Groovin' At the Grove: Terry McCarl Captures Summer Nationals Opener Mechanicsburg, PA--July 20, 2006 -- Terry McCarl knows the history of Williams Grove Speedway very well. He marvels at the names that have won races at the legendary track, and...
Groovin' At the Grove: Terry McCarl Captures Summer Nationals Opener
Mechanicsburg, PA--July 20, 2006 -- Terry McCarl knows the history of Williams Grove Speedway very well. He marvels at the names that have won races at the legendary track, and for a long time, he dreamed of adding his own name to that illustrious list.
On Thursday, the first night of the Summer Nationals, he was able to do just that, as he edged Daryn Pittman to take the World of Outlaws preliminary feature win. Pittman battled McCarl through the entire 25-lap race, and made a very strong charge on the last lap, and came up just 0.66 second short of the victory.
McCarl driving the Big Game Treestands Eagle, started on the pole after picking up a convincing win in the dash, his fifth dash win of the season. This earned him his third pole position of the year. For the preliminary feature win, he pocketed $5,000 in RacinSoles Victory Lane.
"I've been around sprint car racing my whole life, and I'm a bit of a historian," said a smiling McCarl. "I really love sprint car racing and will be around it the rest of my life, and it means a lot to be able to say that I won at Williams Grove Speedway. It's a real honor to say that I have won something here."
Pittman in the Titan Garages Hop-n-Sack Convenience Stores Maxim ran in the top-three all night, and finished in the runner-up spot. He stayed close in McCarl's tracks during some late restarts, and pushed the nose of his car underneath the leader a couple times. Each time though McCarl held his ground and kept the lead.
Craig Dollansky worked his way from the seventh starting spot in the Karavan Trailers Maxim to come home third. Current series point leader Donny Schatz was fourth in the ParkerStore J&J, with Lance Dewease in the Hamm Maxim rounding out the top-five, on the first night of the three day event.
McCarl led from wire-to-wire as he picked up his first preliminary feature win of the season. He also has a World of Outlaws A-Feature win at Huset's Speedway in Brandon S.D.
"We had a real good car tonight," said McCarl. "We were a little bit off in the heat race and I was lucky to make it out of there. The guys gave me a great car. With all the restarts, it was tough to get into a rhythm. It gave those guys a lot of shots at us. Daryn (Pittman) was real good tonight, and he gets around here really good. He's a real good friend of mine, and I am glad he didn't pass me."
McCarl knew that Pittman was close on the last couple laps, but he was confident that he could hold him off. He showed great speed down the long straight-a-ways and had the car sticking well in the always tricky and tight corners.
"I saw him on the last corner, but I knew he could not get me on the straight-a-way," said McCarl. "He made a good show of it. We had a heck of a battle going early on the first few restarts. I knew he was pretty strong. When he got by Brooke (Tatnell) I was a little worried, because I knew he was pretty good."
The native of Altoona, Iowa feels that his team is hitting their stride as the weather heats up. Even though he missed 13 races with a broken left leg earlier in the season, McCarl knows that all the pieces are in place to win a lot more races before the year is over. He is quick to pass the credit for his wins this season on to his Steve Fitzpatrick led crew who didn't miss a beat when he was out of the car.
"Steve (Fitzpatrick) is a hard worker," said McCarl. "Most of the time, he is the first guy at the race track. He really pays attention to business. I picked him up from another team. I just saw potential in him and he has grown into bigger and better things than I even thought he could be. He's a big part of our success. We are a team. We make all of the decisions together. It's great to have him there to bounce stuff off."
Pittman would have rather been standing in the winners circle, but knows his team has a fast car, and will be tough for the remaining two nights of the Summer Nationals. Qualifying points were earned by the drivers during all the events they took part in on Thursday night. Pittman earned enough over the course of the night to lead McCarl by five heading into the second night of the Summer Nationals. The top-four in points after Friday night will be locked into the top-four starting spots in the dash on Saturday night for the finale.
"I definitely think we had the better race car," said Pittman. "We had a lot of yellows and that played in his (McCarl's) favor. Second is good at Williams Grove anytime, but honestly I am tired of finishing second. We'll take it. It's a good point night for us and we'll come back tomorrow."
Pittman, who picked up a sweep earlier this season during the Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway, feels confident at Williams Grove, with one more preliminary night and the finale on Saturday night that will pay $20,000 to the winner.
"Our car has been good here the last year and a half we have been here," Pittman said. "I'm not a second place car and I keep finishing second here. I want to get the first win here and get it out of the way."
Craig Dollansky lined up seventh for the 25-lap preliminary feature. He worked his way to the front methodically. He had an epic battle with Donny Schatz while in the fourth spot, and the Elk River, Minn. native prevailed. He then used a power move down low after a mid-race restart to get around Brian Leppo for third.
"For starting in the fifth row of the dash and getting up to third, it was a good run for the team," said Dollansky. "I real good and the car felt good. We just have to qualify well tomorrow night and have a good night and get ready for Saturday night. We definitely learned a few things tonight that w can do different for tomorrow night, and hope to be a little bit better."
Temperatures in the afternoon hovered around the 90 degree mark, and it was still very muggy when the sun went down, and the cars hit the track. This didn't seem to bother Dollansky as he climbed out of his car at the end of 25 laps, and did not even look winded.
"I feel fine," said Dollansky. "You sweat a lot, but other than that, I feel good."
Schatz who won $30,000 on Tuesday night for winning the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup ran a steady race to finish fourth, after starting in the sixth spot. He fell back to seventh on the initial start and powered his way back into the top-five.
"We never really caught traffic and everyone was the same speed," said Schatz. "We lost a few spots at the start that we had to regain. It was a different car than we had here last time. You learn and some nights you lose doing that, and tonight it just beat us. Tomorrow will be different."
Lance Dewease had an interesting night. He was fast off the trailer, as he set quick time of the 44 cars that were on-hand. Then in the first heat, he came up one spot short of transferring to the preliminary feature and had to run the B-Main.
He picked up a convincing win in the B-Main, and due to his fast qualifying time was able to start the feature in the 11th spot. He wasted little time in the 25-lapper as he worked his way into seventh by the 10th lap. He then used a couple of good restarts to work his way into the top-five. He staged an entertaining battle with Schatz who later would get around him.
"The first heat race was really tough," said Dewease. "That put us behind a little bit. It didn't hurt us that much, other than being in the dash would have helped us. We got a fifth out of it and collected some good points and got a fast time out it. We're off to a good start, and hopefully tomorrow night we can have a good night."
Dewease who has 62 career wins at the always fast half-mile and multiple championships looks to improve on his performance for the final two nights of the Summer Nationals. He believes the team learned a few things to use for the next couple nights.
"We weren't real good in the feature tonight, so we'll go a little bit of a different way," said Dewease. "We made some changes after the B-Main tonight, and it actually hurt our race car. We'll go back the other way and try to make it a little bit better come the feature tomorrow night."
The rest of the top-10 was Brooke Tatnell in sixth in the Race Outfitters/Castrol Eagle. Doug Esh worked his way from the 18th starting spot to finish seventh in the Kinard Trucking J&J. Alan Krimes was eighth in the Conestoga Valley Garage Maxim, after transferring to the preliminary feature by way of the B-Main. Brian Leppo was ninth in the H&H Contractors JEI. Brian Montieth came home 10th in the Premier Auto Works JEI.
The Summer Nationals continue on Friday night as the Mean 15 battle the Pennsylvania Posse.
WILLIAMS GROVE SUMMER NATIONALS NOTEBOOK NIGHT #1
* FAST QUALIFIER: Lance Dewease paced the 44 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 1/2-mile semi-banked oval at 17.093 seconds at 105.306 mph. Brian Paulus holds the track record of 16.140 seconds set on April 26. 2002.
* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included: Doug Esh, Kenny Jacobs, Jeff Shepard,.and Stevie Smith. ... Craig Keel won the C-Main. ... Lance Dewease won the B-Main. ... Terry McCarl picked up the win in the dash.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 14 different winners in 34 A-feature events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, June 30 at 81 Speedway, and July 18 at Lernerville Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park, July 13 at Limaland Motorsports Park, and July 15 at Eldora Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway, June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park, and July 7 at Lawrenceburg Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway, June 4 at Eldora Speedway, and July 14 at Eldora Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway, May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway, and July 8 at I-55 Raceway), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia), Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway) and Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway), Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway), and Terry McCarl (July 3 at Huset's Speedway).
* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been five preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list included: Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway and Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim night on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9, and Terry McCarl who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 20.
* HALF-MILE WINNERS: Williams Grove Speedway is a semi-banked, half-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has now raced 15 times this season on half-mile ovals, including preliminary features. Winners include: Joey Saldana (Volusia, Terre Haute, Knoxville, and Eldora), Donny Schatz (Las Vegas and twice at Red River Valley), Chad Kemenah (Volusia), Danny Lasoski (Manzanita), Craig Dollansky (Twice at Eldora), and Sammy Swindell (Las Vegas and twice at Eldora Speedway), and Terry McCarl at Williams Grove).