MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Greg Hodnett went into Friday night as the Williams Grove Speedway point leader, but hadn’t won a 410 sprint car feature at the track since the end of March.
He changed that stat after the night’s 25-lap main event, taking the lead from Lucas Wolfe in lapped traffic and controlling the final 14 circuits to win his first 410 feature at the track since the second race of the season.
Things were going Hodnett’s way, but a header pipe broke off with three laps to go, affecting the car’s performance.
“We lost a lot of horsepower, but being out in front, we had a huge advantage to dictate when to take off and how hard I could run,” said Hodnett. “We had a lot of things go our way. We were lucky to finish and had a pretty good car. We are pretty happy going into next week.”
Wolfe started on the pole and drove into the lead over Hodnett to start the final 25-lap main event before next weekend’s Champion Racing Oil National Open.
Wolfe led by about a half-straightaway with five laps completed as they raced around a fast cushion.
As Wolfe closed on the back of the field, Hodnett closed on him with 10 laps completed. Hodnett made an inside move off turn four to take the lead the next time around.
“We caught two guys that were running the top in lapped traffic,” said Hodnett. “Lucas had to momentarily check-up getting into turn three. I shot to the bottom and waited to hit the moisture coming down the straightaway and it worked out for us. Sometimes, it’s better to run second in those situations.”
The red flag stopped the race with 14 laps completed for a hard third turn crash by Danny Dietrich, who walked back to the pit area. A major clean-up was needed as Dietrich’s sprinter leaked fuel across the third turn.
Hodnett led the field down for the double-file restart as the Grove used the World of Outlaws format for the race. Lance Dewease pitted from the fifth spot before the restart.
Wolfe tried to take the lead back, but Hodnett slammed the door as they raced into turn three. Stevie Smith and Wolfe raced hard for second as Hodnett pulled away. Cory Haas drove by Aaron Ott and into fifth.
Hodnett streaked away from the field as Wolfe secured second from Smith. The race was slowed with three laps to go for debris on the race track (Hodnett’s header), and had a single-file restart as a result.
Wolfe stayed with Hodnett following the restart, but it was the Williams Grove point leader picking up his first win since the end of March over Wolfe, Smith, Rahmer and Haas.
Doug Esh, who helped assist Dietrich from his crashed car, finished sixth.
In the 358 sprint feature, it was Phil Walter grabbing the race lead from Dave Thrush with nine laps completed and holding off Kevin Nouse to get the win for his first triumph at the historic oval over a decades-long career.
RESULTS: Williams Grove Speedway; Sept. 23, 2016
410 Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Greg Hodnett. 2. Lucas Wolfe. 3. Stevie Smith. 4. Freddie Rahmer. 5. Cory Haas. 6. Doug Esh. 7. Alan Krimes. 8. Aaron Ott. 9. James McFadden. 10. Brent Marks. 11. Ryan Smith. 12. Brian Montieth. 13. Kyle Reinhardt. 14. Matt Campbell. 15. T.J. Stutts. 16. Tim Kaeding. 17. Rodney Westhafer. 18. Tim Wagaman. 19. Bill Balog. 20. Lance Dewease. 21. Chase Dietz. 22. Danny Dietrich. 23. Steve Buckwalter. 24. Dave Blaney.
Did Not Qualify: Trey Starks, Kody Lehman, Frankie Herr, Jay Galloway, Troy Fraker, Brock Zearfoss.
358 Sprint Feature (20 laps): 1. Phil Walter. 2. Kevin Nouse. 3. Jordan Givler. 4. Chandler Leiby. 5. Adrian Shaffer. 6. Dave Thrush. 7. Jared Esh. 8. Nyle Berkes. 9. Todd Reed. 10. Brie Hershey. 11. Jeff Halligan. 12. Tyler Esh. 13. Rich Eichelberger. 14. Chris Arnold. 15. Kyle Denmyer. 16. Matt Findley. 17. Wyatt Hinkle. 18. Aaron Eichelberger. 19. Jay Tracy. 20. Glenndon Forsythe. 21. Eric Parker.
CREDIT: Williams Grove Speedway