Hillier Almost Qualifies for First Commonwealth Bank Clash SARVER, PA (May 15) -- Chad Hillier came ever so close to qualifying for the First Commonwealth Bank Clash "A" Feature in his first visit to Lernerville Speedway Tuesday. ...
Hillier Almost Qualifies for First Commonwealth Bank Clash
SARVER, PA (May 15) -- Chad Hillier came ever so close to qualifying for the First Commonwealth Bank Clash "A" Feature in his first visit to Lernerville Speedway Tuesday.
Hillier, a World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate, drove the #5C DIRT Inc. Maxim to within two feet of Zach Chappell in their "B" Feature battle for the final qualifying position in the 35-lap main event.
"It was close, but no cigar, I guess," Hillier said. "It's kind of a bummer. We weren't that good in qualifying, but a lot of guys were in the same boat we were. The car was really nice; I think we just needed a little different gear. We bogged down a little in the corners on both laps. We might have been able to pick up a little bit there but, for never being there before, I don't think we were that far off. We were decent in hot laps and just a couple of tenths (of a second) off in qualifying, but it wasn't quite enough to get us into the top 16 in qualifying, where a guy really needed to be.
"In the heat, I got up into fifth for about a lap and a half, but (Jason) Sides got by me and I just couldn't get back by him," Hillier said. "At the start of the "B" main, we actually fell back two or three spots. I got three or four of them back, but I just couldn't get by Chappell. I got by the 2L car (four-time Lernerville Speedway track champion and 2002 Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup winner Ed Lynch Jr.) at the line, but we needed about two more feet to get by Chappell. I'm sure it was a photo finish, but the photo didn't work in our favor."
Hillier's 108.548-MPH qualifying lap around Sarver's semi-banked, 4/10-mile oval was only .307 seconds off Jason Meyers' pace-setting lap -- but only the 23rd-fastest in the 42-car field.
"We weren't that far off," Chad said. "We just didn't get qualified where we needed to be. On the bottom, you had to be really patient and, on the top, you had to be almost out of control. Steve (Kinser) and Joey (Saldana) were pretty dominant running first and second, but a lot of other guys struggled to maintain their positions."
When he was told that Steve Kinser has been racing at Lernerville for almost 30 years, Hillier said, "Yeah, you watch him and you wonder, 'how can he be that good?' He's been doing it for a long time though. It was like the rest of us were racing him on bicycles."
Hillier is looking forward to racing at legendary Williams Grove Speedway Thursday and Friday.
"I hope the weather is good for Williams Grove," Hillier said. "It's been nice, but bad weather blew in on us at about 3:00 this morning. I'm excited to go to 'The Grove.' It's a historical place. It's neat to get the opportunity to race it. Hopefully, we'll have two good nights there and we can head to New York (Orange County Fair Speedway) in good spirits."