MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Taking advantage of Rico Abreu’s misfortune, Danny Dietrich earned his way back to Williams Grove Speedway victory lane against the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, claiming the 35th annual Jack Gunn Memorial worth $5,000.
After starting third, the Gettysburg, Pa., native led the final 12 laps of the 30-lap program to claim his second Arctic Cat All Star victory of the season. It was his ninth All Star triumph.
Sammy Swindell, aboard the Mark Coldren-owned No. 07, finished second, followed by Greg Hodnett, Lance Dewease and Lucas Wolfe.
“I can’t say enough about these guys who are standing behind me,” Dietrich said. “They work hard and it really shows. We’re starting to get this season really turned around. We have two more races this weekend with Lincoln tomorrow and Susquehanna on Sunday. Those are tracks we are really comfortable with. Our goal is to get one or two more wins this weekend. That is the plan, anyhow.”
Wolfe and Abreu led the 25 starters to green on Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway. Abreu earned the early jump and raced to the front of the running order ahead of Lucas Wolfe and Danny Dietrich. Those three battled in the same order for the first nine circuits, reaching the tail end of the field for the first time with just seven laps in the books.
Despite Abreu’s advantage stretching to nearly two seconds in clean air, heavy traffic eventually negated all of his earned momentum allowing Wolfe and Dietrich to close the gap in a hurry. By lap 10, Dietrich, who mastered the bottom groove of the speedway to navigate through traffic, was able to make a bid for second over Wolfe and succeeded, ultimately moving his focus ahead to the Abreu Vineyards/Priority Aviation/No. 24.
Fortunately for Dietrich, his hunt for the front flourished easier than predicted, as Abreu became victim of a flat left rear tire, turning the St. Helena, Calif., native completely around near the exit of turn two. Dietrich was able to avoid Abreu’s spin and inherit the lead with 18 circuits in the books.
After a failed attempt to resume action on the lap-19 restart, and open red conditions taking over the speedway as the result of a spectator injury in the infield, Dietrich led the field back to green with Swindell and Hodnett in tow. The trio raced in clean air until traffic reappeared on lap 27, allowing Swindell to close in on Dietrich for one final lunge. Dietrich was too strong in traffic, eventually separating himself from Swindell with two lapped cars just before the final checkers. The final margin of victory was nearly two seconds.
“We love when guys like Rico [Abreu] and Tony [Stewart] come to race with us in Central PA. It is good for the sport and it is good for the tracks in this area,” Dietrich explained. “I knew Rico was going to be good, but we were really good around the bottom. Lucky for me, I have a lot of experience at this place and know what I have to do to get around it. This isn’t my kind of track surface tonight, but we were pretty fast all night. We’ll take this and move forward.”
Danny Dietrich, Sammy Swindell, Greg Hodnett, Lance Dewease, Lucas Wolfe, Chad Kemenah, Brian Montieth, Tim Shaffer, Mark Smith, Trey Starks, Ryan Smith, Dale Blaney, Freddie Rahmer, T.J. Stutts, Cory Haas, Tony Stewart, Tyler Esh, Caleb Hlems, Matt Campbell, Anthony Macri, Rico Abreu, Chad Trout, Brandon Spithaler, Alan Krimes, Max Stambaugh.