Special win for Dewease at the Grove

MECHANICSBURG – Winning at Williams Grove Speedway has always meant a lot to Lance Dewease.

His latest win, though, was extra special.

Not only was it Dewease’s 300th career sprint car win, but it came with a $20,000 payday for winning the World of Outlaws-sanctioned Summer Nationals Saturday night. It was the first Outlaw and Grove win for the Dietz Motorsports team.

“This place means a lot to me,” Dewease said. “I love winning here and beating the Outlaws makes it all the sweeter. It’s a good rivalry. They have great racers. We have great racers. That’s what makes this so special.”

Dewease, who broke a 14-month winless drought at the Grove, had to wait until early Sunday morning as rain delayed the racing program for about three hours. He took the checkers around 1:30 a.m.

The win wasn’t easy. Dewease had to pass early leader Lucas Wolfe and then hold off five-time Outlaws champion Donny Schatz for his 81st career Grove win.

“I had to run the top,” Dewease said. “That was the only place I was any good. I was trying to time my lapped cars, so I would get good runs going into one so I could fly them. I had to watch myself a little bit and I guess I backed off a little bit too much and let Donny try to slide me. I was pretty good in one and two and I knew it was going to take a really good race car to beat me in the open.”

Wolfe started second and grabbed the early race lead over Dewease and Shane Stewart. The red flag flew with two laps completed when Dave Blaney flipped in turn four.

Dewease, a six-time Williams Grove champion, closed on Wolfe while Donny Schatz passed Stewart for third on the front stretch. The caution flag flew for the spinning cars of Brent Marks and Kraig Kinser.

Wolfe raced just below the cushion and Dewease tried to pass him on the outside. Schatz, meanwhile, was right there trying to make the bottom groove work. Wolfe led lap seven with Dewease and Schatz breathing down his neck. Dewease drove under Wolfe in turn three and slid into the lead on lap nine. The next time around, Schatz drove under Wolfe to take second.

“I could carry a lot of speed through one and two and I was trying to find a way to get by Lucas without showing him my nose and making him change his line,” Dewease said. “We were fortunate to do it.”

Kinser blew an engine on lap 18. The red flag was displayed because flames erupted from the car. Schatz spun in the fluid from Kinser’s car in turn four, but never stopped and maintained second for the restart.

“We tightened it back up a little bit,” Dewease said. “I didn’t want to get too crazy with it. It was a lot better for about five laps, but the longer we run, it gets a little looser.”

Dewease drove through the middle of turn one and streaked away from Schatz on a very fast racing surface thanks to the rain.

Schatz began to close with three laps to go. He ducked under Dewease in turn three, but couldn’t clear the pass as they raced to the white flag.

Dewease cleared Chad Layton in turns one and two to keep Schatz behind him. That gave him the advantage he needed as he scored the monumental win.

Schatz, Wolfe, Darrah and Alan Krimes completed the top five.

“I thought we were going to get another run on him on the last lap, but he cleared a lapped car and I didn’t so that’s just the way it worked out,” Schatz said.

Wolfe salvaged a third place with a tight racecar.

“With the rain, we didn’t know exactly what the track was going to do,” he said. “I just wasn’t good enough. The open red saved me and we were able to work on it a little bit and salvage third.”

Donnie Kreitz set fast time over the 44-car field with a lap of 16.757 seconds. Dewease, Krimes, Darrah and Stewart won the eight-lap heat races. Ryan Taylor won the C-main. Dewease won the dash. Blaney won the B-main.