Schatz Takes Williams Grove Opener By Richard Day MECHANICSBURG, PA (July 26) -- Former Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Rookies of the Year Donny Schatz and Greg Hodnett put on an exciting show for the capacity crowd Thursday when the series ...
Schatz Takes Williams Grove Opener
By Richard Day
MECHANICSBURG, PA (July 26) -- Former Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Rookies of the Year Donny Schatz and Greg Hodnett put on an exciting show for the capacity crowd Thursday when the series opened a double-feature event at Williams Grove Speedway.
Hodnett, the 1993 Rookie of the Year, led the first 15 laps from the pole before Schatz passed him en route to his third straight victory at the legendary semi-banked, 1/2-mile oval. It was Schatz' third Preliminary Feature victory this season.
Schatz, the 1997 Rookie of the Year, was the 10th-fastest qualifier in the 41-car field. He won the Second O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the right to start the 25-lap feature outside the second row by following Hodnett, Cris Eash and Paul McMahan across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash.
Hodnett drove the #12 Apple Motorsports sprinter into the lead as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature. Schatz burst into second place early in the opening lap, racing past Eash and McMahan deep in turn two.
Andy Hillenburg, whose crew replaced the steering box in his #2 Luxaire J&J after the "B" Feature, stopped in the second corner with a mechanical problem early in lap three.
Schatz, the defending Williams Grove National Open champion, challenged Hodnett for the lead while Craig Dollansky took the low line through turns three and four to pass Joey Saldana for fifth place as the green flag replaced the yellow. Danny Lasoski passed Saldana for sixth with an inside move in the second corner the next time around.
Schatz tried to pass Hodnett with slide moves between turns one and two during the ninth and 11th laps, but was unable to drive his family's #15 Parker Stores J&J into the lead.
The leaders were entering lapped traffic when a flat right rear tire forced Jac Haudenschild to stop in front of them in the third corner late in lap 13. Lasoski took advantage of the caution, beating Eash and McMahan down the back straightaway to take over fourth place on the restart.
Schatz caught Hodnett as they entered turn two early in the 16th lap and raced wheel-to-wheel with him down the back stretch before taking the lead high in the third corner. He was a straightaway ahead of Hodnett when he caught the back-markers five laps later.
Don Kreitz, Jr., winner of four Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features at Williams Grove, started inside the seventh row. He raced past Lasoski in the low groove between turns three and four late in lap 22 and passed Dollansky for third place two laps later.
Williams Grove Speedway points leader Lance Dewease set up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag when he stopped in the fourth corner late in the 24th lap.
Schatz raced away from Hodnett as the race resumed and was 20 car- lengths ahead when he crossed the finish line.
Dollansky claimed the final automatic starting position in Friday's CHANNELLOCK Dash by holding off hard-charging Steve Kinser for fourth place. Lasoski finished sixth, ahead of 15th-starting Stevie Smith, Tim Shaffer, McMahan and Saldana.
Kinser, whose collision with Dollansky early in the Third O'Reilly Heat Race sent his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the outside retaining wall, won the "B" Feature. He raced into fifth place from inside the sixth row in the Preliminary Feature.
Mark Kinser, who won $84,000 while winning the Kings Royal and Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup in the last week, finished in 14th place. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader was only the 28th-fastest qualifier, but passed nine cars in the feature.