Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Morgan Hughes National Open at Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg, PA-- September 24, 2008--The National Open at the famed Williams Grove Speedway has always been a big event,...
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Morgan Hughes National Open at Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, PA-- September 24, 2008--The National Open at the famed Williams Grove Speedway has always been a big event, and this season there has been even more prestige and luster added to the race. The two-day event will bear the name of the late owner of Williams Grove Speedway, Morgan Hughes and the finale of the $50,000 to-win race will air LIVE on SPEED on Saturday, September 27 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
With a stout field of cars expected, the level of competition for the Morgan Hughes National Open will be ratcheted to an all-time high at the half-mile. Five current World of Outlaws drivers have won at the track, while 34 drivers scoring victories with the series dating back to 1978, including preliminary features.
Leading this list is Steve Kinser, the 20-time Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, who has won 38 times in his career at Williams Grove Speedway, including on May 15 in the series first visit of the season to the half-mile. He is a four-time winner of the National Open. Dating back to 1979, the native of Bloomington, Indiana has nearly 100 Top-Five finishes at the track. He heads to Williams Grove with five wins this season which has brought his career total to 549 A-Feature victories.
Donny Schatz, the two-time defending series champion won the finale of the Summer Nationals earlier this season at the track. In his career, he has won a total of 15 times at the half-mile, including five last season. He is the defending winner of the National Open and has won the event four times in his career. The North Dakota native leads the World of Outlaws with 14 A-Feature wins this season as he chases his third consecutive title.
Jason Meyers, who is currently second in the World of Outlaws championship standings has two Top-Five finishes at Williams Grove Speedway this season. He was fifth on the opening night of the Summer Nationals and bettered that with a third-place performance in the finale of that event. He has won a total of nine times this season and leads the World of Outlaws in Top-Five finishes and laps led as he chases his first World of Outlaws title.
Joey Saldana has two Top-Five finishes at Williams Grove Speedway this season, including a third-place finish on May 15 and a fifth in the finale of the Summer Nationals. The second generation driver has 25 career Top-10 finishes at the half-mile. He recently won his fifth race of the season, taking the checkered flag at Eldora Speedway last Saturday night. Driving for Kasey Kahne Racing, Saldana is currently tied for the third spot in the series championship standings.
Jac Haudenschild has two career wins at Williams Grove and has finished in the Top-10 60 times in his career at the track. He was sixth in May and eighth in the finale of the Summer Nationals back in July. The veteran driver who hails from Wooster, Ohio picked up his fourth win of the season on Sunday night at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York.
Chad Kemenah, the 2006 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, earned his best career finish at Williams Grove Speedway in the opener of the Summer Nationals back in July, finishing third, after leading the first 19 laps of the event. The native of Findlay, Ohio has 32 Top-10 finishes this season with 12 of those being Top-Five performances, as he closes in on his first win of the season.
Kerry Madsen finished third last season at Williams Grove on the opening night of the National Open and was running strong the following night when a mechanical failure ended his race. He was ninth in the finale of the Summer Nationals back in July as he continues to gain experience at the unique half-mile. The reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year has 34 Top-10 finishes this season.
Terry McCarl won a preliminary feature at Williams Grove in 2006. The six-time Knoxville Raceway and Huset's Speedway track champion has seven career Top-10 finishes at the track. He has 24 Top-10 finishes this season as he chases his first win of the year.
Daryn Pittman won the opening night of the Summer Nationals at the track this season and won the finale of the annual event back in 2006. He has over 20 Top-10 finishes in his career at Williams Grove Speedway, including three in the National Open. He has won four times this season in World of Outlaws action, including in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in July.
Sam Hafertepe Jr. made his first trip to Williams Grove last season as a rookie, and finished a very solid 11th on the opening night of last year's Summer Nationals. The native of Sunnyvale, Texas finished a career-best third on Sunday night at Lebanon Valley Speedway and has 16 Top-10 finishes this season as he chases his first series win.
Kraig Kinser has four Top-10 finishes in his career at Williams Grove Speedway. He won his first race of the season on Labor Day at Grays Harbor Raceway in Washington. In his first season behind the wheel for Tony Stewart Racing, the third generation driver has 16 Top-10 finishes.
Jason Sides had three Top-10 finishes at Williams Grove Speedway last season and in his career has nine Top-10 finishes at the track. The 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year is just outside of the Top-10 in the series standings this season and has picked up 16 Top-10 finishes as he chases his first win of the year.
Tony Bruce Jr. has made the feature in all three World of Outlaws events at Williams Grove Speedway this season. The sophomore driver from Liberal, Kansas won his first career World of Outlaws race earlier this season at 34 Raceway in Iowa.
Chad Hillier, who is also in his second full season with the World of Outlaws, has made a handful of starts over the last two seasons at Williams Grove, as he continues to gain experience at the historic half-mile. He has five Top-10 finishes this season and is just outside of the Top-15 in points.
Lucas Wolfe, who hails from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, finished fifth back on May 15 at his home track. He has eight career wins at Williams Grove and has a couple of Top-Five finishes this season at the track, including a runner-up performance back in early March in a weekly show.
Paul McMahan finished seventh in the finale of the Summer Nationals in July, and has won twice during his career at Williams Grove. He has nearly 20 Top-10 finishes at the half-mile in his career. He has 14 Top-10 finishes this season as he chases his first win of the year.
Brooke Tatnell, who is filling in for the injured Craig Dollansky, last competed at Williams Grove Speedway in 2006, finishing eighth or better in four starts that season, including third and fourth-place performances in the 2006 Summer Nationals. He charged from the 21st starting spot on Sunday night to finish 10th at Lebanon Valley Speedway in his first race filling in for Dollansky.
2008 Race Recaps:
May 15: Steve Kinser won for the 38th time in his career at Williams Grove Speedway, after a race long battle with veteran Craig Keel.
Kinser took the lead initially on the 12th lap, but there was a red flag period before the full lap was completed. By way of Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws series rules the running order reverts to the last completed lap, which kept Craig Keel, who started on the pole and led from the outset, in the lead. He took the lead from Keel on the 18th lap and would lead the rest of the way.
After Kinser took the white flag while leading, there was another stoppage, and by way of series rules, two consecutive green flag laps have to be completed to end a race, thus adding one more obstacle for him, as he had to fend off the field on one final restart.
The race took three starts to get going, and Craig Keel charged to the lead on all three of them, with Kinser quickly moving into the third position, from his second row starting spot. He would shadow rookie Lucas Wolfe for a number of laps, before sweeping past the freshman driver for the second spot on the 11th lap. From there, Kinser would track down Keel, who had opened some sizeable leads early in the race.
Donny Schatz used a strong restart with five laps to go to move from fifth to third. He would gain one more spot after the checkered flag to finish second, after Keel who lead the first 17 laps of the race was disqualified for being too light at the scales.
Joey Saldana finished third, with Doug Esh fourth and Lucas Wolfe fifth.
July 18: Daryn Pittman picked up his second career win at Williams Grove Speedway, by making a thrilling pass on two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz with just three laps remaining in the opener of the Summer Nationals.
Pittman was running third with just five laps remaining and charged past Chad Kemenah, before using a late restart to his advantage to overtake Schatz in dramatic fashion, as he boldly put a slide job on the leader in the second turn to inch his ahead. Pittman would hold off Schatz over the last two laps to pick up his second win in the last three races.
Pittman lined up sixth and gained two spots on the opening laps, powering his way past 20-time series champion Steve Kinser and also Brian Leppo who won with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at Williams Grove last season. He then patiently worked on Jeff Shepard, taking the third spot from him on the 11th lap. He then was able to reel in Chad Kemenah and used the late restart to make a bid for the win. After sliding Schatz in the second turn, the pair drifted up to the wall, with Schatz getting on the brakes for a split second and then doing his best to fight back.
The race took four starts to get a single lap in the books, as there were two yellow flag periods, followed by a red flag. Jeff Shepard led from the pole on two of the starts, with Kemenah leading on the other two. Kemenah led the most important start, which was the fourth one and would pace the field for the first 18 laps. Pittman stayed focused on each of the starts on a very hot and muggy night.
Schatz took the lead from Kemenah on the low side as the pair approached traffic on the 19th lap as they exited the second turn. Kemenah instantly fought back, though Schatz was able to quickly pull away. With three laps remaining, Schatz had a comfortable lead as Pittman and Kemenah battled for the second spot, with the final caution flag of the night flying on the 22nd lap.
Schatz wound up second, with Kemenah third, with Steve Kinser fourth and Jason Meyers fifth.
July 19: Donny Schatz picked up his 15th career win at Williams Grove Speedway claiming the finale of the Summer Nationals.
The two-time defending series champion swept under Craig Dollansky in the third turn on the 20th lap to take the lead and proceeded to slice his way through lapped traffic for the remaining 10 laps to earn the $25,000 win.
After leading late in the race in the opener of the Summer Nationals, before being passed by Daryn Pittman with three laps remaining,
Schatz lined up fourth for the 30-lap A-Feature and moved into the second spot on the opening lap getting around multi-time Williams Grove Speedway champion Fred Rahmer, as well as pole sitter Paul McMahan. While he tried to track down Dollansky early, Schatz had his hands full with Joey Saldana. After losing the second spot to Saldana on the third lap, he took it back on the seventh circuit, and then set his sights on Dollansky. Schatz patiently shadowed Dollansky and worked lapped traffic masterfully to track him down and take the lead.
Dollansky led the first 19 laps, as he was looking for his second win of the season at Williams Grove. He gained ground a couple of times late in the race in heavy lapped traffic as he tried to track Schatz back down.
Jason Meyers followed up a fifth-place finish in the opener of the Summer Nationals with a third-place performance in the finale, followed by Fred Rahmer and Joey Saldana.
What to look for at Williams Grove Speedway:
* Donny Schatz won the finale of the Summer Nationals in July at Williams Grove Speedway, and won five of seven events at the half-mile last season, to bring his career win total to 15 at the half-mile, including preliminary features.
* Steve Kinser is the winningest driver in World of Outlaws competition at Williams Grove, having scored 38 total wins, dating back to 1979. He won the series first visit to the track on May 15 and has five wins this season to bring his career total to 549.
*Lucas Wolfe who is in his first season with the World of Outlaws hails from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and picked up his best finish of the season with the series at his home track on May 15, coming home fifth. He has eight career wins at the half-mile.
*Jason Meyers who is second in the World of Outlaws standings finished in the Top-Five on both nights of the Summer Nationals. He has won nine times this year as he chases his first win at Williams Grove Speedway.
* Joey Saldana finished third at the famed half-mile in May and was fifth in the finale of the Summer Nationals, and has one career win at the track, along with 24 Top-10 finishes.
* Jac Haudenschild has won twice in his career at the half-mile and has nearly 60 Top-10 finishes, dating back to 1983. He recently won his fourth race of the season.
*Chad Kemenah led the first laps of his career at Williams Grove Speedway in the opener of the Summer Nationals, finishing a career-best third at the track.
*Brooke Tatnell, who is filling in for the injured Craig Dollansky last competed at Williams Grove Speedway in 2006, finishing eighth or better in four events at the track that season. He was 10th Sunday night in his first race substituting in the Larry Woodward Racing machine.
By the Numbers- Williams Grove Speedway:
0.5- Miles around Williams Grove Speedway
3- Laps led by Daryn Pittman en route to winning at the track on July 18
6- Drivers that have led laps in feature racing competition with the World of Outlaws at the track this season
7- Events for the World of Outlaws in the state of Pennsylvania this season
8- Laps led by Steve Kinser en route to the win at Williams Grove on May 15
11- Laps led by Donny Schatz en route to winning at the track on July 19
15- Career wins for Donny Schatz at Williams Grove Speedway
16.140- Track record established by Brian Paulus on April 26, 2002
34- Drivers that have won at Williams Grove with the World of Outlaws, including preliminary features
38- Total wins for Steve Kinser at the half-mile including preliminary feature wins
40- Laps in the $50,000-to win A-Feature on Saturday, September 27
54- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws through September 21
56- Drivers that competed in the National Open last season
96- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway dating back to 1978
118- Points that separate Donny Schatz and Jason Meyers atop the World of Outlaws standings
207- Miles from Orange County Fair Speedway where the World of Outlaws compete on September 24 to Williams Grove Speedway
1939- Year that racing began at Williams Grove Speedway
1967- Year that weekly sprint car racing began at the track
1978- Year that the World of Outlaws first competed at Williams Grove Speedway
1990- First year of the National Open
50,000-Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, September 27
Tickets: On Friday, September 26 at Williams Grove Speedway, general admission tickets will be $30 with reserved seats $32. Tickets for students will be $15, with kids 12-under admitted free of charge.
On Saturday, September 27 at Williams Grove Speedway, general admission tickets will be $32 with reserved tickets $35. Tickets for students will be $17, with kids 12-under admitted free of charge.
Next Up: The World of Outlaws lone visit of the season to the state of Minnesota for their inaugural event at North Central Speedway on Friday, October 3, followed by the Princeton PolyDome National at Princeton Speedway on Saturday, October 4.