By DAVID SMITH JR.
Special to The Hays Daily News
Hutchinson, Kansas - July 13, 2013 - Jack Dover of Springfield, Nebraska shot out front when the green flag fell and never looked back to claim the National Championship Racing Association of Park City, Kansas presented by Precise Racing Products 360-ci sprint car victory Saturday night and etched his name into history in picking up his first career Hutchinson Grand Nationals championship during the 57th running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts presented Midwest Ford/Toyota of Hutchinson sponsored event atop the famed half mile Kansas State Fairground oval in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Ryan Roberts and J.D. Johnson started on the front row for the twenty-five lap feature but it was Dover who shot around the front row from this third starting position to take the lead coming out of turn two. Dover would quickly open a full stretch lead before the first caution waved on lap two when defending Hutchinson Nationals champion Jeremy Campbell came to a stop at the top of turn four.
Dover, aboard the family owned #53 Certified Transmission/Home Pride Companies/The Oil Medics/Trail Performance sponsored, Roush/Yates powered Eagle chassis, pulled away from the field on the restart while Roberts and Johnson continued their battle for the runner up position.
Consecutive spins in turns three and four on lap five and six respectively by Brad Graham and Kasey Beckham slowed the pace of the feature and when racing action finally got going, so did Dover as he quickly opened a ten car length lead.
Lapped traffic would come into play at the races midway point with Roberts getting as close to five car lengths behind Dover and on lap fifteen had caught the leader and was poised to make a bid for the lead when A.J. Selenke, who was running sixth, appeared to have something break entering turn one and backed it in to the wall.
During the races midway point, seventh starting C.J. Johnson began making his way into the top five and got around J.D. Johnson for third before the lap fifteen caution flag appeared.
After the final caution of the feature would appear on the attempted lap fifteen restart when Jon Freeman tagged the front stretch wall, Dover would again get the jump on Roberts while C.J. Johnson and J.D. Johnson battled for the third position.
But the final restart was as close as Roberts would get as Dover would go the final ten laps unchallenged to become the eleventh different driver to have won the Hutchinson Grand Nationals in the past eleven years and pick up the $3000 paycheck.
When asked about his victory on the famed half mile oval, "I know all about the history here and I am very excited for the win. I had my car set up for the first part of the race and the track started taking rubber around lap eight. I knew Ryan was behind me but I felt pretty comfortable out front."
Roberts settled for second, a half straightaway behind, while C.J. and J.D. Johnson finished third and fourth respectively. Current series point leader Mike Peters, who started fourteenth, worked his way up through the field and would round out the top five.
The eight lap heat race for the twenty-four car field were won by J.D. Johnson, Danny Wood and Roberts.
The next scheduled stop for the NCRA 360-ci sprint car division is to take place at Mid-Nebraska Speedway in Doniphan, Nebraska with a combined event with the Nebraska 360 sprint car series on Saturday night, August 17th.
NCRA 360 Sprints
Kansas State Fairgrounds/Hutchinson, Kansas
July 13, 2013
1st Heat: 1) J.D. Johnson, 2) Jack Dover, 3) Brad Graham, 4) Ray Seeman, 5) Mike Peters, 6) Jeremy Campbell, 7) Jordan Boston, 8) Kasey Beckham
2nd Heat: 1) Danny Wood, 2) Wyatt Burks, 3) Marc Robe, 4) C.J. Johnson, 5) Danny Jennings, 6) Luke Cranston, 7) Jason Martin, 8) Josh Fairbanks
3rd Heat: 1) Ryan Roberts 2) A.J. Selenke, 3) Michelle Decker, 4) Chad Ely, 5) Jason Schroeder, 6) Jon Freeman, 7) Jeff Stasa
A Feature: 1) 53 (4) Jack Dover, 2) 18 (1) Ryan Roberts, 3) e85 (7) C.J. Johnson, 4) 98 (2) J.D. Johnson, 5) 49 (14) Mike Peters, 6) 81w (3) Danny Wood, 7) 22au (8) Chad Ely, 8)24b (19) Jordan Boston, 9) 7 (10) Michelle Decker, 10) 1j (13) Danny Jennings, 11) 21 (9) Marc Robe, 12) 72 (12) Ray Seeman, 13) 20 (17) Luke Cranston, 14) 81 (18) Jon Freeman, 15) 5 (15) Jason Schroeder, 16) 43 (6) A.J. Selenke, 17) 99 (23) Josh Fairbanks, 18) 36 (20) Jason Martin, 19) 11w (5) Wyatt Burks, 20) 04 (11) Brad Graham, 21) b3 (22) Kasey Beckham, 22) 91 (21) Jeff Stasa, 23)10c 16) Jeremy Campbell, DNS: Jake Martens
Lap Leaders: Dover 1-25