Hodnett wins Outlaw race
MECHANICSBURG – Greg Hodnett drove by Joey Saldana after a lap-15 restart and went on to win the World of Outlaws sprint car main event Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.
His second Grove win of the season and 13th against the Outlaws was worth $8,000 in a car owned by Mike Heffner.
“The double-file restarts helped us tonight,” Hodnett said. “I had been trying the bottom and middle a couple of times throughout the night and I got a good down the frontstretch off the bottom on the restart and tried not to slip the tires. I got under Joey enough to keep moving him up to get a good, clean run off the bottom.”
Saldana’s top line was the fast way around early.
“Sooner or later, you have to be able to run somewhere besides the top,” Hodnett said. “The top was so good and you didn’t move off of it until you had to. We were fortunate to be able to run anywhere. We could be last tomorrow, but we’ll take today. We’ve been trying different things on the car and I think we might have found a combination. We’ll make the most of this one tonight because you never know when you’ll get another one.”
Saldana started on the pole and jumped into the lead at the start of the 25-lap main event and streaked away from the field.
Brent Marks put a slider on Justin Barger in turns three and four and moved into the runner-up spot with 10 laps completed. Fourth-starting Hodnett would also get by Barger and into third.
Marks immediately began to close on the leader. In only two laps, Marks cut Saldana’s 3.5 second lead in half.
Saldana switched to the bottom lane, while Marks stayed on the cushion and closed even more. Hodnett also closed.
Marks was on Saldana’s bumper as they crossed the line to complete lap 15.
Saldana went to the bottom of turn one and Marks nearly got into the back of him and got crossed-up.
The red flag would interrupt the battle for the lead when Cody Darrah and King’s Royal winner Kerry Madsen crashed on the frontstretch with Madsen’s car tipping over.
The double-file restart showed Saldana picking the inside lane with Marks to his outside.
Saldana got a good run off the inside of turn four and led down the frontstretch. Hodnett got under Marks in turn one and take the second spot.
Saldana went to the top on the next lap and Hodnett went to the bottom and drove by Saldana off the second turn and into the lead.
Hodnett led under the flagstand to complete lap 17 as Daryn Pittman was up to fifth.
Hodnett pulled Saldana off turn two and began to increase his lead. Marks would drive by Saldana and into second.
A wild race was going on for the fifth spot between Stewart, Pittman and Paul McMahan.
Marks began to close on Hodnett over the final laps, but settled for second as Hodnett scored the win by .426 seconds. Saldana settled for third as Stewart and Pittman won out in the battle for fourth and fifth.
“To come from eighth to second is pretty awesome in an Outlaw race,” Marks said. “I was able to ride the cushion hard and get some speed and get runs on those guys. I really didn’t need that red. I had a great car all night. I screwed up on that last restart trying to get a run on Joey and stumbled my motor. I wish we would have got to lapped traffic a little sooner because I was right on his (Hodnett’s) bumper at the end and wanted to try and throw one last slider.”
“I was pretty good way too soon,” Saldana said. “To win these races, you have to be good at the end, not at the beginning. We missed it a little bit, but you have to learn from your mistakes.”
McMahan, Brian Montieth, Lucas Wolfe, Donny Schatz and Stevie Smith completed the top 10.
Wolfe set fast time over the 45-car field with a lap of 16.893.
Ryan Taylor drove by Steve Kinser on the final lap to win the first heat race. Hodnett won the second heat after moving to the front row when Montieth scratched with engine issues.
Barger held off Saldana to win the third heat race.
Marks beat defending Outlaws champion Pittman to win heat four.
Ryan Smith won the C-main. Saldana won the dash. Brad Sweet won the B-main.
The Summer Nationals concludes tonight at the Grove with $20,000 going to the feature winner.