Hodnett Closing In on Weikert Memorial Perfection with Sunday Win
PORT ROYAL, Pa. (May 29, 2016) – Greg Hodnett used a late race restart to make a two-car pass and sweep into the lead and win worth $10,000 in Sunday night’s second round of the 2016 Port Royal Speedway Bob Weikert Memorial Sprint Car Series.
The victory was the second for Hodnett at the speedplant in 24 hours after he took round on worth $5,000 on Saturday night to start the three-day show that ends on Memorial Day evening.
In the 25-lap URC sprint main, Sunbury’s Mark Smith powered to the victory worth $3,000.
Lucas Wolfe led the first lap of the 35-lap 410-sprint car main from the pole but couldn’t hold off second starter Steve Buckwalter who took command on the second tour as David Gravel, Lance Dewease and Hodnett raced in the top five.
Hodnett never advanced until the 12th lap when he worked by Dewease for fourth. He then overtook Gravel for third three laps later.
And just as Hodnett took over third, Wolfe pulled off an inside third turn pass in traffic to take over the helm of the event from Buckwalter.
Dewease saw a burst of speed develop at the halfway point of the 35-lapper as he again got in front of Hodnett, this time for third but Hodnett returned the favor with 15 laps to go to again claim the spot.
Hodnett was doing his best to stay ahead of Dewease as the latter worked the inside with Hodnett on top.
Meanwhile, leader Wolfe was working hectic traffic that allowed the top four cars to gather within striking distance of one another as the pace became dizzying and the leaders darted inside and out to clear the backmarkers.
Dewease appeared to be surging late in the event when he suddenly came up lame, dropping off of the pace and stopping on the backstretch, setting up a restart after the lone event caution period on lap 27.
Not within reach of the lead before the yellow, the restart played into Hodnett’s hands as he ducked under Buckwalter for second as the field blasted into the first corner.
Hodnett then raced with Buckwalter through turn two before pulling ahead on the backstretch only to close up on Wolfe for the lead.
The Memphis native then darted underneath Wolfe as the pair set their cars into the third turn to drive up out of the fourth corner with a command he wouldn’t relinquish after making a two-car pass during the lap to seal the deal.
Hodnett’s margin of victory was 1.420 seconds ahead of a surging Danny Dietrich who had started 12th.
Dietrich was up to fifth on the restart and drove by Gravel, Buckwalter and Wolfe during the closing circuits to finish a promising second.
Third went to Wolfe with Gravel taking fourth and 20th starter Brent Marks blasting home in fifth.
Marks earned the Hard Charger Award and a guaranteed starting spot in Monday’s finale.
Sixth through 10th went to Dale Blaney, Ryan Smith, Buckwalter, Doug Esh and Stevie Smith.
Heats for the 34-car field went to Hodnett, Gravel, Dewease and Dylan Cisney with Ryan Smith taking the consolation race.
Greg Hodnett leads the Weikert Memorial series points going into the final race on Monday with 350 points over Gravel, Wolfe, Dietrich and Esh.
Smith set fast time in qualifications with a lap of 16.639 seconds.
Josh Weller drove from fourth into the lead on the first lap of the URC sprint feature with ninth starter Mark Smith already up to second on the third lap.
Smith wasted little time getting the lead, overtaking Weller on the fifth tour for the point.
Doing double duty on the night as was several drivers, Greg Hodnett was up to third as the field worked through traffic when he blew a left rear tire on the 11th loop, slowing the pace.
Smith had Eric Tomecek in pursuit for the restart but the rest of the field was no match for Smith’s racer as he took the victory going away, winning by 4.740 seconds over Tomecek.
Matt Campbell was third followed by Adam Carberry and 17th starter Steve Buckwalter.
Sixth through 10th went to Davie Franek, Curt Michael, TJ Stutts, Robbie Stillwaggon and Lucas Wolfe.
Heats for the 39 URC sprints went to Stillwaggon, Hodnett, Tomecek and Franek with Aaron Ott scoring the consolation.
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(Jack Kromer photo)
410 sprints, 30 laps: 1. Greg Hodnett, 2. Danny Dietrich, 3. Lucas Wolfe, 4. David Gravel, 5. Brent Marks, 6. Dale Blaney, 7. Ryan Smith, 8. Steve Buckwalter, 9. Doug Esh, 10. Stevie Smith, 11. Mike Wagner, 12. Aaron Ott, 13. Trey Starks, 14. Brock Zearfoss, 15. Dylan Cisney, 16. TJ Stutts, 17. Mike Erdley, 18. Ryan Taylor, 19. Pat Cannon, 20. Blane Heimbach. 21. Mark Smith, 22. Billy Dietrich, 23. Lance Dewease, 24. Logan Wagner
DNQ: Tim Shaffer, Kody Lehman, Wayne Dadetto, Joey Hershey, Cale Grubb, Curt Stroup, AJ Flick, Danny Holtgraver, Carl Bowser, Tyler Bear, Mike Walter II.
URC Sprints, 25 laps: 1. Mark Smith, 2. Eric Tomecek, 3. Matt Campbell, 4. Adam Carberry, 5. Steve Buckwalter, 6. Davie Franek, 7. Curt Michael, 8. TJ Stutts, 9. Robbie Stillwaggon, 10. Lucas Wolfe, 11. Jason Shultz, 12. Doug Hammaker, 13. Ryan Kissinger, 14. Jim Shuster, 15. Ed Aiken, 16. Troy Betts, 17. Derek Locke, 18. Justin Barger, 19. Jared Esh, 20. Mark Sasso, 21. Randy West, 22. phil Walter, 23. Josh Weller, 24. Greg Hodnett
DNQ: Cody Keller, Keith Prutzman, Larry Kelleher, Justin Whittal, Brent Shearer, Will Eggimann, Jim Stitzel, Rob Deitrick, Steve Collins, Jordan Thomas, Mallie Shuster, JR Berry, Nate Snyder, Aaron Ott