.9 seconds over Cannon, whose car was five pounds light during the post-race inspection and disqualified. Heimbach was credited with finishing second, followed by Zearfoss, seventh-place starter Aaron Ott, and 18th-place starter Mark Smith.
Polesitter Devon Hart led the first two laps of the pro stock feature until second-place starter Brad Mitch made the winning pass using the inside lane in turn two. A close race for the runner-up position ensued between Hart and sixth-place starter Kyle Bachman.
In the second half of the event, Mitch, Hart, and Bachman broke away from the rest of the field in a tight three-car battle at the front of the pack. At the finish, Mitch was victorious by just .74 of a second over Hart, Bachman, Rob Baker, and Johnny Bouse.
SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY: 2013 September 28
URC/ESS 358-360 Sprint Cars – 50 Entries
35-Lap National Open: 1) 23 TJ Stutts ($8,000) 2) 12 Blane Heimbach 3) 1W Brock Zearfoss 4) 25 Aaron Ott 5) 1 Mark Smith 6) 19M Brent Marks 7) 28F Davie Franek 8) 2 Jason Shultz 9) 25 JJ Grasso 10) 27 Lance Dewease 11) 89 Robbie Stillwaggon 12) 100 Mike Walter 13) 29W Josh Weller 14) 56 Nate Snyder 15) 15B Mark Bittner 16) 19 Colby Womer 17) 67 Steve Collins 18) 1Z Jessica Zemken 19) 13 Kevin Ward 20) 3 Pat Cannon DQ 21) 33F Stewart Friesen DNF 22) 65 Dave Ely DNF 23) 5G Curt Michael DNF 24) X Dan Mazy DNF 25) 56W Randy West DNF 26) 19K Paul Kinney DNF
1st Set Heat Winners: Robbie Stillwaggon, Pat Cannon, TJ Stutts, Josh Weller, Blane Heimbach
2nd Set Heat Winners: Lance Dewease, Dan Mazy, Jason Shultz, Mark Bittner, Dave Ely
B-Mains: Brent Marks, Mike Walter
Top 10 Time Trials: 1) 25 JJ Grasso 17.383 2) 1 Mark Smith 17.461 3) 28F Davie Franek 17.484 4) 1Z Jessica Zemken 17.488 5) 12 Blane Heimbach 17.494 6) 89 Robbie Stillwaggon 17.515 7) 3 Pat Cannon 17.515 8) 23 TJ Stutts 17.548 9) 29W Josh Weller 17.622 10) 56W Randy West 17.682
Pro Stocks – 24 Entries
15-Lap A-Main: 1) 10M Brad Mitch 2) 11 Devon Hart 3) 99 Kyle Bachman 4) 74 Rob Baker 5) 28B Johnny Bouse 6) 28 AJ Schilling 7) 33 Marc Bitler 8) 8M Brandon Moser 9) 85L Pete Lauver 10) 3G Jim Gerhart 11) S8 Andy Shoop 12) 94 Kenny Day 13) 6 Nate Herman 14) 20 John Myers 15) 31 Chris Snyder 16) 4 Jim Payne 17) 12 Jason Nace 18) 1 Jamin Chapman DQ 19) 06 Frank Reisser DNF 20) 26S Nate Stroup DNF 21) 83 Matt Wilson DNS 22) 85 Terry Lauver DNS 23) 15S Toby Stahl DNS 24) 7 Jason Smith DNS
Heat Winners: Brad Mitch, Matt Wilson, Kyle Bachman