SELINSGROVE, PA – Mark Smith of Sunbury held off the hard-charging Freddie Rahmer of Salfordville for the victory in Sunday night’s suspenseful 30-lap Ray Tilley Classic for 410 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway.
For Smith, driving the Mach 1 Chassis/Optilumen No. 1M, the $4,088 win was his first of the season in central Pennsylvania and fourth overall. He was the fifth different driver to receive the custom crystal cup trophy presented by the Tilley family for winning the tribute race honoring the memory of the speedway’s former four-time sprint car champion.
The win was Smith’s first in a 410 sprint car at Selinsgrove since 2003. He holds the distinction as the only driver to have won in four different classes of open wheel cars at the track, including super sportsman, 358 sprint cars, 360 sprint cars, and 410 sprint cars.
Greg Hodnett of York was the night’s Fast Tees Fast Qualifier with a lap time of 15.849 (120 MPH average), nearly eclipsing Daryn Pittman’s 2011 track record of 15.810, on the track’s new red clay surface.
Kyle Bachman of Selinsgrove inherited the lead from opening night winner Tommy Slanker of York and went on to win the 15-lap pro stock main event.
Keith Bissinger of Orangeville scored his first win of the season in the 12-lap roadrunner feature by holding off last week’s winner Ryan Zook of Mifflintown.
Selinsgrove Speedway is back in action at 7 p.m. this Saturday, April 28, with the 360 sprint cars, super late models, pro stocks in the A&A Auto Stores Pro Stock 20, and roadrunners. Pit gates will open at 4 p.m. with grandstand gates at 5 p.m.
Polesitter Gerard McIntyre pulled into the lead at the start of the 410 sprint car feature and was chased by second-place starter TJ Stutts until third-place starter Steve Buckwalter advanced to second entering turn three.
On lap four, Buckwalter’s car blew a tire on the frontstretch, causing the Royersford driver to get sideways in turn one. When his car rolled over it was struck by Jason Shultz’s sprinter. Both drivers escaped injury.
When the race resumed on lap five, McIntyre held a solid lead over fifth-place starter Mark Smith, Stutts, and fourth-place starter Freddie Rahmer. The race was slowed again on lap 10 when Blane Heimbach’s car rolled to a stop on the backstretch with a flat tire. Heimbach rejoined the field.
Smith made the winning pass using the inside lane entering turn one on the lap 11 restart. A lap later Rahmer moved into second after getting by McIntyre in turn 3. On the 14th lap, Heimbach’s car stopped on the frontstretch with mechanical issues.
At the halfway point, an intense multi-car battle unfolded for positions in the top five between Stutts, Hodnett, McIntyre, and 12th place starter Brock Zearfoss. When Zearfoss drove to the outside in turns three and four his car got sideways and struck the outside guardrail, ending his drive to the front and chances of a three-win weekend.
The final 10 laps saw Smith set the pace in front of Rahmer, Stutts, Hodnett and ninth-place starter Lucas Wolfe. In the closing laps, the leaders began to encounter slower traffic, allowing Rahmer to reel in Smith. At the checkered flag, Smith was victorious by .51 of a second in a close finish with Rahmer. Stutts, Hodnett, and Wolfe rounded out the top five.
In the season’s second pro stock feature, polesitter Tommy Slanker powered into the early lead over fourth-place starter AJ Hoffman and second-place starter Brandon Moser. On the foreboding 13th circuit, misfortune struck Slanker’s racer and allowed by fourth-place starter AJ Hoffman to lead the next lap.
With two laps remaining, third-place starter Kyle Bachman made an inside pass by Hoffman on the frontstretch to take the lead. Bachman went on to win the race by just .57 of a second over Moser, Slanker, Andrew Shoop, and Shaun Lawton.
Defending co-champion Will Brunson started on the pole in the roadrunner feature and held off co-champion and sixth-place starter Keith Bissinger for the first five laps before Bissinger took command of the field during a three-wide race in turn two on the sixth circuit.
While Bissinger set the pace, third-place starter Ryan Zook and Brunson remained in striking distance. At the checkered flag, Bissinger was victorious by the slimmest of margins over Zook, Brunson, Smith Cope, and Jake Jones.
SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY – 22 April 2018
410 Sprint Cars – 20 Entries
30-Lap A-Main: 1) M1 Mark Smith ($4,088) 2) 51 Freddie Rahmer 3) 11 TJ Stutts 4) 27 Greg Hodnett 5) 24 Lucas Wolfe 6) 39 Anthony Macri 7) 07 Gerald McIntyre 8) 44 Trey Starks 9) 14 Coleman Gulick 10) 33 Michael Walter 11) 28F Davie Franek 12) 66 Ryan Kissinger 13) 98 Joe Trenca 14) 3Z Brock Zearfoss 15) 12 Blane Heimbach 16) 17B Steve Buckwalter 17) 29 Jason Shultz 18) 9 Ryan Linder 19) 10 Joe Kata 20) 19 Colby Womer
Heat Winners: Freddie Rahmer, Steve Buckwalter, TJ Stutts
Time Trials: 1) 27 Greg Hodnett 15.849 2) 44 Trey Starks 15.878 3) 24 Lucas Wolfe 15.919 4) 39 Anthony Macri 15.994 5) 12 Blane Heimbach 16.003 6) 3Z Brock Zearfoss 16.016 7) 51 Freddie Rahmer 16.047 8) 17B Steve Buckwalter 16.056 9) 29 Jason Shultz 16.088 10) 07 Gerald McIntyre 16.177 11) M1 Mark Smith 16.202 12) 11 TJ Stutts 16.407 13) 14 Coleman Gullick 16.517 14) 28F Davie Franek 16.616 15) 10 Joe Kata 16.637 16) 98 Joe Trenca 16.707 17) 9 Ryan Linder 16.772 18) 66 Ryan Kissinger 16.992 19) 33 Michael Walter 17.190 20) 19 Colby Womer 17.664
Pro Stocks – 12 Entries
15-Lap A-Main: 1) 99B Kyle Bachman 2) 8M Brandon Moser 3) 40 Tommy Slanker 4) 8S Andrew Shoop 5) 92 Shaun Lawton 6) 00 Cory Long 7) 11B Jake Buck 8) 89 John Schoch 9) 6C AJ Hoffman 10) 9 Noah Jensen 11) 55T John Troxell 12) 14C Bill Conrad
Heat Winners: AJ Hoffman, Kyle Bachman
Roadrunners – 9 Entries
12-Lap A-Main: 1) 11 Keith Bissinger 2) 28Z Ryan Zook 3) 8B Will Brunson 4) 1 Smith Cope 5) 7 Jake Jones 6) 32 Ken Schreffler 7) 7S Butch Shaffer 8) 44C Corey Collier 9) 28 Nick Decker 10) 28M Miranda Minium
Heat Winners: Will Brunson, Jake Jones