Hillier Races Past 11 Cars at Orange County MIDDLETOWN, NY (September 26) -- Chad Hillier put together one of the best performances of his rookie season in Wednesday's World of Outlaws race at Orange County Fair Speedway, driving the ...
Hillier Races Past 11 Cars at Orange County
MIDDLETOWN, NY (September 26) -- Chad Hillier put together one of the best performances of his rookie season in Wednesday's World of Outlaws race at Orange County Fair Speedway, driving the #5c DIRT Inc. Maxim into 12th place from inside the 11th row.
The Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender from Burlington, WA, got off to a slow start -- qualifying 23rd-quick in the 29-car field and having to qualify for the main event in the "B" Feature -- but was exceptionally strong at the right time.
"We passed five or six cars in the last few laps," Chad said. "We were a little bit off with the car in qualifying, but we worked on it all night and kept getting better. We weren't the best on the bottom, but we got going pretty good around the top. After Stevie Smith passed me up there, I figured that was the best place to run. He drove by me and took off, so I went up there and the car felt pretty good so I just stayed up there."
Smith, the World of Outlaws' 1990 Rookie of the Year, fell behind Hillier during the first lap, but passed 15 cars on his way to earning the KSE Hard Charger Award.
"Stevie went up and found the top before anybody else," Chad said. "He passed us in one and two, then I battled with the 18 car (Ryan Bohlke) for quite a while. I went up there and got a rhythm going and got by him. We caught up to (Craig) Dollansky (10th place) with seven (laps) to go when the caution came out. We were running well, but didn't get off to a good start on that restart. I gathered it back up, but I think we might have been able to get into the top 10 if we had had a better restart."
The World of Outlaws' 19th event at Middletown's 5/8-mile oval was originally scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.
"It was my first time to race at Orange County," Chad said. "It was hard to pass early because everybody was so equal, but we made forward progress all night. We started out rough in hot laps, but we picked up something in every race after that. Our nose wing got knocked sideways on the start of the heat, so we had to limp around with that, but we got into the feature in the 'B.' I was really happy with the way we ran in the feature. The guys worked really hard and we made all the appropriate moves with the car."
Hillier's 32nd top-20 finish of the season pushed him to within 36 points of fellow rookie Sam Hafertepe Jr. for 19th place in the World of Outlaws standings.
Chad and his DIRT Inc. teammates are looking forward to this weekend's Williams Grove National Open.
"We've struggled at Williams Grove, but I feel like we've gotten better every time," Hillier said. "The results don't really show it but, as a driver, I feel more comfortable every time we go there. I'm learning more about how to race the place and how to set up the car. It's really tough there because a lot of guys race there every week. It's a tough crowd, plus we have 20 traveling cars out here now. It's no easy task, that's for sure.
"I went there in '05 (with Selma Shell Racing), but this will be my first chance to race in this event. It's exciting. We're just going to go there with a clear attitude, hope for the best and give it our best shot. We hope to get a good pill draw, run a good qualifying lap and, hopefully, get to where we need to be in the heat race and get into the feature."