ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. — Local hero Lance Dewease thrilled the Pennsylvania fans by winning Wednesday night’s Gettysburg Clash presented by Drydene at Lincoln Speedway.
It was the Sprint Car Hall of Famer’s 16th World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory.
“It’s means everything,” Dewease said about claiming his first World of Outlaws win of the season. “It’s a good rivalry (between the World of Outlaws and PA Posse). To me it’s friendly. It’s not like we hate each other, but we want to beat each other pretty bad.”
Dewease showed how bad he wanted to win Wednesday night, wrestling with David Gravel all night.
Both won their respective Drydene Heat race and started on the front row for the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Gravel won the battle in the dash, passing Dewease on the high side and charging to the win. The start to the 35-lap was déjà vu with Gravel charging back to the lead.
The Watertown, Conn., native pulled to about a two-car length lead over Dewease at the start and was able to maintain it while navigating through lap traffic in the early stage of the race.
Gravel was poised to claim his third win of the season, able to maintain the lead no matter what line he chose. Although, in similar fashion, no matter which line Dewease chose to run, he could keep Gravel close enough in sight that if the No. 41 Jason Johnson Racing car made a mistake, he would be ready to capitalize.
And that mistake came with 17 laps to go. After sticking to the high side most of the race, Gravel tried the bottom through turns one and two. It didn’t work for him this time. He slid off the bottom, dramatically slowing his pace and allowing Dewease an easy pass to the lead.
“I knew sooner or later we would have to be on the bottom,” Dewease said. “I made my mind up I was going to go to the bottom, and he went at the same time, but he didn’t stay there. He slid up and crossed and I got by him, which meant everything to me. I just made sure I didn’t mess up in lapped traffic.”
While Dewease weaved through traffic seeming to know where each car would be before he got to them, the lap cars didn’t always cooperate. One came close to ending Dewease’s night, leaving centimeters between he and Deweases car off turn two.
“Lapped cars were really hard for both David and me,” Dewease said. “So, that last caution with six laps to go I decided I wasn’t going to catch any lap cars if I didn’t have to.”
He didn’t. After a couple of late race cautions, the Fayetteville, Pa.-native cruised with ease to another victory.
The late-race cautions were of no benefit to Gravel.
After hitting the restart cone during one of the restarts, Gravel said he tried to just protect his second-place position, but ended up losing it to Ryan Smith and had to settle for third.
“I’m disappointed I lost second,” Gravel said. “I wish I hadn’t made the mistakes I did. It’s part of racing.”
Dewease’s win marks the first-round win for the PA Posse in the Series’ Pennsylvania swing this month. The World of Outlaws will make its next trip Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, to Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. for the Morgan Cup.
As Dewease stood in victory lane, hundreds of fans chanted, “Posse! Posse! Posse!”
“It’s great to get this week started off good and hopefully if I can’t win Friday or Saturday somebody else does,” Dewease said. “It’s a neat fanbase. We have the best fans in the world as far as I’m concerned. They love our racing. They come out in rain and snow. So, we’re pretty fortunate.”
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