SELINSGROVE, Pa. — It took Gregg Satterlee 85 tries to break into victory lane on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. He needed just five more starts to make his return to the national tour’s most exalted spot.
Almost exactly one month after registering his first WoO LMS A-Main triumph Satterlee was back in the spotlight, rolling to a convincing victory in Saturday night’s 40-lap ‘Showdown On Sand Hill’ at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Satterlee, 29, of Rochester Mills, Pa., was unbeatable in the opening leg of the inaugural WoO LMS doubleheader at the historic half-mile central Pennsylvania oval. He passed defending circuit champion Darrell Lanigan for the lead on lap 17 — a moment before Lanigan slowed with an overheating engine — and dominated the remainder of the distance to cash an $8,050 first-place check.
“I would’ve never thought we would’ve got one again this year,” said Satterlee, whose milestone first WoO LMS victory came on July 30 at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway. “It always hangs in the back of your mind – that once you get (a win), you can do it again – but I never would’ve dreamed that we would do it again this soon. This is just awesome.”
Vic Coffey finished a distant second, flashing under the checkered flag 2.203 seconds behind Satterlee. The performance allowed Coffey to match his career-best WoO LMS finish as his frustrating winless streak on the circuit reached 157 A-Mains.
Jeff Rine placed a solid third, giving the eight-time Selinsgrove late model champion a career-high finish on the WoO LMS. Josh Richards steadily advanced from the eighth starting spot to finish fourth — and more importantly, push his advantage in the standings to 94 points over ninth-place Shane Clanton — and Rick Eckert finished fifth at the track where he ran his first dirt late model event nearly three decades ago.
Satterlee, who started second, led the race’s first lap before being overtaken by pole-starter Lanigan. But Satterlee didn’t let the tour’s all-time winningest driver pull away and was in position to grab the lead with an inside move off turn two on lap 17.
“I knew after those first couple laps I could hang there right with (Lanigan) running the same line,” said Satterlee, who drove his father’s Roush Yates Ford-powered Rocket car. “I started running a lower line there in lapped traffic and was able to sneak by him. After that I wasn’t really sure where to go – I didn’t really know how close anyone was — but I guess what I was doing worked out.”
Indeed, there was no catching the fleet Satterlee. After Lanigan slowed on lap 17 to bring out the race’s lone caution flag, Satterlee simply drove away from his nearest challengers with every circuit around the sprawling track.
“These big tracks just seem to fit our driving style,” said Satterlee, whose three victories over the past month have come at spacious half-mile ovals. “We’ve just been clicking on the big tracks lately.”
Coffey, 42, chased Satterlee to no avail after passing Rine for second place on lap 18. The former WoO LMS Rookie of the Year fell as many as three seconds — nearly a full straightaway – behind the leader until Satterlee’s late-race dealings with lapped traffic slightly cut the final gap.
“We didn’t change much (after heat racing), but the change we did make made me too tight to run the bottom of the track,” Coffey said of his Sweeteners Plus Rocket car. “I don’t know if it was gonna be any good down there anyway because the top just carried so much speed, but I couldn’t run where I did in the heat race. I had to get to the top and just kind of run Gregg’s line, and at that point he was a little better than us. Unless he had problems, I knew we had a second place car.
“It’s frustrating to come close (to a win) again, but we had a good night. If we can keep running near the front like this that win will eventually come.”
Rine, 36, fell short in his bid to score an emotional win in front of his loyal fans, but the best performance of his career in WoO LMS competition was enough to pump him up.
“I’m happy standing right here in third,” said Rine, who started fifth and moved up to second after Lanigan dropped from contention on lap 17. “To race with these guys and to finish third with these guys at our home track is just awesome.”
Gregg Satterlee, Vic Coffey, Jeff Rine, Josh Richards, Rick Eckert, Tim McCreadie, Matt Cochran, Dan Stone, Shane Clanton, Bryan Bernheisel, Morgan Bagley, Dylan Yoder, Jamie Lathroum, Bub McCool, Coleby Frye, Jim Yoder, Chub Frank, Eric Wells, Dave Zona, Darrell Lanigan, Bud Phillips, Tim Fuller, Jim Bernheisel, Kenny Trevitz, Clint Smith.