Dewease Charges to Third National Open Championship MECHANICSBURG, PA (September 28) -- Lance Dewease definitely got the most out of an engine "that wouldn't take off on the starts" Saturday at Williams Grove Speedway. Dewease won his third ...
Dewease Charges to Third National Open Championship
MECHANICSBURG, PA (September 28) -- Lance Dewease definitely got the most out of an engine "that wouldn't take off on the starts" Saturday at Williams Grove Speedway.
Dewease won his third Cleveland Brothers National Open championship in seven years, racing to the $30,000 victory from inside the seventh row. Dewease is the 16th driver to win a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Feature this season. The victory pushed Al Hamilton into first place in career car owner victories at legendary Williams Grove Speedway.
"We just totally guessed on the setup," Dewease admitted. "The motor wouldn't take off on the starts. It did it in the heat and then again in the (O'Reilly Auto Parts) Dash. We didn't really know just how good the car was at all. I really have to thank Penske Shocks. This is just the second time I ran with them, and I couldn't have done it without them. They (the shocks) are cockpit adjustable, and I just kept dialing them one way and then the other during those early cautions."
Dewease, who also won the National Open in 1996 and 2001, passed pole-sitter Danny Lasoski for the lead following a 32nd-lap caution period for provisional starter Randy Hannagan and took the checkered flag with 25 car-lengths to spare. Lasoski was racing at Williams Grove Speedway for the first time since suffering multiple injuries in a crash at the semi-banked, ½-mile oval July 26th.
"I got too tight at one point and then when we got it figured out, I thought maybe we'd have a shot at Lasoski and the caution just helped us out," Dewease said. "My biggest problem was that I showed Steve Kinser the middle there in (turns) one and two. He came right back at me, and I wasn't sure I was ever going to get by him. I saw Danny's guys motion him down to the bottom on the restart, so I just tried the top. Danny gave me enough room down there -- not too much, but as much as I needed."
"This guy that finished second (Lasoski) -- it's just unbelievable how he's come back here after the crash he took the last time. He's getting better and better every time he comes here, and maybe next year we'll get to race him again for the win.'
Lasoski, the ninth-fastest qualifier in the 38-car field, earned the right to start the 40-lap main event on the pole by winning his 17th O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash of the year. Johnny Herrera, who won the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, burst into the lead from outside the front row as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature, but spun in the second corner early in the opening lap.
Lasoski drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle into the lead as the green flag replaced the yellow. "The Dude" was racing away from the field when Mike Erdley stopped on the back straightaway early in the second lap
Lasoski controlled a fifth-lap restart following Hannagan's second-corner spin and was 20 car-lengths ahead of his closest pursuers when he entered lapped traffic eight laps later. Keith Kauffman took the leaders out of lapped traffic the next time around when he spun in turn two.
Dewease started charging to the front following Kauffman's first-corner spin early in the 17th lap. Dewease drove Hamilton's #77 past Cris Eash and Kinser on the back straightaway to take over seventh place seven laps later, then passed Tim Shaffer, Sean Michael, Todd Hestor, Joey Saldana and fast qualifier Craig Dollansky before the 32nd-lap caution period.
Dewease raced past Lasoski between the first and second corners to take the lead as the race resumed. Kinser, the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader, lost seventh place late in the 36th lap when ignition box problems in his #11 Quaker State Maxim forced him to stop in turn two. "The King of the Outlaws" finished out of the top 10 for the first time in 14 events.
Saldana steered the #17 Eagle Raceway/HEM Saw Eagle around Dollansky in the high groove between the third and fourth corners for third place late in lap 38 as Dewease built a comfortable advantage.
"We just got beat by a better team tonight," Lasoski said. "When he (Dewease) went by me by driving through the middle of the track, I just thought, 'I wish my car felt that good.' It was actually kind of neat to watch, as well as he was getting around here. I think he'd have gotten us even without that caution, but we're not giving up. We'll just have to come back here next year and run a little better."
Saldana finished in third place, ahead of Dollansky, Hestor, Mark Kinser, 23rd-starting Fred Rahmer, Shaffer, Michael and 24th-starting Greg Hodnett.
Mark Kinser coasted into the infield with engine problems during the Third Heat Race. The 1995, 1998 and 1989 National Open champion won the "B" Feature, then raced into sixth place from outside the ninth row in the main event.