Selinsgrove race report 2002-03-30

Teenager Purks wins first time out in sprints! Large crowd & car count highlight Selinsgrove opener SELINSGROVE, Pa. -- Kyles Purks of Langhorne made his first race in a sprint car a memorable one when he wired the field for his victory in the...

Teenager Purks wins first time out in sprints!
Large crowd & car count highlight Selinsgrove opener

SELINSGROVE, Pa. -- Kyles Purks of Langhorne made his first race in a sprint car a memorable one when he wired the field for his victory in the season opener at Selinsgrove Speedway on Saturday night.

"My first race^×I can't believe it," said the jubilant 16-year-old in victory lane. "It's a dream come true. I've waited my whole life for this."

Purks started the 25-lap main event on the outside of the front row and edged out polesitter Jim Nace of Thompsontown for the early-race lead. Since the onset, Purks persevered several challenges and drove his open wheel racer like a seasoned professional.

"It's easier than I thought," Purks said of driving the full-size open wheel cars. "They run me hard and I'm going to run them just as hard."

The event's first caution flag unfurled for Charlie Andersen when he stopped on the frontstretch on lap four. At the same time, Tim Seiler and Brian Moyer collided in turn three causing the red flag to be displayed. Both drivers escaped injury.

On the ensuing restart, Joe Whitcomb spun on the backstretch and collected Texas-transplant Justin Zimmerman, who flipped over in his sprint car. No injuries were reported.

When the race resumed, Purks continued to set the pace while Nace dueled with fifth-place starter Billy Dietrich for the second position. On lap nine, Purks caught lapped traffic but maintained the lead with Nace and ninth-place starter Craig Eshenaur in close pursuit.

Deitrich withdrew from the race on lap 11 as Purks led the star-filled field in convincing fashion.

On the 21st circuit, Nace was forced to relinquish the second spot when his race car stopped on the backstretch with a flat tire.

For the final restart, Purks held Eshenaur, sixth-place starter TJ Stutts, fourth-place starter Jake Radabaugh and 13th-place starter Dale Hammaker at bay to post the win by a mere 1.47-second margin of victory over Eshenaur and Stutts.

Defending champion Chad Layton started the event 21st and finished fourth, while Radabaugh completed the top five.

Sixth through tenth included Bob Camilli, Dale Hammaker, Nate Snyder, Dean Kline and Bill Fannasy.

Sprint car heat events for the 37 entries were won by Nace, Camilli, Zimmerman and Eshenaur. The B-main was won by Layton.

Jeff Smith of Blain held off Dale Kerstetter of Liverpool for his 23rd career win at Selinsgrove in the 20-lap Late Model feature.

Smith started on the outside of the front row and wired the field for the victory. The veteran stock car driver was first challenged by polesitter Dan Stone for the first 12 circuits before third-place starter Jeff Rine put in a bid for the lead.

Rine trailed Smith through lap 16 before eighth-place starter Kerstetter advanced to second and made a last-ditch effort to snag the win. Smith, however, drove the wheels off his No. 32 and defended his lead on a last-lap restart.

Smith was victorious over Kerstetter, 10th-place starter Scott Haus, Rine and fifth-place starter Alan Sagi.

Kyle Bachman of Selinsgrove started the 12-lap Pro Stock feature in the third position and held off second-place starter Gerald Kratzer for his 14th career victory.

Kratzer took the lead at the start but was passed by Bachman off the second turn on lap four. Bachman was victorious by a half car length over Kratzer.

Peanut Heintzelman, Jake Buck and Neil Langtry completed the top five. Billy McNeil of Williamstown was the winner of the 10-lap Roadrunner main event.

Selinsgrove Speedway returns to racing action this Saturday, April 6 with another program of sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners at 6 p.m.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Jeff Smith
Teams Williams