(Oct. 14, 2016) – The rescheduled World of Outlaws vs. the Pennsylvania Posse National Open at Williams Grove Speedway finally went into the record books tonight. Postponed from Sept. 29-Oct. 1 because of rain, tonight’s 40-lap feature was a stand-alone event that paid $25,000 to the winner and $1,000 to start.
With 48 cars in the pits tonight, qualifying was divided into two flights. Dave Blaney, a seven-time winner at Williams Grove, hustled the Motter Equpment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop 71M to a 16.413-second lap around the famous paperclip-shaped track, grabbing the No. 3 qualifying spot in flight one.
Blaney rolled off from the outside of the front row in the first heat. When the green flag flew, Blaney vaulted to the lead and never looked back. He maintained a comfortable lead throughout the eight laps, crossing the finish line with more than a two-second lead over second place Donny Schatz. Blaney earned a starting spot in the dash as well as the A Main.
In a straight-up dash start, Blaney would have occupied the pole, but the ‘four’ ping pong ball was pulled in the inversion draw, putting him fourth for the green flag start. Polesitter Joey Saldana paced the field as the dash went green, followed by Brad Sweet, David Gravel, Donny Schatz and Blaney. The top five did not change position throughout the six-lap race. They finished the way they would start the 40-lap National Open, an event that was won 50 years ago by Dave and Dale Blaney’s Dad, Lou.
The Outlaws occupied the first four starting positions of the A Main. When the field was unleashed, polesitter Joey Saldana took the lead looking for his first National Open victory and his 100th World of Outlaws win. There was a lot of shuffling in the top 10 throughout the race and Saldana briefly lost the lead on laps 15 and 27. Danny Dietrich, who started sixth, was a formidable opponent, keeping the pressure on the Brownsburg Bullet. Dietrich was able to steal the lead on lap 39, crossing the finish line first one lap later to bring home a Posse victory. Saldana was second and Brad Sweet was third.
Blaney was running in the top 10 for more than half the race but spun on lap 26. He finished 22nd after doing so well in qualifying, the heat and the dash.
Atmospheric conditions were good at Williams Grove and the track was sticky and fast, but it was tough to pass. There were reports during the heat races that the air quality was so good that cars were using nearly a gallon of methanol per lap. There was a yellow flag incident during the feature on lap 23 that morphed into a red flag stop for fuel only.
The Motter Equipment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop team will be back in action tomorrow night (Saturday) at Port Royal Speedway.
# # #