MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Despite the left side board of his top wing beginning to come off over the final two laps, Lance Dewease held off Greg Hodnett for the Mitch Smith Memorial win Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.
Dewease’s third Grove win of the season was the 90th of his career and tied him with Fred Rahmer for most wins all-time at the track. His victory was worth $12,000 in a car owned by Donnie Kreitz.
The left side board of Dewease’s wing began to pull away from the center section creating vision and handling problems, but he held on to his second straight Speedweek win.
“It was a handful,” Dewease said. “I knew I had to run down around the bottom. I was going to use up whoever got along side of me. I was shocked it took that long for somebody to get along side of me. I wasn’t going to wreck them, but they were going to have to figure out a way by me. I couldn’t see out the right side at all. I was just listening for somebody and I knew I had to move up some and take the lane away from them and use up as much track as I could. Drive 100 miles per hour with three flat tires. That’s what it drove like. You’re just manhandling it. Using the brake, using the throttle.”
Two of Williams Grove’s best, Greg Hodnett and Dewease, shared the front row to start the 30-lap main event. It was Hodnett getting the best of Dewease blasting off the turn two cushion while Dewease was on the bottom.
The yellow flag flew with five laps completed.
Hodnett controlled the restart. Rico Abreu and defending track champion Freddie Rahmer raced hard for third. Rahmer took it in turn four, but Abreu returned the pass in turn two.
Hodnett was up by 1.141 with 10 laps completed.
The leaders reached a pack of slower cars on lap 13. Hodnett had to slow entering turn three and that’s all Dewease needed to drive by and into the lead as they raced off turn four.
Dewease was slicing through traffic now with 12 laps to go as Rahmer and Abreu continued their battle for third.
Rahmer eventually secured the spot and closed on Hodnett and slid in front of him off four taking second with six laps to go.
The yellow flew with five laps to go for Jared Esh in turn four. This erased Dewease’s two second lead.
Dewease controlled the restart and had the race under control until he was coming down for two to go when the top wing began shifting creating major handling issues.
Hodnett passed Rahmer on the restart and was all over Dewease for the lead, but Dewease made his car as wide as possible. Danny Dietrich drove by Rahmer for third. The top three were nose-to-tail, and sideways, as they raced off turn two on the final lap.
Dewease led them down the back stretch and through turns three and four. Dietrich went all the way to the bottom of turn four trying to get by, but Dewease beat them both back to the line winning by 0.140 over Hodnett and Dietrich.
“I saw Lance’s wing and he was having a hard time getting down the straight aways,” Hodnett said. “I know how that feels. It’s very difficult to keep a straight line. I got a couple runs on him, but if I would have pushed the issue, I would have probably crashed us both.”
“Nowhere to go,” Dietrich said. “I don’t know how Lance drove it like that. I tried everything I could do to get around Greg. I knew Lance would be coming up the race track to block. We came from eighth to third. I wish we could have started up front. We had a fast racecar.”
Rahmer and Abreu completed the top five. Lucas Wolfe, Anthony Macri, Tony Stewart, Trey Starks and Chad Trout rounded out the top 10.
Hodnett set fast time over the 35-car field with a lap 17.040. Rahmer, Dietrich, Trout and Starks won the heat races. Gerard McIntyre Jr. won the B-main.
Hodnett leads the Speedweek points by 64 over Rahmer.
Lance Dewease, Greg Hodnett, Danny Dietrich, Freddie Rahmer, Rico Abreu, Lucas Wolfe, Anthony Macri, Tony Stewart, Trey Starks, Chad Trout, Parker Price-Miller, Ryan Smith, Cory Haas, Spencer Bayston, Dylan Cisney, Robbie Kendall, Brian Montieth, Gerard McIntyre Jr., Kyle Moody, Jared Esh, Tim Wagaman, Jim Siegel, James McFadden, Brock Zearfoss.