Schatz Slips Past Hodnett in Final Corner, Wins Williams Grove Thriller
Defending champ drives to fourth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Victory of ’13
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – May 17, 2013 – Donny Schatz caught and passed Greg Hodnett in the final corner on Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway to win his fourth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event of the season in thrilling fashion.
Schatz, who started 12th, picked off series points leader Daryn Pittman and two of Pennsylvania’s fiercest competitors, Fred Rahmer and Hodnett, over the final three laps to win at the historic central Pennsylvania venue for the 17th time in his career.
The lead was never safe in the 25-lap feature event. Paul McMahan started on the pole and led the first 10 laps before Hodnett worked his way to the front to complete Lap 11 just as caution came out. Hodnett tried to pull away on the restart but McMahan, Rahmer and Pittman stayed in close pursuit. It looked as if the vaunted PA Posse with Hodnett and Rahmer was going to deal the Outlaws their second consecutive defeat in as many nights before Schatz ran them both down on the last lap, surprising Rahmer by going to the outside in turns 1 and 2, then setting up Hodnett in turn 3, passing under him in turn 4 and charging down the long front stretch to absolutely stun the huge crowd.
“Man to lead the last lap is important and I got Greg at just the right time, he went to the bottom to protect it and I wasn’t about to lose that way,” said Schatz, driver of the Tony Stewart Racing STP/Armor All J&J. “I gave it everything I had tonight, it worked. A lot of nights it doesn’t.”
It definitely was working for Schatz, who has now finished first or second in each of the past three World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series events as he chases his sixth series championship.
“When my tires were cold I thought I could keep momentum around the top, then those guys showed me the bottom,” said Hodnett, driver of the Trone Outdoor Maxim. “I knew I needed to slow down and put the right rear back under the wing and hopefully it rotated and got a decent shot off. Donny was just able to run way harder than we were so, you know, just chalk it up to experience.”
Rahmer, the legendary leader of the PA Posse who is experiencing a bit of a resurgence on the Pennsylvania dirt tracks this season, looked at times as if he was going to be the man to beat, but Pittman, Hodnett and eventually Schatz were able to do just enough to hold him back.
“Our car wasn’t as good as it needed to be, you can’t drop the ball at all with these guys,” said Rahmer, driver of the Truline Contractors XXX machine. “We came home third and hopefully we can come back and just make the show [on Saturday] to start and just get a little better, I’ve got to drive a little better, the guys did a good job on the car, just a little off and you can’t do that on a show like this.”
Pittman, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship leader, etched his 15th top-five finish this season with his fourth-place run after setting quick time.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series returns Saturday night to Williams Grove Speedway where the feature event will determine where the Morgan Cup trophy will reside the remainder of 2013. The traveling trophy goes to the organization represented by the highest finishing Outlaw or PA Posse racer in Saturday’s A-main. The past two seasons, a dash determined the Morgan Cup winner, with Jason Sides and Steve Kinser earning victories that let the trophy find a home in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series office in North Carolina.