Selinsgrove Opperman Memorial race report

Hestor annihilates field and claims inaugural Opperman Memorial at Selinsgrove, Steve Wilbur wins Super Sportsman. SELINSGROVE, PA -- In true Jan Opperman fashion, Middleburg's Todd Hestor won Sunday night's inaugural Jan Opperman Memorial for...

Hestor annihilates field and claims inaugural Opperman Memorial at Selinsgrove, Steve Wilbur wins Super Sportsman.

SELINSGROVE, PA -- In true Jan Opperman fashion, Middleburg's Todd Hestor won Sunday night's inaugural Jan Opperman Memorial for 410 sprint cars by annihilating the field.

Hestor picked up the prestigious event after starting on the pole and wiring the 30-lapper for the victory, his second career at the Snyder County speedplant and his second of the weekend, having won Saturday night's event at the Port Royal Speedway.

After setting sixth quick time in time trials, the likable driver returned to claim the six-car dash, providing himself with the chance to take the $10,000 Chip Challenge as provided by his sponsor and owner, Middleswarth Potato Chips.

From the frontstretch clay, Hestor gave the huge crowd in attendance his answer to the question everybody wanted to know. Would he go to the rear and try to come to the front for 10 G's?

"I race for fun," said the 32-year old driver. "I don't race for money and I want to win and the way the racetrack is tonight, I have got to keep the pole."

As it turned out, the full-time Middleswarth plant technician made the right call, harboring his pole for the start of the memorial. The opportunity was also offered to outside front row starter Sean Michael but like Hestor, the Allentown driver declined.

Driving the B-B-Q potato chips 7M, Hestor's blistering pace was slowed only a trio of times. First for a red flag with two down for easy contact between Blane Heimbach and Rick Lafferty in the third turn. Hestor entered the backmarkers on the rubbery, hardened surface with ten down and methodically worked his way through the field from behind while Michael and Lance Dewease battled for second.

The caution flag unfurled with ten to go and again Hestor zoomed away on the restart with four lapped cars separating himself from Michael. In just a few loops, he had opened up a straightaway lead and locked down to the surface, his 7M was over a half-lap ahead of his teammate Keith Kauffman who had just taken second when the events final yellow came out with four remaining.

Kauffman couldn't negotiate the lapped cars of Niki Young and Josh Wells on the restart, allowing Hestor an unchallenged victory of a full straightaway.

After leading every circuit, he netted an additional $600 in lap money, pocketing a total of $3,600.

"This is just too sweet!" Those were Hestor's first words after climbing from his 7M to the huge mock check and a five foot trophy.

"To win a race like this just means more to me than I could ever tell anyone," Hestor emotionally stated.

Kauffman settled for second followed by Michael, Dewease and Fred Rahmer. Sixth through tenth went to Todd Shaffer, PJ Chesson, Mark Smith, Mike Erdley and Brook Weibley.

Heats went to Dustin Hoffman, Todd Gracey and Mark Smith.

In the 20-lap Super Sportsman feature, outside front row starter Steve Wilbur powered into the lead and was trailed by polesitter Danny Hager. The event's only caution flag unfurled on lap two when Leroy Martin stopped on the backstretch.

When the race resumed, fourth-place starter and defending Sportsman tour champion Frankie Herr advanced to second and reeled in Wilbur. At the halfway point, Herr caught the leader in traffic but Wilbur withstood the challenge.

In the final laps, Wilbur stretched his lead and posted the win over Herr, Hager, Howie Locke and Pat Cannon.

Super Sportsman heats went to Kevin Knouse, Steve Wilbur and Russ Mitten. The Middleswarth Potato Chips Susquehanna Valley 410 Sprint Series returns to Selinsgrove Speedway on July 7 when the oval hosts the finale of the 12th Annual Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Series. The event carries a raindate of July 8.

Selinsgrove Speedway will be in action on Saturday, June 8 when it hosts Advanced Concrete Systems Night. Sponsored by the Middleburg based manufacturer of pre-fabricated concrete walls and ornamental stone, a regular program of sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners is slated to begin at 7 p.m.

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Series Sprint , Stock car