McKENZIE, TN (SEPTEMBER 25) - The 2001 sprint car season has been a very successful one for J&J Auto Racing and its teams. A win in the prestigious Williams Grove National Open by one of the teams would elevate it into a great season. Several ...
McKENZIE, TN (SEPTEMBER 25) - The 2001 sprint car season has been a very successful one for J&J Auto Racing and its teams. A win in the prestigious Williams Grove National Open by one of the teams would elevate it into a great season. Several contenders using J&J sprint cars will enter the event which begins on Friday Night with a "favorite" tag considering the success they've already had at "The Grove" this year.
"We've got a great chance that's for sure," said Jack Elam, president of J&J Auto Racing. "There are so many solid teams that compete weekly in Central PA in our race cars and then you factor in the Outlaw guys, we feel really good about this weekend. It comes down to having a quality team and driver working together. That's what makes a winner."
Current Williams Grove Speedway points leader, Lance Dewease, will be enter the 39th National Open as the favorite from the PA Posse contingent. Dewease, who won the 1996 National Open, has six victories at the Grove in Joe Harz's #88h J&J sprinter this season including wins in the Mitch Smith Memorial, the World of Outlaws Gumout show in August and last Friday's race from his 11th starting position. With last week's win, Dewease also took over the lead as the all-time sprint car feature winner at Williams Grove with 48, one ahead of Fred Rahmer.
Rahmer, who is the four-time defending track champion, will be another driver in contention in Al Hamilton's #77 J&J. After leading both the 1999 and 2000 National Open, Rahmer will be hoping to win Hamilton his first National Open since Stevie Smith scored the 1989 and 1991 National Open's in the Hamilton #77 J&J. Rahmer has been chasing Dewease for the points championship all season and has scored a pair of wins this season.
Keith Kauffman has been winning sprint car races for quite some time, but the 51 year-old is still searching for his first National Open title. Kauffman pilots the Middleswarth #7 J&J and has two Grove wins this season including his 45th career Williams Grove feature win in the final leg of the Triple 20's on September 14th. Kauffman's terrific 2001 season also includes seven wins at Port Royal Speedway.
Defending National Open Champion, Donny Schatz, has been dominant at the legendary half-mile oval in his last four World of Outlaws visits to Central Pennsylvania. After winning his first career feature at the Grove (last year's Open), "the Minot Missile" reeled off three more wins while driving the ParkerStores #15 J&J in 2001. He led the final 22 laps of the May 17th feature, and the following night he claimed the pole position, but rain forced him to wait until July to run the race. On July 26th, Schatz won both a preliminary feature and the make-up feature. The next night he led 25 laps and finished second in the WoO's most recent race at "The Grove".
Other Williams Grove winners this season include Craig Keel, the former World of Outlaws regular, in the #9 J&J on July 13th and Brooke Weilby took the March 25th feature race in a J&J. Andy Hillenburg has won eight races on the World of Outlaws tour in his #2 J&J and is also hoping to be a contender.
"The competition is certainly at an all-time high," said Elam. "We are really pleased with the success of our 2001 chassis design. We've seen a lot of our teams win races in brand new cars and ones that have more than 30 nights on them. It's great for everyone at J&J that build these cars to see our teams and drivers so successful. A National Open win would be great for all of us as we look forward to 2002."