McFadden gets first at Grove over Outlaws

Sentinel photo by TIM SHUMAKER
From left, Brent Marks, T.J. Stutts and Logan Schuchart race through turn one at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday.

MECHANICSBURG — Australian champion James McFadden scored his first career Williams Grove Speedway sprint car win, and his first career World of Outlaws win, in the second night of the Williams Grove National Open Friday night.

McFadden earned $10,000 for the win driving the Carlisle-based Highlands No. 3.

“It’s pretty amazing,” McFadden said. “I’ve never won on a half-mile. To win a race at William Grove in Pennsylvania. You grow up wanting to race here and do well and my first Outlaw win as well. It’s a surreal feeling right now. We’ve been trying a long time. It’s pretty crazy to stand on the front straight.”

The initial start of the 25-lap main event was red flagged when a rain shower hit the speedway. After a brief delay, the race resumed with McFadden starting on the pole and Greg Hodnett second.

The racing was close between the two as they went through turns one and two. McFadden led off turn two and down the back stretch.

Hodnett stayed close for a lap, but then McFadden began to pull away from Hodnett and third-place finisher Donny Schatz.

Danny Dietrich spun in turn three collecting Trey Starks and Brian Montieth. Jac Haudenschild hit Dietrich and flipped wildly stopping the race with three laps completed. No injuries were reported.

Dale Blaney got into the fourth turn fence on the ensuing restart.

McFadden controlled the restart driving away from Hodnett and Schatz. He led by 1.704 with seven laps completed. Shane Stewart passed Jason Johnson taking fifth.

McFadden began to lap cars with 10 laps completed. At the halfway point, he led by 1.502 seconds. He was closing on heavier slower traffic with 10 laps to go. Three cars were right in front of the leader as he led by 1.846 with eight to go.

McFadden struggled to lap Alan Krimes and Brian Brown, allowing Hodnett to close. Hodnett took a shot in turn three, but could only get next to McFadden. They continued to struggle with lapped cars. Schatz moved into contention nearly passing Hodnett off turn two.

“I knew Greg was going to throw something sooner or later,” McFadden said. “We just tried to keep our head. I nearly threw it away there. I thought (Brian) Brown was going to go to the top and he changed his mind at the last minute, and went to the bottom and I got into the back of him. I tried to be smart in traffic and we were lucky enough to get it done.”

McFadden finally cleared Krimes to secure the win by a scant .244 over Hodnett, Schatz, Brad Sweet and Stewart. Johnson, Ian Madsen, Lucas Wolfe, Kerry Madsen and David Gravel rounded out the top 10.

The 46-car field was split into two groups for qualifying time trials. Jason Sides set fast time at 16.976 in the first group. Lucas Wolfe set fast time in the second group with a lap of 17.048. Jason Johnson, McFadden, Wolfe, and Hodnett won the eight-lap heat races. Cory Haas won the C-main, McFadden the dash and Lance Dewease the Last Chance Showdown after dropping out of his heat race and then changing motors.

The postponed Summer Nationals feature was completed late Thursday night with Greg Hodnett driving a back-up car to the $20,000 win. Lucas Wolfe, Donny Schatz, Daryn Pittman and David Gravel completed the top five.

The $50,000 to win Williams Grove National Open will be tonight.