Cannon Grabs Selinsgrove National Open


SELINSGROVE, Pa. – In a dramatic finish, Pat Cannon of Etters held off a hard-charging Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove to win the Jim Nace Memorial 30th Anniversary Selinsgrove Ford National Open for 410 sprint cars for the second year in a row Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.

In the 44-lap tribute race to the speedway’s only five-time sprint car champion, divided into two 22-lap segments with two complete payoffs, Cannon earned $6,900 for his second career win in a 410 sprint car at the track driving the Highlands’ Tire & Service Center No. 3. On Sept. 1, Cannon also won $8,000 in the National Open for 358-360 sprint cars.

Cannon placed eighth in the first segment, while Danny Lasoski of Dover, Mo., out-paced the field to claim the first round. For the third consecutive year, the Nace Memorial offered a $14,000 bonus if the same driver won both segments. Motor woes at the start of the second segment, however, knocked Lasoski out of contention for a possible $26,000 haul had he won both segments.

Brian Leppo of New Oxford, who was piloting the Clemens-owned No. 51 this weekend, was the Fast Tees Fast Qualifier with a lap time of 15.933.

Davey Sammons of Bordentown, N.J., was transported to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville with undisclosed injuries following a lap 32 crash in turn two in the second segment of the sprint car feature.

Dylan Yoder of Selinsgrove won his fourth race of the year in the 25-lap late model main event.

In the first segment of the sprint car feature, second-place starter Danny Lasoski powered into the early lead and was closely chased by polesitter Danny Dietrich. By lap five, the leaders were approaching slower traffic, which enabled third-place starter Brian Leppo to close in and make it a tight three-car battle at the front of the pack.

On a lap 12 restart after Doug Esh stopped on the track, Dietrich made a great save in turn two when his car got partially sideways on the topside of the track just as Leppo was challenging on the bottom for second. When Colby Womer’s car rolled to a stop, a second lap 12 restart saw Leppo secure the runner up position.

On the 16th lap, the red flag unfurled when Brian Montieth crashed in turn two. Under the red flag, Leppo’s car developed a flat tire, forcing him to pit. When the first segment resumed, Lasoski went on to place first by a convincing 2.7 seconds over Greg Hodnett, Chad Layton, Daryn Pittman, Dietrich, and Mark Smith, the top six finishers of whom were inverted for the start of the second segment.

With Smith and Dietrich slated to share the front row when the Nace Memorial resumed, Dietrich opted to restart the race on the rear of the field, which then placed Layton in second and Lasoski in fourth for the start.

Sixth-place starter Pat Cannon, however, stormed around the outside and took the lead entering the first turn. On lap 24 Leppo stopped on the frontstretch as Lasoski withdrew from the race with motor problems, ending his chances of sweeping both segments and claiming the bonus.

When the race resumed, Cannon was chased by Layton and Smith, who were in a torrid battle for second. On lap 32, the race was red flagged again when Davey Sammons flipped hard in turn two and was transported to an area hospital with undisclosed injuries.

On the restart, original 12th-place starter Blane Heimbach surprised Layton with a pass for third and quickly closed in on Cannon and Smith. An war on wheels unfolded in the final 10 laps of the event, with Cannon setting a blistering pace in front of Smith, Heimbach, Layton, and Hodnett.

On the 40th lap, Heimbach secured the runner-up spot and set his sites on Cannon. On the 43rd circuit, Heimbach reeled-in Cannon and attempted a pass high in turn two, only to have his car jump the cushion, causing him to lose valuable real estate on the leader. Heimbach quickly tried to make up lost ground on the final lap but it was Cannon who took the checkered flag by just .38 of a second over Heimbach, Smith, Hodnett, and Layton.

At the start of the late model feature, polesitter Chad Hollenbeck and second-place starter Jeff Smith dueled for the early lead. Racing off turn four, Smith pulled into the lead. The race was stopped on the second circuit when an eight-car pileup on the backstretch blocked the track. Sidelined from the crash was point leader Jeff Rine.

When the race resumed, Smith continued to set the pace while original 10th-place starter Dylan Yoder quickly powered into the runner-up position. For the next couple of laps, Smith and Yoder raced wheel-to-wheel for the front spot. On the sixth circuit, Yoder made the winning pass using the inside lane off turn four.

Once in front of the pack, Yoder began to stretch his lead, while Smith maintained second. In the second half of the race, ninth-place starter Steve Campbell horsepowered into the top five and took over second with 10 laps remaining.

At the finish, Yoder was victorious by six seconds over Campbell, Hollenbeck, Meade Hahn, and Smith.