SELINSGROVE, Pa. — Billy Moyer Jr. won the 18th annual Jeff’s Auto Body and Recycling Center Late Model National Open at Selinsgrove Speedway.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Rookie of the Year contender not only earned the $8,000 purse, but also his second series win of his career.
The Batesville, Ark., native put together his second consecutive podium finish, and doubled-up on his wins this season within a one-month span. He currently leads the Rookie of the Year standings, and with the win he further strengthened his resume toward achieving the honor.
“We earned this one,” said Moyer. “There was some competition. I just want to belong on a national tour. I’m not on Josh [Richards’] or [Shane] Clanton’s level. Hopefully we can keep-on and catch them. It’s fun to race with all the guys you look up to like [Rick] Eckert — the guys I grew up watching. Those guys show me a lot of respect, and I do the best I can to show it back. I’ve never won in Pennsylvania so this is pretty cool. I sound like a broken record but I mean everything I say.”
Moyer said his good fortune came in the redraw, where he pulled-out the starting spot for a feature set for 40 laps. Leading the 24-car field into the green flag, Moyer established his dominance early in his No. 21jr Crop Production Services/ Karl Performance Moyer/ Victory racecar. Within the first 10 laps, he ultimately increased his lead to 3.189 seconds over Eckert.
One battle that stood out in the field was between Eric Wells and hometown hero Jim Yoder for the final podium spot. This battle started early with neither of them giving ground. Yoder eventually made the pass, but the two stayed within .300 seconds of each other for the majority of the race.
The top five — Jeff Rine filled the last spot in the group — remained the same following the race’s first caution on lap 8. After the restart, the front began to separate. Moyer led by as many as 4.712 seconds with 17 laps remaining. Yoder, who was in third, fell 9.156 seconds behind the leader — nearly five seconds behind Eckert.
The suspense began to build when Eckert was gaining ground two laps later in his No 7 Monumental Paving & Excavating/ P-J Contracting Co Longhorn car; Moyer hit lapped traffic, which slowed him down. Eckert, with approximately the same advantage over Yoder, diminished Moyer’s lead down to .973 seconds with seven laps left in the feature.
The climax of the race subsequently fell at the drop of the white flag. The race’s second and final caution created a green-white-checkered scenario; in turn, the race was extended to 41 laps. The field regrouped single file, offering a chance for Eckert to get his second win of the season and for Wells to reclaim his podium position.
“No, it really wasn’t [a chance],” said Eckert, chuckling. “We were a half of a corner away, and he was better. But he was going flat and I could see that during the caution. He wasn’t spinning as much as I was, but I was too bald to race him. We’re just happy to end it in second. We really needed that. We’ll build on it. Billy: good job.”
As for Wells, he managed to pass Yoder in his No. 18 Will Kinzer Foundation for Autism Research/ Allstar Performance Longhorn machine. Rounding out the podium, Wells earned his fifth top five finish of the season. Earlier in the night, he won his sixth heat race of the season and was fastest in his qualifying group with a 19.989.
“Yeah, [Yoder] was a little better than us, but he slipped-up in the rubber there on [turn] two,” said Wells. “Finished third, won a heat tonight and a got the fast time in our group…we’ll take it. I’m just happy with what we have and we’re closer than what we were.”
Billy Moyer Jr., Rick Eckert, Eric Wells, Jim Yoder, Coleby Frye, Tyler Erb, Morgan Bagley, Chub Frank, Steve Campbell, Gary Stuhler, Frank Heckenast Jr., Shane Clanton, Josh Richards, Joey Coulter, Boom Briggs, Brandon Overton, Jeff Rine, Steve Casebolt, Tim Wilson, Bryan Bernheisel, Danny Snyder, Jeremy Miller, Chad Hollenbeck, Tony Adams.