SPRINTS: Stevie Smith Seals the Deal; Wins National Open Tune-Up at Williams Grove

RaceChaser Staff Dirt Track Racing, Northeast, Other Sprint Cars, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – official release — SSR photo — Stevie Smith and Greg Hodnett battled like the professionals that they are, putting on an impressive display of skill for the victory in Friday night’s 25-lap National Open tune up event for 410 sprints at Williams Grove Speedway with Smith coming out on top for his fourth oval win of the season.

In the 20-lap 358 sprint main Kevin Nouse took the lead at the halfway point to record his sixth Williams Grove checkers of the year.

The start of the 410 sprint feature was red flagged for a backstretch flip by Pat Cannon, who escaped injury.

Hodnett had the pole to start the race with Smith to his outside and the race was decided between the pair with Smith at first getting the lead on the start that was red flagged before Hodnett got the drop on the second attempt.

An early caution flag bunched the field with three laps down and Hodnett leading and when action resumed Smith drove deep into the third corner to take the lead. Hodnett fought back seconds later however and drove even deeper into the first corner to get back around Smith and again hold control.

Hodnett had his hands full with Smith, who gave him absolutely no breathing room lap after lap and as the race entered lapped traffic it was beginning to seem inevitable that Smith would again get the lead at some point.

Smith literally raced less than a half car length from Hodnett’s bumper, relentlessly stalking him as each lap clicked off until he was finally able to beat him to the center of the first corner with a gutsy move to Hodnett’s inside.

In the blink of an eye Smith beat Hodnett to the center of the turn and then he twitched the car for a lane change of just one car width to set his No. 51 on the cushion directly in front of Hodnett’s planned swoop around the outsider of the corners.

And then with Hodnett forced to backpedal to prevent contact, Smith jetted away down the backchute.

A final caution flag regouped the field on the 17th tour and on the restart 12th starter Doug Esh earned attention with his run inside the top five. He moved from fifth to blast by Lance Dewease and Craig Dollansky over the final seven laps to finish third.

Meanwhile Hodnett tracked Smith back down over the final four laps and excited the fans again by driving to Smith’s inside off of the turns. But after Smith saw Hodnett getting that far around while running the bottom, the veteran moved down on the track to preserve the $4,000 victory.

“It was a ball, I’ll tell ya,” Smith said of his contest with Hodnett. “It was a hell of a race.”

Car owner Fred Rahmer gave his take on the display of skill for the win.

“He’s one hell of a driver,” Rahmer said. “Last year I was too old or we could have won a lot of races. He (Smith) makes me look like a genius.”

Invader Dollansky rode home fourth followed by Dewease. Sixth through 10th went to Danny Dietrich, Lucas Wolfe, Don Kreitz Jr., Brian Montieth and Curt Michael.

Heats for the 34 car field went to Lynton Jeffrey, Kreitz, Dollansky and Dewease. Hodnett claimed the dash and Adam Wilt scored the B Main. Dietrich set fast time with a lap of 16.498 seconds.

Unofficially, Hodnett took over the season point lead from Kreitz by 50 markers.

Nouse started 10th in the 358 sprint main and got by leader Jordan Givler at the halfway point to get his win. The victory unofficially sealed up bragging rights for Nouse in the 2014 title chase.

Second in points to date on the season, Adrian Shaffer was involved in a lap seven incident on the backstretch that brought out the red flag.

Givler finished a solid second in the feature followed by Chris Arnold, Scott Fisher and Brad McClelland.

Heats for the 22 car field went to Matt Findley, Arnold and McClelland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *