|Date: 7/30/2016 1:10:35 PM|
For Immediate Release:
Contact Dean Reynolds: DeanR@empiresupersprints.com
Hodnett Claims Lelands.com Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway
Kicks Off Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend with $4,000 win
By MIKE MALLETT
MECHANICSBURG, PA - July 29, 2016 - Greg Hodnett got the first ever Mid-Atlantic Championship off on a positive note as he led all 25-laps of the Lelands.com Nationals at the Williams Grove Speedway to claim his third consecutive United Racing Club win at the speedway. Hodnett earned $4,000 for his efforts in a race that was run in conjunction with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints.
“This is a great payoff,” stated Hodnett. “Thanks to Lelands.com and Williams Grove for having URC here again. I’m very thankful to be standing here. It means a lot to be able to come out here and run a 360 for that kind of money. It actually paid more than the 410 did. We are very fortunate to have great races and very blessed to be with a car owner that lets us race as much as we do.”
Hodnett started on the pole with current URC point leader Davie Franek on the outside. Hodnett dove to the bottom in turns one and two to snag the lead on lap one. Hodnett held onto the top spot as the race was brought under red for the only time on lap two for Mark Smith who coasted to a stop in turn four. A malfunction in the light box caused the red lights to come on.
A new partner moved to the outside of Hodnett for the double-file restart as Aaron Ott had moved up fourth to take second on the opening circuit on the high-side. Like the initial start, Hodnett shot low to remain the leader over Ott.
Hodnett quickly put a gap between himself and Ott. By lap nine, Hodnett was in traffic with Ott nearly a half-straightaway behind searching for a quicker lane on the historic half-mile. Nothing seemed to work as Hodnett continued to be flawless in traffic extending the lead.
His lead vanished on lap 12 as Mark Sasso spun in turn four with front-end damage on his No. 706. At that point another double-file restart was called for. Like the first two, Hodnett hunkered down on the bottom going into the first turn to stay in the lead. Ott on the other had his hands full with ninth starting Chuck Hebing. Hebing had steadily moved up through the field into third prior to the restart.
“It was kind of starting to take rubber in one and two right on the very bottom,” mentioned Hodnett. “I figured if I could just get there and keep momentum where the top wouldn’t come back around, I’d be alright. I just had to get the jump on the guys coming down the straightaway to have the preferred line going into one.”
Hebing continued to hound Ott as Hodnett paced the field. He finally used a slide job to take second in turns one and two on lap 14 allowing him to set his sights on Hodnett. Like before, Hodnett had amassed a sizable advantage which Hebing was forced to attempt to overcome.
As the laps clicked higher Hodnett was required to deal with slower cars at the back of the field. Hodnett remained patient as he looked for opportunities to make passes. His patience allowed Hebing to close the gap on him as the race reached the final stages.
Hodnett was stuck behind a pair of cars battling for position with very few open lanes. On lap 21 it seemed his patience wore off and Hodnett darted between the duo to put them both down a lap. This proved to be the move of the race it put distance and traffic between himself and Hebing.
Hodnett captured the win by 3.9 seconds over Hebing, of Ontario, N.Y., who settled for second. The win makes Hodnett eligible for the $10,000 Lelands.com bonus if he can capture all three main-events as part of the weekend.
“It’s going to be extremely tough,” said Hodnett when asked about the possible bonus. “If you are a betting man I don’t know if you could do all three. Hey, we got the first leg and that’s important. We’ll continue to strive for something else. It’s going to be really tough over the next couple of days.”
For Hebing it was a bit of redemption as the Empire Super Sprint regular had engine issues the last time he raced at Williams Grove. He had a strong car on this night and kept hoping for a caution once he had moved into the second spot. Even though he didn’t get the chance to challenge Hodnett, he was happy to finish second.
“The car was really good where I could float through the middle,” commented Hebing. “I just tried to catch that brown spot coming off, kind of like at home in the slippery stuff. I had to slow down a lot. I thought I was faster running the top in three and four. I should have stuck with that. Lapped cars went alright for me. It was good, like I said, to run Williams Grove like that is good.”
Ott, of East Berlin, Pa., settled for third with his No. 25. Following Ott to the checkered was Robbie Stillwaggon in fourth and Davie Franek in fifth.
The Mid-Atlantic Championship shifts north on Saturday to the Selinsgrove Speedway as the 360 Sprint Cars teams compete in the Mach 1 National Open for a chance at $10,000. Visit www.selinsgrovespeedway.com for more information. The final stop of the weekend on Sunday is at the Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y., for the Gates-Cole Insurance/Averdi Storage Containers Cole Cup which is also worth $10,000. Information for that event can be found at www.uticaromespeedway.com.
WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY UNITED RACING CLUB/EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT A-MAIN FINISH (25-LAPS): 1. Greg Hodnett 2. Chuck Hebing 3. Aaron Ott 4. Robbie Stillwaggon 5. Davie Franek 6. Josh Weller 7. Lucas Wolfe 8. Curt Michael 9. Kyle Reinhardt 10. Jason Shultz 11. Eric Tomecek 12. Adam Carberry 13. Davey Sammons 14. Steve Poirier 15. Jimmy Stitzel 16. Paulie Colagiovanni 17. Larry Kelleher 18. Chris Arnold 19. Troy Betts 20. Keith Prutzman 21. Troy Wagaman Jr. 22. Jordan Thomas 23. Rob Dietrick 24. Jason Clauss (DNF) 25. Jeff Cook (DNF) 26. Mark Sasso (DNF) 27. Mark Smith (DNF)
DID NOT QUALIFY: Glendon Forsythe, Derrick Juliano, Nyle Berkes, Derek Locke, Jason Cherry, Brie Hershey, George Suprick
HEAT WINNERS: Hodnett, Franek, Carberry, Ott
B-MAIN WINNER: Thomas
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