Williams Grove 2001-05-11

MECHANICSBURG, PA, 5/11/01 - The only lap that matters is the last. Just ask Lance Dewease. A sputtering engine that seemly had the Mont Alto speedster hanging on for a fourth place finish, found new life with three laps to go and...

MECHANICSBURG, PA, 5/11/01 - The only lap that matters is the last. Just ask Lance Dewease. A sputtering engine that seemly had the Mont Alto speedster hanging on for a fourth place finish, found new life with three laps to go and vaulted from fourth to first over the final three laps to register his third win of the year at Williams grove Speedway Friday night. Dewease passed veteran Mifflintown racer Keith Kauffman exiting the second turn of the final lap for the lead and drove away to an improbable .56 second win. Dewease's last two wins at the historic half-mile have both come on last lap passes. Dewease's second dramatic finish of the season was set-up when an apparent engine problem turned out to be a closed fuel shut-off vale. "I got by Freddie (Rahmer) there and I pulled up against the fence going up the backstretch and I thought he hooked onto my rear bumper," said Dewease. "Then the car just dived right down and I thought he got a run on me and hit me and locked it down...I went into the corner and the car seemed shut off. It was acting like it was out of fuel but I knew we had enough fuel in it so I ran a lap and I thought it was blowing up." "Then I reached down a realized the (fuel) shut-off had worked it's way shut and I realized then that nothing was wrong. Once I got it back on it was fine after that." "I can't say enough about this crew. They work hard all week long and here at the race track. They make my job look easy. I'd like to thank my sponsors, Hank's Performance Products, Carl Harz Furniture, American Racer tires and J&J Chassis. And these Don Ott engines, you can't say enough about them. Top Flight Wings, Weld Racing Products, and AFCO Shocks...we're one of the few people running them and maybe that's to our advantage." Third starting Mark Smith dove under both frontrow starters Lynton Jeffrey and Chris Knopp in the first and second turns at the outset of the 25 lap super sprint feature to grab the lead. Smith, who was looking to score his first career win at Williams Grove survived three early-race cautions to maintain the top spot. The first caution was for Donnie Kreitz Jr. who came to a stop in the second turn on the third lap with throttle linkage problems, with Darren Eash, Knopp, and Keith Kauffman in tow. The second caution waved on the on the fourth lap when Greg Hodnett looped his Apple Motorsports/Cars by Dealers No.12 in the fourth turn. By this time Kauffman had worked his way around Knopp for third and was looking strong. Kauffman squeezed under Darren Eash in the first and second turns on the restart to move into second and quickly raced onto the leaders' bumper. The race's third caution waved on the fifth lap when Australian racer Lynton Jeffrey came to a stop on the backstretch, as did Kreitz the same in the second turn. Smith and Kauffman then battled side-by-side over then next nine laps with Smith running around the rim of the cushion while Kauffman stuck to the bottom. Just after they entered lapped traffic on the 14th lap both Knopp and Curt Michael brought out yet another caution in the 16th lap as they both came to a stop in the in the fourth turn. Once again on the restart Kauffman tried to drive under the Newville racer for the lead, but Smith was able to maintain his momentum exiting each turn to keep him at bay. The race's final caution came on the 18th lap when Hanover's Cris Eash also suffered throttle linkage problems and brought his racer to a stop on the backstretch. This time the red flag was waved to allow the teams to refuel, and make any final adjustments they could for the eight lap run to the checkered. On the restart, Smith not only had Kauffman to contend with, but now had four-time Grove champion Fred Rahmer in third, Darren Eash in fourth, and 12th starting Dewease in fifth. On the restart Dewease made quick work of Darren Eash for fourth in the first and second turns As Smith continued to lead Kauffman and a closing Rahmer. "We got to tight early and got to racing guys too hard and I couldn't get into a good rhythm," Dewease said. "I knew the car would come around eventually, but I didn't want (Rahmer) to get clear to the front before me." "We just got to racing hard there with a couple of guys. We got fortunate there with about 10 laps to go I got some open air and got the car in the line I needed to run it in and it just took off." Kauffman finally got the bite he needed on the low side of the first and second turns of the 20th lap to wrestle the lead away from Smith going down the backstretch. Kauffman quickly opened up a five car-length lead by the 22nd lap as a surging Dewease worked his way around Rahmer in the third and fourth turns for third place on the 23rd lap. Suddenly Dewease began to slow as he raced under the flag stand to complete the 23rd lap, allowing Rahmer to shoot back by in the first and second turns. Suddenly Dewease's motor came back to life and quickly tracked down Rahmer to move into third, ans then around Smith into second as the white flag waved. Dewease then made his dramatic comeback complete as he dove under Kauffman in the first and second turns for the lead and raced uncontested through the final two turns to take the checkered for his third win of the year at the historic Mechanicsburg. "It's pretty hard to pass when everybody runs the top," Dewease added. "We set up for late in the race so we can run cars down...it's showed the last couple weeks that we've been able to catch cars at the end. Sometimes I've got to be patient at the beginning and not get into a panic when I'm not going forward." The $3,000 win, Dewease's 45th career Grove win, moved him into a tie with Kreitz and Rahmer atop the all-time winners list in the battle for the most career wins at the Grove. Kauffman had to settle for second place with Smith, Rahmer, and Todd Shaffer finishing third through fifth respectively. Completing the top-10 were James Chesson, Sean Michael, Darren Eash, Todd Hestor, and Curt Michael. Dewease also kept his streak intact of finishing in the top-10 in every race held so far at Williams Grove in 2001, and it was his eighth top-five finish to go along with the three wins. And with the win, Dewease became the Pennsylvania Posse's leading contender to knock off the invading World of Outlaws when they come to Williams Grove next weekend. "We could be flat on the throttle the whole way around and in clean air with real fast cars we'll be fine," said Dewease on next week's showdown against the World of Outlaws. "It's when your bottled up behind cars and you don't have that clean air, that's when our car isn't real good." "I'd love to be back here in victory lane next week," Dewease was quick to add. "I know how tough those guys are...we need a good Thursday night finish to put us in a position for that Friday race." "We're pretty low key people on or team," Dewease added. "It's just another race...I can't do worse than I did last year when I spun out while leading it (against the World of Outlaws)." "There's no pressure on me. We just hope to have a good competitive race. If I can't be in victory lance I hope one of the other Grove regulars can be."

Friday - May 11, 2001
Mechanicsburg, PA

Feature (25 Laps) - 1. 88H-Lance Dewease ($3,000); 2. 7-Keith Kauffman; 3. 22M-Mark Smith; 4. 77-Fred Rahmer; 5. 88-Todd Shaffer; 6. 22-James Chesson; 7. 1-Sean Michael; 8. 30-Darren Eash; 9. 7M-Todd Hestor; 10. 461-Curt Michael; 11. 10-Len Thompson; 12. 29-Dave Ely; 13. 12-Greg Hodnett; 14. 53-Shawn Keen; 15. 17-Cris Eash; 16. 07-Cliff Brian; 17. 17N-Niki Young; 18. 7C-Dave Cordier Jr.; 19. 17B-Troy Whitesel; 20. 76-P.J. Chesson; 21. 10N-Chris Knopp; 22. E7-Lynton Jeffrey; 23. 69-Donnie Kreitz Jr.; 24. 15-Jay Reichard. No time

Lap Leaders - Mark Smith (1-19), Keith Kauffman (20-24), Lance Dewease (25)

1st Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. E7-Lynton Jeffrey; 2. 7-Keith Kauffman; 3. 10- Len Thompson; 4. 22-James Chesson; 5. 77-Fred Rahmer; 6. 7M-Todd Hestor; 7. 76-P.J. Chesson; 8. 17B-Troy Whitesel; 9. 9-Craig Keel. No time

2nd Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 88H-Lance Dewease; 2. 30-Darren Eash; 3. 10N-Chris Knopp; 4. 461-Curt Michael; 5. 69-Donnie Kreitz Jr.; 6. 1-Sean Michael; 7. 15-Jay Reichard; 8. 32-Brook Weibley; 9. 17N-Niki Young. No time

3rd Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 29-Dave Ely; 2. 17-Cris Eash; 3. 12-Greg Hodnett; 4. 22M-Mark Smith; 5. 88-Todd Shaffer; 6. 07-Cliff Brian; 7. 7C-Dave Cordier Jr.; 8. 53-Shawn Keen; 9. 11-Mike Erdley. No time

Consolation (10 laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 76-P.J. Chesson; 2. 17B-Troy Whitesel; 3. 53-Shawn Keen; 4. 15-Jay Reichard; 5. 17N-Niki Young; 6. 7C-Dave Cordier; 7. 9-Craig Keel (DNF); DNS - 32-Brooke Weibley, 11-Mike Erdley. Time - 3:11.13

-Bill Meyer

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers James Chesson , P.J. Chesson
Teams Williams