Hodnett Hauls in Opener of the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg, PA- October 1, 2010- Greg Hodnett has certainly been the man to beat at Williams Grove Speedway over the last two years, especially when the World of Outlaws...
Hodnett Hauls in Opener of the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, PA- October 1, 2010- Greg Hodnett has certainly been the man to beat at Williams Grove Speedway over the last two years, especially when the World of Outlaws have come to town. Entering the Morgan Hughes National Open this weekend at the famed half-mile in Central, Pennsylvania, the veteran had won four of the last eight races the series has sanctioned at the track. He made it five of the last nine on Friday night, winning the opener of the two-day event in front of a huge crowd.
The win for Hodnett in the Macri Concrete/J&S Fabrication Maxim was worth $8,000 and helped extend the Pennsylvania Posse's win streak to nine over the World of Outlaws. Donny Schatz's win in the finale of the 2008 Summer Nationals marked the last time a series driver won at Williams Grove.
"It always means a lot win, especially again competition like this," said Hodnett. "We had a good car and a good starting spot and were in a good position. With how tough the competition is, you have to be in a good position and we were fortunate to be that this evening."
The closest four-way championship battle in World of Outlaws history stayed tight after the first night of the National Open, as Jason Meyers finished eighth to remain on top of the standings by 60 markers over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser who rebounded from a hard wreck in the second heat race which forced him to use a provisional to start the main event. Kinser would come from the 25th starting spot to finish 13th in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim to earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award.
Joey Saldana finished a very solid seventh in his return after missing a race last weekend with a concussion and gained a couple of points on Meyers and is now 83 markers back, as he remains third, with four-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz fourth in the standings, 95 points out of the lead. Schatz worked his way back from an opening lap accident in the main event and subsequent trip to the work area to finish 11th, after initialing starting third.
Hodnett darted into second at the start, which took a couple of attempts, following a yellow on the initial start and then a red flag for a multi-car accident on the complete restart. Hodnett was all over Tim Shaffer in the early going, as the latter paced the first 14 laps of the contest.
"I had to be somewhat patient tonight," shared the winner. "The first 10 or so laps after they had watered the track, I could pretty much run anywhere. Then I got to where I couldn't really pass lapped cars too easy, so I moved down to the bottom. Timmy (Shaffer) was trying to pass a lapped car and just got caught out off the rubber and we were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time."
Hodnett will seek his second straight National Open victory on Saturday night, which will consist of a 40-lap main event with $50,000 on the line to the winner again this year. The 1993 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner has led 91 laps of feature racing competition with the series at Williams Grove Speedway over the last two seasons.
"It's going to be tough tomorrow night," admitted Hodnett. "Tires will come into play tomorrow and we normally don't run too hard of a tire here and I think if it's like this tomorrow we'll need to. It's going to be a little bit of a guessing game, but we're looking forward to coming back and seeing if we can be in contention again."
The main event on Friday night began with Paul McMahan leading the field into turn one from the pole, only to have the yellow flag wave before that lap was in the books, setting up a complete restart. On the second start, a multicar accident brought out the red flag. Involved in the melee was Donny Schatz who started third. On the third start, Shaffer was able to take the lead from McMahan coming off the low side of turn two. Shaffer would lead the first 14 laps on Friday night as he looked to return to Victory Lane at Williams Grove, for the first time since 2001. He ended up second in the Kistler Engines J&J, which was his third straight Top-Five finish with the World of Outlaws.
"It was definitely a great night," said Shaffer. "To be up front and get mad when you run second is amazing. This is a great team and it's been an awesome three months. I really want to win bad here and that's probably what hurt me tonight. I went a little too hard too early and used my tires up and didn't find the rubber late, but there are no excuses. Greg (Hodnett) and Lee (Stauffer) did a great job and we'll try again tomorrow. Hopefully we can be in contention again."
Paul McMahan, who started on the pole ended up third in the Great Clips Maxim to score his second straight podium finish at Williams Grove and his fifth finish of third or better in the last seven World of Outlaws races as he closes in on the fifth spot in the series championship standings with just five races remaining on the season.
"I've been finishing on the podium a lot lately and need to get us a win," said McMahan. "It's kind of frustrating when we are in the Top-Two and Top-Three every night, but I'm not complaining. We had a good race car tonight and they were just a little better than us at the very beginning of the race. Once we got rolling I felt pretty good. I showed Greg (Hodnett) the bottom and wasn't able to clear him and that's what got him back down there and he was able to get by Tim (Shaffer). We'll take third-place tonight and come back tomorrow for the big money."
Mike Erdley finished fourth on Friday night in the Lisi Shell Maxim to earn his best career World of Outlaws finish. Stevie Smith was fifth in the Zemco Speed Equipment Maxim, with Kerry Madsen sixth in the Halls Haulage KPC. Joey Saldana was seventh in the Budweiser Maxim, to score the high finish of any of the title contenders. Jason Meyers was eighth in the GLR Investments KPC, with Brian Montieth coming from 19th to finish ninth in the Premiere Auto Works machine. Danny Lasoski rounded out the Top-10 in the Casey's General Stores JEI.
The National Open at Williams Grove Speedway wraps up on Saturday, October 2 with the 40-lap $50,000 to-win finale which will be taped by SPEED for future broadcast.
NATIONAL OPEN NIGHT #1 NOTES
* FAST QUALIFIER: David Gravel paced the 58 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the semi-banked half-mile oval at 17.107 seconds at 105.228 miles per hour. For his qualifying effort Gravel earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Tim Shaffer (4), Mark Smith (3), Greg Hodnett (2) and Paul McMahan (1).
* WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY QUALIFYING WINNERS: Joey Saldana, Tim Shaffer, Donny Schatz, Stevie Smith and Jason Meyers won heat races. Paul McMahan won the Dash. Brian Montieth won the Last Chance Showdown. Justin Henderson won the C-Main. Jessica Zemken won the D-Main.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 64 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events held in 2010. The winners include: Joey Saldana (Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Eldora Speedway-twice, Dodge City Raceway Park, River Cities Speedway, LaSalle Speedway, Beaver Dam Raceway, Lernerville Speedway, Nodak Speedway, Castrol Raceway and Deer Creek Speedway), Jason Meyers (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, Tri-State (Okla.) Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway, I-96 Speedway, North Central Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Castrol Raceway and Silver Dollar Speedway), Steve Kinser (Volusia Speedway Park, Jackson Speedway, River Cities Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Eldora Speedway, Autodrome Drummond, Fulton Speedway and Skagit Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Paducah International Raceway, Knoxville Raceway, Skagit Speedway, Clay County Fair Speedway and Eldora Speedway), Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park, The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Ohsweken Speedway, Silver Dollar Speedway and Lernerville Speedway), Jason Sides (Houston Raceway Park, Tri-City Speedway, Missouri State Fair Speedway and Ohsweken Speedway), Craig Dollansky (Lone Star Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway and Nodak Speedway), Sammy Swindell (Dodge City Raceway, Huset's Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway), Lance Dewease (Lernerville Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway), Greg Hodnett (Williams Grove Speedway-twice), Brooke Tatnell (Knoxville Raceway and Junction Motor Speedway), Dale Blaney (Limaland Motorsports Park), Doug Esh (Lebanon Valley Speedway), Danny Lasoski (Cottage Grove Speedway), Chad Layton (Williams Grove Speedway), Paul McMahan (Eldora Speedway), Fred Rahmer (Williams Grove Speedway) and Tim Shaffer (I-55 Raceway).
* HALF-MILE-WINNERS: Williams Grove Speedway is a semi-banked half-mile. The World of Outlaws have raced 23 times at a track that size in 2010. The winners include: Steve Kinser (Volusia Speedway Park, Jackson Speedway, Lakeside Speedway and Eldora Speedway), Jason Meyers (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway and I-96 Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Knoxville Raceway and Eldora Speedway), Greg Hodnett (Williams Grove Speedway-twice), Joey Saldana (Eldora Speedway-twice), Jason Sides (Tri-City Speedway and Missouri State Fair Speedway), Lance Dewease (Williams Grove Speedway), Craig Dollansky (Lone Star Speedway), Doug Esh (Lebanon Valley Speedway), Chad Layton (Williams Grove Speedway), Paul McMahan (Eldora Speedway), Fred Rahmer (Williams Grove Speedway), Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park) and Brooke Tatnell (Knoxville Raceway).