MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Wheeling the Trone Outdoor/Lealands.com No. 27 to a $4,000 score with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by Sawblade.com, Greg Hodnett dominated the 11 Oaks Farm Battle of the Groves at Williams Grove Speedway.
“Anytime we can win at this point is great for us,” said Hodnett. “We’ve been struggling this year so it’s great anytime we can come out and compete. These guys are the best of the best in this type of racing. Mark [Smith] can go anywhere and win, and guys like Sam [Hafertepe] being a past champion, he’s excellent so I’m just proud of this team.”
The fifth winner in just as many events this season, Hodnett earned the FSR Radiator and Racing Products High Point Driver of the Night through the combination heat/qualifier format to position himself on the pole of Saturday’s 25-lap feature.
“We were lucky enough to position ourselves up front and take advantage of it and that was huge with the rubber coming in towards the end where there wasn’t much passing,” he said. “Everything went our way with this car just because we never got into traffic because of the yellows. Every time we came up on something, I would like it was going to get hairy because I didn’t know what I was going to do, but everything just fell into place.”
Working to slower traffic on Lap 10, the race’s first caution flag flew for Jason Shultz whose rear axle snapped rolling down the backstretch. Reverting to the last fully completed lap, Mark Smith tried to build a run on the No. 27 but would be denied as Steve Buckwalter went after Smith for second. Unchanged in the top-three, the cautions lights blinked on again on lap 12 for Blake Hahn who came to a top in turn-four.
Rolling to green, the race at the front was for fifth as Lucas Wolfe set sights on Wayne Johnson. Finally getting a break for the fifth spot, on Lap 18, the following lap was Wolfe’s last for the night as the left sideboard peeled off the wing of the No. 5w. Putting Johnson back to fifth, the final restart was not enough for anyone to get a run on Greg Hodnett, who sped away to a 1.082-second advantage at the drop of the checkered flag.
Mark Smith second was joined on the podium by Steve Buckwalter. Grabbing fourth, Sam Hafertepe Jr. has taken over the point’s lead with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by Sawblade.com by 17 points.
Completing the top five was Wayne Johnson.
A field of 46 drivers from 15 states, Australia and Canada was on hand on Friday night’s 11 Oaks Farm Battle of the Groves opener.
1. 27-Greg Hodnett, ; 2. M1-Mark Smith, ; 3. 7-Steve Buckwalter, ; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, ; 5. 2C-Wayne Johnson, ; 6. 35-Chad Layton, ; 7. 87-Jason Barney, ; 8. 44S-Trey Starks, ; 9. 45X-Johnny Herrera, ; 10. 28F-Davie Franek, ; 11. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, ; 12. 10X-Ryan Smith, ; 13. 71-Giovanni Scelzi, ; 14. 1-Travis Rilat, ; 15. 23-Seth Bergman, ; 16. 52-Blake Hahn, ; 17. 99-Skylar Gee, ; 18. 11-Roger Crockett, ; 19. 45-Chuck Hebing, ; 20. (DNF) 5W-Lucas Wolfe, ; 21. (DNF) 2-Bill Balog, ; 22. (DNF) 29-Jason Shultz, ; 23. (DNF) 77-Derek Locke, ; 24. (DNF) 95-Matt Covington,