SELINSGROVE, Pa. – For the second week in a row, Pat Cannon found himself in a hotly-contested battle for the lead and win in Saturday night’s 30-lap Joe Whitcomb Memorial for 358 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Cannon see-sawed for the lead with Ryan Kissinger of Bloomsburg for several laps late in the race before securing the front spot and scoring his fifth win of the year and third in the Whitcomb Memorial. The $1,771 victory was his 46th career in 358-360 sprint car competition at the track driving the Highlands’ Tire & Service Centers No. 3.
Cannon was also the Fast Tees Fast Timer of the night in qualifying with a lap time of 17.430 (109.384 average miles per hour).
Jeff Rine of Danville turned in a convincing performance for his fourth win of the year and 83rd of his career at Selinsgrove in the 25-lap late model feature.
A.J. Stroup of Evandale held off several challengers for his 15th career pro stock win in the division’s 15-lap main event. The win was Stroup’s first at the track since 2010, while Bob Bussey of Northumberland drove to his third win of the year in the 12-lap roadrunner race.
Polesitter Derek Locke powered into the lead at the start of the sprint car feature. Front row starter TJ Stutts raced a close second until his inside top-wing panel sheered off and brought out the caution flag for debris. Stutts opted to stay on the track with a broken wing and fought his mis-handling race car while fifth-place starter Pat Cannon made a charge into the runner-up position.
Cannon chased Locke around the quick half-mile oval for several laps and made a pass for the lead using the inside line in turn three on lap 12. At the halfway point, Cannon was leading third-place starter Josh Beard and 10th-place starter Ryan Kissinger.
The caution flag unfurled on lap 18 when Scott Wilson and Austin Reed tangled in the third turn. On the restart, Cannon continued to set the pace as Kissinger stormed around the top-side of the race track and eventually took over the lead. Cannon battled back and the two drivers see-sawed for the lead for several laps.
Another caution flag broke up an intense battle for the lead when Stutts’ car blew a tire on the frontstretch. During the caution period, the red flag was displayed for a fuel stop. When the race resumed, Cannon began to stretch his lead as Beard drove into the second position. At the finish, Cannon was victorious by 2.7 seconds over Beard, sixth-place starter Jason Shultz, Locke, and 20th-place starter Larry Kelleher.