Dewease Stops Schatz In Epic Grove Battle

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Lance Dewease (69k) battles Donny Schatz at Williams Grove Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)
Lance Dewease (69k) battles Donny Schatz at Williams Grove Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — The battle for the Morgan Cup at Williams Grove Speedway Saturday night was a title match of epic proportions between the World of Outlaws and Pennsylvania Posse.

In the end, Pennsylvania veteran Lance Dewease, who started on the pole, held off 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz to win the 30-lap Morgan Cup.

Driving Don Kreitz Jr.’s No. 69k, it was Dewease’s second WoO victory in four days and the 17thof his career.

Schatz got the first punch, jumping to the lead at the start of the race. From there, Schatz set a pace Dewease couldn’t match.

“The pace we were trying to run, we were going to be hard on tires at that whole 30 laps,” Dewease said about Schatz’s early run. “But hell, I wasn’t too easy with them.”

Schatz’s early lead didn’t last long, though. On lap two, Logan Schuchart stopped on the frontstretch due to an ignition box issue. The caution allowed the two front runners a quick rest to gauge their early run.

When the green flag waved, Schatz jumped back to the lead. Dewease kept pace with him, though.

“I was shocked how good I hung with him there on the bottom,” Dewease said. “I thought we’d be alright if I could get by him (Schatz). He knows how to get around here when it’s slick.”

Like Dewease predicted, once he got in six consecutive laps, his car took off. While Schatz rode the high side, Dewease found enough grip on the bottom to wear out Schatz’s lead. By that time the two leaders entered lap traffic, which proved to be an advantage for Dewease.

Schatz struggled to navigate around lap traffic, allowing Dewease to plan the attack he needed on lap 17 to take the lead.

“It just came down to getting through lap traffic,” Schatz said. “I got to the 70 car and I didn’t push the issue, to go across the race car and go in front of him and I didn’t do it. It got me in a funk for a few laps and Lance got by. I got myself back going, but it was too late.”

Dewease then cruised to his second win in four days, after winning Wednesday’s night race at Lincoln Speedway.

“This rivalry is pretty intense,” Dewease said. “It goes back a long way. We’re some of the few areas that can consistently win against these (Outlaws) guys. We were very fortunate to get it done tonight and keep the cup for another year. Beating Donny is always special because he gets around this place so good.”

While Schatz accepted his defeat, having to settle for second, he laid down a further challenge for the PA Posse fans.

“I hear all of that Posse chant, and I love that,” Schatz said. “Come August, I’m pretty sure he’s (Dewease) going to win the money to go to the Knoxville Nationals, so there’s going to be no damn reason every person in this place isn’t at the Knoxville Nationals watching it.”

While Schatz and Dewease put on a show at the front of the field, California-native Giovanni Scelzi was the show of the race behind them.

Scelzi won the C Main, transferring to the rear of the 12-car Last Chance Showdown, where he finished fourth. He then romped from 24thto finish seventh in the feature.

“Just qualified bad, and when you do that it puts you behind the eight-ball,” Scelzi said. “We just kept trucking in the Feature and kept going and going and going. I wish we had a yellow. I think we had something to get back in the top-five.”

Scelzi won his first Series victory at Williams Grove last year, becoming the youngest World of Outlaws winner at 16 years old.

“I just seem to have some natural speed,” Scelzi said, “I don’t know where it comes from. Seems to be a place I’m comfortable at.”

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