Hodnett wins Summer Nationals for Pennsylvania posse. MECHANICSBURG, PA (July 27) -- Greg Hodnett and crew chief Lee Stauffer weren't happy Saturday when their sixth-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash left their ...
Hodnett wins Summer Nationals for Pennsylvania posse.
MECHANICSBURG, PA (July 27) -- Greg Hodnett and crew chief Lee Stauffer weren't happy Saturday when their sixth-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash left their #12 Apple Motorsports Maxim starting outside the third row in the main event of the Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway.
They definitely made amends in the "A" Feature, however, as Hodnett passed Joey Saldana with 1 2/3 laps remaining on his way to claiming the $20,000 first prize to the delight of the partisan, standing-room-only crowd.
"I worked hard and my crew worked hard," Hodnett said following his second Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series main event victory of the season. "They did a great job all week long. We weren't very good in the (O'Reilly Auto Parts) dash, but we're just glad to be in victory lane against the World of Outlaws representing the Pennsylvania Posse!
"I just want to thank Apple Dealerships, Don Ott Engines, Maxim Chassis, Hoosier Tires, Hoosier came out with a new tire just for this track and it worked to perfection. This is the first World of Outlaws win I've had at 'The Grove' and the first World of Outlaws win the Apple team's had here, and I hope everyone out there enjoyed it."
Stauffer was equally excited, yet sentimental, following the popular victory.
"This feels great -- I love it," Stauffer said. "I can't wait to go out to Eldora and Knoxville now. I just wish my dad (Ed) could be here to see it. I'm feeling a lot of emotion right now. Greg and I talk about pretty much everything when it comes to this race car. I screwed up in the dash, so I just wanted to redeem myself in the A-main."
Tim Shaffer, who lives in Aliquippa, PA, scored the most points during the preliminary programs and earned the right to start the 30-lap main event on the pole by winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash. The 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award winner drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle into the lead as the green flag fell in "A" Feature.
Stevie Smith passed Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser entering the second corner and Hodnett beat Kinser down the back straightaway to take over fourth place during the opening lap. Provisional starter Mark Smith brought out the caution flag early in the second lap when he spun in turn two.
Saldana, who won Friday's Second Preliminary Feature, kept pace with Shaffer as the race resumed, and took the lead high in the second corner two laps later. Hodnett continued his run to the front several seconds later, passing Smith in the low groove between turns three and four.
Donny Schatz, the 2000 Williams Grove National Open champion, started outside the sixth row and drove his #15 Parker Stores J&J past four cars during the first four laps. He rode the rim around three-time National open champion Mark Kinser in the third corner to take seventh place late in lap five.
A front-end malfunction forced Cris Eash to stop on the back straightaway two laps later. Defending and two-time Williams Grove National Open champion Lance Dewease lost 12th place when he pitted to replace his flat right rear tire during the caution period.
Hodnett took advantage of the ensuing restart, passing Shaffer for second place with an inside move through turns one and two. Schatz and Steve Kinser exchanged fifth place during the 11th and 12th laps after a 10th-lap caution for debris on the back stretch.
Saldana was 15 car-lengths ahead of Hodnett when he entered lapped traffic during lap 16. Hodnett narrowed the gap to six car-lengths in dense traffic within two laps and raced nose-to-tail with Saldana and Shaffer throughout the 22nd lap.
Hodnett made several attempts to pass Saldana during laps 25 and 26 before taking the lead deep in the second corner early in the 28th lap. Schatz pulled off a sixth-to-fourth move past First Heat Race winner Stevie Smith and Steve Kinser high in turn two early in the final lap as Hodnett coasted to the eight-car-length victory.
"At the start, most of the other guys went to the top and we went to the bottom and passed a few cars there, so we knew were pretty good from the beginning. Last night, we got the lead early and then had a problem and dropped a cylinder, but I guess that just goes to show how good these Don Ott motors are. We stayed up toward the front pretty good. Joey was definitely faster in the open, but he got bottled up behind a couple of cars -- one guy on the top and one on the bottom. I think he had to get on the brakes a little bit, and we just made the move when we saw the opportunity."
Shaffer held off Schatz for third place. Steve Kinser finished fifth, ahead of Smith, Mark Kinser, Don Kreitz Jr., 22nd-starting Sammy Swindell and Daryn Pittman.
Johnny Herrera drove the #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle as Danny Lasoski recovered from injuries he suffered in Friday's crash. Doctors evaluated the defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion throughout the weekend, and expect to release him Monday. Although all tests and x-rays have been favorable, "The Dude" will not race at New Egypt Speedway Monday. WoO