By Lee Elder
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (Sept. 29, 2018) – Lance Dewease grabbed the lead just after the halfway point and pulled away to win his fourth Champion Racing Oil National Open at Williams Grove Speedway. The event was sanctioned by the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.
The victory capped an emotional week for the sprint car industry, coming eight days after after the loss of Greg Hodnett, who was killed in a non-Outlaws sprint car race. Dewease was near tears as he exited his car during the victory celebration.
“This is all about Greg,” Dewease said. “This whole week, this whole weekend was all about Greg. Anybody who knew him knew how great a guy he was.”
The victory paid the winner $56,000, among the richest prizes in sprint car competition. Dewease, who is the winningest sprint car driver at Williams Grove, said the victory was his greatest in the National Open.
Dewease spent the first half of the 40-lap event chasing early leader Brock Zearfoss. Dewease took the lead for good on the 24th lap and then benefitted when Zearfoss crashed in turn one during a restart.
“Brock was running really good, really good there,” Dewease said. “I knew that, sooner or later, the track would change a little bit and I didn’t want to kill my tires early.”
Daryn Pittman finished second, 2.618 seconds behind the winner. It was the fourth time Pittman has finished second in the National Open. Brian Montieth was third, followed by Tim Shaffer and Ryan Smith.
“Frustrated to be second four times now in the National Open, but, at the end of the day this was really not about (the Pennsylvania) Posse or the Outlaws, or winning or losing,” Pittman said. “It was about coming back and doing the only thing we know how to do and that’s race and honoring Greg.”
Dewease bolted between a lapped car and Zearfoss to take the lead on the back straight during the 24th lap and then began to pull away slightly. But a spinning car brought out a caution flag and the organizers allowed the teams to add fuel under what they termed an open red flag period. Other minor work was also allowed but no tire changes were permitted. Zearfoss lost control of his car as the field headed into turn one on the restart, backing the racer into the fence and ending his chance to win the race.
Giovanni Scelzi was named Rookie of the National Open. Scelzi won Friday’s feature.
NOTES: Freddie Rahmer, Brent Marks advanced from the C Main to the B, David Gravel, Sheldon Haudenschild, Logan Wagner, Shane Stewart, Brent Marks and Ian Madsen advanced through the B to the feature. … Brock Zearfoss, Lance Dewease won the Dashes. … Provisional starting spots went to Freddie Rahmer and Lucas Wolf (Williams Grove), Jacob Allen and Kraig Kinser (Outlaws). … There were 28 starters in the feature race.