MECHANICSBURG, PA (September 29) -- In recent weeks, America's perspective has changed dramatically. Auto racing, although still important to drivers and fans alike, has taken a back seat to God, family and country. Lance Dewease was very...
MECHANICSBURG, PA (September 29) -- In recent weeks, America's perspective has changed dramatically. Auto racing, although still important to drivers and fans alike, has taken a back seat to God, family and country.
Lance Dewease was very pleased to win his second Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series-sanctioned Williams Grove National Open championship in five years Saturday, but his thoughts were also with his sick wife.
"I just got some kind of bad news -- my wife's in the hospital," Dewease said in victory lane. "They think she has kidney stones, so she's going to get that taken care of. I can't really do anything for her right now. I love her to death and Hershey Medical Center's a great place, so for now I'll just let them take care of it."
Dewease, who also claimed the Williams Grove track championship with the $25,000 victory, was happy to win for his car owners.
"I'm happy for Joe and Peggy (Harz)," Dewease said. "This caps off a great year for us winning the championship here and them getting their first National Open win.
"We gave up a pretty good starting spot last night, but the main thing is that we got locked in and made the car better for tonight. This car has about 77 races on it, and it just keeps trucking. I don't think Joe's going to sell it -- we might just keep racing it."
Despite being chased by Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser during the second half of the 40-lap race, Dewease won by half a straightaway.
Dewease, who finished third despite starting on the pole in Friday's Preliminary Feature, earned the right to start inside the front row again by winning his second Channellock Dash in as many nights. He burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the main event and kept the #88H ahead of the 28-car field through six caution periods.
Kinser, who won National Open championships in 1995, 1998 and 1999, started inside the fourth row. He drove the #5M Mopar Maxim past Stevie Smith, Jason Meyers and Preliminary Feature winner Tim Shaffer during the second, fourth and sixth laps to take over third place.
Dewease was six car-lengths ahead of defending National Open champion Donny Schatz when he entered lapped traffic during lap eight. Schatz narrowed the gap to six car-lengths in dense traffic within two laps, then lined up behind him after Skip Jackson spun in turn one early in the 12th lap.
Dewease started building a comfortable advantage as Kinser challenged Schatz for second place when the green flag replaced the yellow. Within seconds after James Chesson passed Craig Dollansky for seventh place deep in the second corner early in lap 17, debris on the back straightaway brought out the caution flag.
P.J. Chesson, who set Williams Grove's single-lap record Friday, stopped on the back stretch with a flat left rear tire as the race resumed. A flat left rear tire on the #2 Luxaire J&J also caused Andy Hillenburg to stop on the ensuing restart. Engine problems in his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Maxim forced Stevie Smith to stop on the front stretch and surrender seventh place early in lap 21.
Kinser raced past Schatz in the low groove between the third and fourth corners within a lap after the race resumed.
Don Kreitz, Jr., who won the National Open in 1993, stopped on the back straightaway with mechanical problems late in the 23rd lap. Curt Michael spun in turn two four laps later, bringing out the caution flag again.
James Chesson and Sean Michael passed Shaffer for fourth and fifth place during laps 29 and 35 as Dewease raced comfortably ahead of the field.
"We didn't touch the car after the dash," Dewease said. "I could run the middle pretty good in the dash. We got caught out high in the beginning and then we tried the middle and it just took off from there. I was running pretty good and getting a pretty good rhythm going there, and then on about lap 18 we started getting all those cautions. I didn't need to see that. We started getting a little too tight at the end, and I was just trying to let the car push up and catch the curb coming out of turn 4.
"Mark and Karl (Kinser) are really good when the tracks start to get slick like this, but (crew chief) Timmy Elwell's been doing a great job with this car, and he works hard all the time. He works all year long on this car and never takes a vacation."
Kinser's runner-up finish, coupled with Danny Lasoski's eighth-place run from inside the eighth row, put 51 points between them in their battle for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship.
"We had some brake problems early, and we never did get it fixed," Kinser said. "We didn't have anything for Lance tonight anyway. This racing thing is kind of like prizefighting -- the best man wins and tonight it was Lance Dewease."
Schatz finished in third place, ahead of James Chesson, Michael, Shaffer, Meyers, Lasoski, "B" Feature winner Todd Shaffer, Dollansky.
Steve Kinser, who has won four Williams Grove National Open titles since the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series started sanctioning the event in 1990, flipped his #11 Quaker State Maxim in the first corner early in his first qualifying lap. "The King of the Outlaws" brought out a back-up car and started at the rear of the Fourth O'Reilly Heat Race. He used a provisional to start the main event and raced past 14 cars to finish 14th.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction the OdoBan Outlaws Championship at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday and Saturday.