CONCORD, N.C. — Though the Pennsylvania Posse has never won a World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series feature during the Bad Boy Off Road World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte, Greg Hodnett has come the closest, finishing second during last year’s opening feature.
Thursday night during the qualifying programs that set the fields for the remainder of the weekend, Hodnett poised himself to again be the man to challenge for a Posse victory in Charlotte.
Hodnett topped his qualifying flight for both days of the 10th annual World Finals weekend, posting a lap of 12.633 seconds (113.987 mph) in flight A for Friday’s program and backing up the performance with a lap of 12.927 seconds (111.395 mph) during qualifying for Saturday’s activities, again coming in flight A.
His Friday time was both the fastest lap of the day and gave Hodnett his second quick time award of the season.
“The track’s really nice. They did a great job,” said Hodnett, driver of the Heffner Racing No. 27. “In hot laps we were running through the middle, but the bottom got a little better. In our last lap in hot laps, I moved down and it was pretty quick. We made it stick in [turns three and four]. I think that was the key in our qualifying lap.”
The top eight drivers overall from the qualifying session for the Friday program came out of flight A, with last year’s championship runner-up Shane Stewart clocking in second-fastest at a 12.644 second clip, just .011 of a second behind Hodnett in his Eneos/Larson Marks Racing No. 2.
2013 series champion Daryn Pittman was third for Kasey Kahne Racing behind the wheel of the Great Clips/Sage Fruit No. 9, posting a quick lap of 12.712 second, followed by KKR teammate Brad Sweet and Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart.
Six-time Arctic Cat All Stars Circuit of Champions titlist Dale Blaney was the fastest driver in qualifying flight B for the Friday program, posting a time of 12.852 seconds and leading 2016 All Stars champion Chad Kemenah and 2016 Knoxville Nationals winner Jason Johnson on the time sheets.
The top three from Friday flight B were separated by just .004 of a second.
Notables outside the overall top 10 from Friday qualifying included Donny Schatz (14th), who secured his eighth World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series title by registering for both days’ action, former Charlotte winner Brian Brown (18th), 2016 Rookie of the Year Greg Wilson (27th) and Jac Haudenschild (35th), who is subbing for an ill Jacob Allen this weekend in the Shark Racing No. 1a.
Sammy Swindell qualified a distant 45th in the Blazin’ Racin’ No. 82 that Dusty Zomer piloted to the win on opening night one year ago.