Up to the Challenge: Chad Hillier Continues to Learn the Intricacies of Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg, PA-- July 17, 2008-- Chad Hillier had heard about and read about the famed Williams Grove Speedway for many years. He first visited...
Up to the Challenge: Chad Hillier Continues to Learn the Intricacies of Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, PA-- July 17, 2008-- Chad Hillier had heard about and read about the famed Williams Grove Speedway for many years. He first visited the track in 2005 as a crew member and finally had his first opportunity to compete at the half-mile last season as a driver during his rookie campaign with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
While it was intimidating the first couple of times he visited the legendary track, he continues to gain confidence each time he returns to Williams Grove. He will have two more chances to gain experience at the historic track this weekend as the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series competes in the Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals on Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19.
"You don't know what to expect," said Hillier when looking back on his first trip to Williams Grove Speedway as a driver last year. "There are a lot of different driving styles and ways to make the car run on those long straight-a-ways. Every time we go back you get more and more comfortable. I always try to stay as positive as I can. With the luck that we have had on the East Coast, it's kind of hard to, but we're looking positive for this weekend."
Hillier competed in a total of seven events at Williams Grove last season with the World of Outlaws aboard the DIRT Inc. Maxim, and has one start at the track this season, as the second night of racing for the series was washed out by rain on both May 16 and May 17. Hillier found himself in a very tough fourth heat race in the series first event at the track this season and came up just a couple spots short of transferring into the A-Feature. He completed the night in the B-Main, which included five other full-time World of Outlaws drivers, and he wound up finishing just a couple of spots out of the Top-10.
"We always seem like we have a monkey on our back over there and we haven't been able to get rid of it," he said in reference to Williams Grove. "The competition is so tough there with the guys who run there week in and week out, and we only go there a few times a year. We have never really been able to find anything that we like and what works best for us there yet, but maybe this will be the trip that turns that around."
As he continues his second full season on the road with the World of Outlaws, Hillier has visited a number of tracks for the second and third time. He gains invaluable experience each time he straps into the car and takes to the track.
"It really does help, unless you struggled there the year before, then it's like going for the first time," explained the sophomore driver. "Some of the guys we are racing against have been to these places hundreds of times and we are going back for the second and third times. We're trying to make the most out of it. We're working to put ourselves in a good position and hopefully luck takes care of the rest."
He recently picked up his second Top-10 finishes of the season at Tri-State Speedway in Indiana, where he finished ninth. Hillier also scored a Top-10 finish at Tri-City Speedway in Illinois, in just his second visit to reconfigured facility. He finished a very solid 11th in the 25th Annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway on Sunday night, to earn his best career-best finish at the high-banked half-mile.
"Things definitely seem to be going our way here lately," shared the native of Burlington, Washington. "We have had a few Top-10 runs and hopefully we can get going even better and get in the Top-Five. We're always hoping to be better. I'm hoping that we can take some of the momentum that we have now and take that to the Grove."
Hillier, who is the only driver in the history of Skagit Speedway in Washington to win a title in all three sprint car classes at the track, is one of the most hands-on drivers in the pit area. For a majority of the season he had been driving the truck and trailer, as the team searched for an extra crew member.
"It's the love for it," he shared of all the different hats he wears in addition to being a driver. "We've hired another guy, so I don't have to drive the truck quite as much. I enjoy working on the car. If I didn't work on the car, it would probably be worse. It helps keep me mentally fresh all day long. I am able to get my game face on in the morning and show up at the track with it already on. You just try to get as much sleep as you can and not get down when you have a bad night. You try to build off the good nights and good finishes."
After living out of hotels for most of last season, Hillier and his team have a home away from home this season in Brownsburg, Indiana, where they have set up a shop and have been able to stop several times this season to regroup and restock their trailer. Hillier also will get a chance stop at his actual home next month when the World of Outlaws compete at Skagit Speedway and Grays Harbor Raceway in his home state of Washington.
"We have a place to call home, and that is a very good thing" commented Hillier. "If we have some problems, we have some really good people out there that we can rely on to ship stuff or take care of things for us. That has helped quite a bit. It gives us a place to go back to and to restock and get a few days where we don't have to stay in a hotel."
The Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway this weekend mark the eighth and ninth races this month for the World of Outlaws, who will compete a total of 16 times in July. After a rash of rainouts in the spring, Hillier is thrilled to get the chance to race three and four times a week.
"If we can get some good finishes and have some good clean nights of racing that will make it a good month," he said. "Also we need good weather, after the bad weather we had earlier this year. Hopefully the weather doesn't play havoc on us. There is nothing worse than traveling a long way and getting rained out. Hopefully we can have some good races and nothing goes wrong and have some good runs. If we can finish each race as best as we can that would be good."
On Friday, July 18 at Williams Grove Speedway, Reserved tickets will be $30, with general admission tickets $28, with tickets for students $15 and kids 12-under will be admitted free of charge. For ticket information call: 717-697-5000 or visit: www.williamsgrove.com.
On Saturday, July 19 at Williams Grove Speedway, Reserved tickets will be $30, with general admission tickets $28, with tickets for students $15 and kids 12-under will be admitted free of charge. For ticket information call: 717-697-5000 or visit: www.williamsgrove.com.