One of the biggest rivalries in dirt track racing is on display as the World of Outlaws, in this case outsiders, come in to challenge the Pennsylvania Posse in their own back yard. There was a lot of momentum going into the night of racing. Saldana had just come off a win last Friday night at Eldora Speedway. Fred Rahmer holds the most wins at the Grove. Drivers like Brian Leppo and Lance Dewease are always front runners at the half mile. Donny Schatz had also experienced some success in his career at the speedway. However, it was a night of surprises for some, but the racing itself was intense!
In hot laps, the fastest drivers of the four hot lap sessions were Joey Saldana with an 18.191 lap, Craig Dollansky with a 17.766 lap, Chad Kemenah with a 17.479 lap and Donny Schatz with a 17.442 lap .
In time trials, Brian Leppo set the pace, laying down quick time with a lap of 17.218. The remaining top five qualifiers were Kemenah, Jason Sides, Sammy Swindell and Fred Rahmer.
Heat one was dominated by the 30 of Doug Esh with the 30C of Lance Dewease finishing second and the 71 of Brian Leppo in third.
Heat two was won by the 27 of Daryn Pittman with the 11 of Steve Kinser taking the second spot and the 21 of Corey Montieth in third.
Heat three was won by the 15 of Donny Schatz with the 7S of Sides in second and the 14 of Jason Meyers in third.
The fourth and final heat was won by the 92 of Kerry Madsen with the 1Z of Stevie Smith in second and the 1 of Swindell finishing third.
The dash results were as follows: (1-10) Stevie Smith, Brian Leppo, Jason Sides, Daryn Pittman, Chad Kemenah, Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz, Doug Esh, Lance Dewease and Kerry Madsen.
At the drop of the green flag for the 25-lap feature event, fans along the front stretch watched the 1Z stand up on its rear tires all the way to turn one, while leading the pack. The show started off with a bang, but it wasn’t long before the yellow flag came out for several sprint cars getting tangled up in turns three and four. The field lined up again for a complete restart to get the show underway yet again.
This time, Smith took a safer route, leaving all four tires on the dirt, using everything he had to hold off the 71 machine of Leppo. Smith was able to keep the lead as the top four started stretching out from one another as the rest of the top five battled side by side for position.
Schatz had worked his way up to the fifth position after battling heavily with Steve Kinser for the first ten laps of the event. Smith had built upon his lead quickly in the first ten laps, but when lap traffic began taking it’s toll on the 1Z’s clean air, Leppo began reeling him in turn by turn.
At lap 12, it looked as though Leppo was getting within reach of the 1Z, but that momentum was halted as the red flag came out for the 17 of Tyler Walker who took a rough barrel roll in turn two. Walker’s car was banged up pretty badly, but he was able to get out of the car and walk to the pit area.
For the restart, Smith chose the inside line. As the green flew, Smith jumped out with the lead, but going into turn one Sides got a huge run on the outside and went flying toward the top spot. However, Sides run on the outside would be dismissed after the caution flew for Smith accelerating too early, so he was moved back to the inside of row two for the restart.
Smith’s misfortune brought the 71 of Leppo to the lead at the start. Leppo was able to hold onto that lead going into turn one, but Pittman wasn’t letting him get too far away. As the field made their way down the long backstretch, the 30 of Doug Esh took a tumble that ended with his car slamming into the pedestrian walkway bridge over the track. The red flag came out and emergency workers were on the scene within seconds. The accident looked worse from the spectator’s side, but Esh was able to climb out of the car and make his way back to the pit area as though nothing had happened.
After two attempts at the double file restart, and no laps completed, the field lined up this time in single file. It was Leppo, Pittman, Smith, Sides and Schatz in the top five positions. As the green was in the air, Pittman
used the high line to make his way around Leppo, but the 71 used a text book slide job to get the position back on the backstretch. The battle was nose to tail for the lead, and it was a similar battle for third as Sides and Smith were running side by side for the position. It was the halfway mark and Leppo was still holding down the top spot.
However, that front position wasn’t his for long, and on lap 16, Pittman took it away in turn two. Then,on lap 20, Pittman almost came in contact with the slowing 91 of Cody Darrah, as his machine struggled throughout the evening, finally coming to a hault on the backstretch. Luckily for Pittman he was able to maneuver his way around the 91 machine to hold on to the lead.
Pittman chose the bottom line for the double file restart with only five laps remaining in the feature event. The 27 got a great run on the restart and was able to put several car lengths between he and the 71. Sides also got a good run and was able to work his way up to Leppo to battle for that runner-up position. The battle for second allowed Pittman to stretch that distance even further, and as the checkers flew it was Pittman who took the first win of the Sprint Shootout.
In victory lane, the announcer asked Pittman about the win and his affiliation as a member of the Pennsylvania Posse. He said “I don’t care if they consider me an Outlaw or a member of the Posse, all I know is I just won an Outlaw race at Williams Grove and that’s not an easy thing to do.”
Here are the full A-main results: 27, 71, 7S, 1Z, 11, 51, 15, 14, 1, 69K, 30C, 9, 35, 63, 7, 7L, 15A, 92, 83, 5W, 39, 93, 21, 19M, 91, 30, 17, 48.
Tonight the Outlaws will be back in action at Williams Grove Speedway, for night number two of the Sprint Shootout event. Tonight’s show not only features a full night of World of Outlaws action, but also features the inaugural running for the Morgan Cup. Five top finishing drivers of the Pennsylvania Posse and five top finishing drivers for the Outlaws will duke it out in a 12-lap dash for bragging rights and an $11,000 purse. Tune back in tonight for a full recap of the night’s event and find out which side of the rivalry will be going home with the hardware!