SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Saturday night’s Middleswarth Potato Chips Firecracker 30 for 358 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway was a race to remember as front row starter Pat Cannon stormed into the early lead and was eventually tracked down and passed for the win on lap 21 by sixth-place starter Jason Shultz.
The popular victory for Shultz was worth $2,000 and was his third of the year and 11th career at the track driving the Mach 1 Chassis/Martin’s refrigeration No. 2. He became the ninth different driver to win the Firecracker race in the event’s 12th running. His margin of victory was a mere .41 of a second over Cannon at the checkered flag.
Cody Keller was the Fast Tees Fast Timer with a lap of 17.936 (106 average miles per hour) in sprint car qualifying. Sixth-place starter Jim Bernheisel held off point leader and 12th-place starter Jeff Rine to score his second win of the season by just .16 of a second in the 25-lap late model feature. Third-place starter Brad Mitch led flag-to-flag for his third win of the year in the 15-lap pro stock summer championship, while Bob Bussey, another sixth-place starter on the night, took his fourth win of the season in the 12-lap roadrunner race.
T.J. Stutts and Pat Cannon shared the front row for the start of the sprint car feature. On the initial start, rookie driver Johnny Smith, who started 20th, flipped his sprint car violently through turns one and two after making contact with the first turn wall. Smith escaped injury. On the second attempt to start the race, outside front row starter Cannon stormed into the lead and was chased by Stutts.
The caution flag unfurled on lap three when Colby Womer and Phil Walter were involved in a pair of spins in turns one and two. Cannon set a torrid pace on the lap four restart and opened up a straightaway lead while Stutts raced second and sixth-place starter Jason Shultz began his drive to the front of the pack. On lap 10, Shultz passed Stutts for second and set his sights on Cannon. At the halfway point, Cannon was leading Shultz, Stutts, fourth-place starter Ryan Kissinger, and 10th-place starter Larry Kelleher.
In the next five laps, Shultz began to close the gap with Cannon and by lap 20 was challenging for the lead. On the 21st circuit, Shultz made the winning pass by Cannon using the inside lane off turn two. But the race was anything but over at this point as Cannon kept the suspense level at an all-time high while he battled back and even put in subsequent bids for the lead. Shultz ultimately kept Cannon at bay and took the checkered flag by half of a second. Stutts, 13th-place starter Kevin Nouse, and Kelleher completed the top five.