Dewease rallies past Schatz for preliminary feature victory

MECHANICSBURG — Lance Dewease passed Donny Schatz with five laps to go and went on to win the Summer Nationals preliminary feature for the sprint cars Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.

The win was worth a base pay of $8,000, plus a $5,000 bonus for the winning the Morgan Cup which was postponed in May by rain, plus he became Williams Grove’s winningest sprint car driver with his 91st career win breaking his tie with Fred Rahmer.

“It feels great to be in victory lane and beat Schatz,” Dewease said. “He’s a hell of a good racer. One of the best to ever drive these cars. He races you as clean as anybody. I hope my pass on him was as clean as he races all of us. My whole team does a great job. I might be leading this list, but I raced against the guy that was leading the list and he was tough around this place. If it wasn’t for racing against him all of these years, I don’t know if we’d be as good as we are.”

Schatz started second and grabbed the race lead from polesitter Lucas Wolfe. Schatz streaked away over Wolfe, Lance Dewease and Greg Hodnett.

The yellow flew with three laps completed when Ian Madsen stopped in turn four.

Schatz picked the inside lane for the double-file restart.

Dewease blasted under Wolfe in turns three and four taking over second following the restart. Hodnett also passed Wolfe one lap later.

Dewease began to close. Schatz’s lead was less than one second with 10 laps completed as they approached slower traffic.

Schatz maintained the lead at the half-way point by .877.

Smoke poured from Sheldon Haudenschild’s car bringing out the yellow flag with 16 laps completed. Schatz’s lead had increased to .961 before the yellow.

A few cars got together on the restart bringing out the yellow again. A single-file restart ensued.

Dewease ducked under Schatz as they raced into turn one on the restart, but couldn’t complete the slider as Schatz had too much momentum off the cushion.

The race was slowed again after one lap when Jacob Allen stopped in turn one. Schatz picked the outside line for the restart.

Once again, Schatz controlled the restart keeping Dewease in second. One more lap was completed before the yellow flew again.

Schatz went low to block Dewease’s slider on the restart. Dewease got a great run at him down the backstretch. It was close coming down the frontstretch and Dewease put a slider on Schatz in turn one taking the lead.

“Once you got going, everybody was about the same speed,” Dewease said. “Every restart, I got a little better off of four. I knew sooner or later, if I got a nose under him, he might come down, and I was waiting on that, and he did, and I got a run at him down the backstretch and he came down again to block and I got a big run at him. It’s an honor to win this race.”

Montieth challenged Schatz over the final five laps for the runner-up spot.

Dewease’s final margin of victory was 1.201 over Schatz and Montieth.

“It was a fun race,” Schatz said. “When you come around here and you’re racing Lance for the win, I guess you’ve got things right. There’s no excuses. He beat us. I didn’t expect the race track to get that slick and the cushion to move that much. It was a little bit better. It’s fun to race like that. I was hanging there at the end. The last restart, I didn’t get going real well and had to start moving around on the race track and used up my tires a little bit.”

Hodnett and Logan Schuchart completed the top five. Wolfe, David Gravel, Brad Sweet, Daryn Pittman and Shane Stewart rounded out the top 10.

Montieth set fast time over the 31-car field with a lap of 16.666. Trey Starks, Dewease and Hodnett won the heat races. Cory Haas won the Last Chance Showdown.