MECHANICSBURG - Sprint car racing has not been very kind to Aaron Ott the past two years, but he completed his comeback with a trip to victory lane at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night.
His first win at the historic track since 2010 was worth $3,600, plus $250 in lap money. It was his second career Grove win. A broken neck suffered in flips at the Grove took Ott off the track the past two years.
"This is one of the hardest places to win at because there are 24 good cars here," Ott said. "It has been forever since I've won here and it has been forever since we were half decent here. My whole crew gave me a great car. It's amazing and I'm super ecstatic. Williams Grove is the hardest track to race at and to win here is awesome."
Ott, of East Berlin, started on the pole and drove into the lead to start the 25-lap main event over Steve Buckwalter and Chad Layton. Lance Dewease and Greg Hodnett traded the fifth spot in turns three and four.
The first caution flag of the event flew with five laps completed when Ryan Wilson slowed off turn two and came to a stop.
Buckwalter tried to slide Ott on the restart, but couldn't clear the pass and fell into second. Dewease and Hodnett both moved up one spot after passing Gerard McIntyre Jr.
The caution flew again with eight laps completed when Kyle Moody spun in turn four.
Dewease shot under Layton in turn three looking for third. He would take the spot, but Layton turned back under him and would reclaim third off turn four.
Meanwhile, with 13 laps down, Buckwalter and Layton both closed on the leader. Hodnett drove by Dewease off turn two to take fourth and Danny Dietrich would take fifth. Ott would pull away from the field with eight laps to go.
Ott got held up by lapped traffic. Buckwalter was on Ott's bumper at the flagstand with five laps to go. As they entered turn three, Ott had a close call with a lapped car, but Buckwalter couldn't capitalize and Ott maintained the top spot.
Hodnett drove by Layton and into third with three laps to go. The 2012 track champion ran out of laps though as Ott would get the win over Buckwalter and Hodnett. Dietrich and Layton completed the top five.
Dewease, Brent Marks, point leader Fred Rahmer, Brian Montieth and Donnie Kreitz rounded out the top 10.
The remaining 16 laps of the 358 sprint car feature from Sept. 1 were completed to begin the program. Kevin Nouse inherited the lead when Adrian Shaffer's car broke with four laps to go and he went on to win his third feature of the season and extend his point lead. Austin Hogue, Chandler Leiby, Dale Hammaker and Derek Locke completed the top five.
In the second 358 sprint feature, it was Sunbury's Mark Smith taking the lead from Tyler Ross on a lap 15 restart. Smith would get the win over Ross, Hogue, early leader Brian Garland and Nathan Berwager. It was Smith's third win of the season.