Hodnett Opens Weikert Memorial in Victory Lane
PORT ROYAL, Pa. (May 28, 2016) – Greg Hodnett drove from the sixth starting spot to overtake Lucas Wolfe and win round one of the three-day Bob Weikert Memorial for sprint cars on Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway, taking a $5,000 victory in the Fallen Heroes Championship.
It was Hodnett’s third victory of the season at the track.
Only one caution flag slowed the 30-lap sprint car feature and that didn’t occur until lap 25.
However during the pace laps before the initial green, the red flag unfurled for Anthony Fiore who flipped in the first corner.
Wolfe rocketed into the lead from the pole when green flag action began, followed on the first lap by fourth starter Brock Zearfoss along with Danny Dietrich.
Hodnett began his advances early in the race, getting by Doug Esh for fourth on the third lap and then battling by Dietrich for third a lap later.
However Esh and Dietrich fought hard for the spots and both had again gotten back around Hodnett on lap five.
That only seemed to motivate Hodnett however as he would regroup to again march forward as the race continued with Wolfe having entered the backmarkers on the sixth tour.
Dietrich slipped backward on the eighth tour, giving way to invader David Gravel aboard the Clemens No. 5.
Meanwhile Hodnett was again up to fourth and he again got by Esh, this time for third on the 11th circuit.
Wolfe had built up a large lead at the front but Hodnett consistently cut into the advantages of the front duo to fly by Zearfoss for second with 16 laps to go.
Hodnett did his best work early in the night low off of the second turn but it was dives through the third turn that would net him second and the lead as he drove in and then across the track with 12 to go to get by Wolfe and take command.
Gravel started fifth in the event and steadily advanced to be running third as Hodnett took the lead.
He then got by Wolfe on the 19th tour and began a pursuit of the new leader.
Eighth starter Lance Dewease was the next driver to flex his muscle, beginning a march into contention around the halfway point to be sitting fifth with 10 laps to go.
Three laps later, just before the lone caution of the race, Dewease chugged into third behind Gravel.
The restart with five laps to go took place with a lapped car separating Hodnett and Gravel and another between Gravel and Dewease.
This prevented either challenger from getting a clear shot at Hodnett and that allowed Hodnett to get away and cruise unchallenged to the checkers.
Hodnett took the win by 1.023 seconds over Gravel with Dewease third followed by Wolfe and Esh.
Sixth through 10th went to Zearfoss, Dietrich, Ryan Smith, Aaron Ott and Pat Cannon.
Ott earned the $200 Hard Charger award for his drive from 23rd to ninth and also earned a guaranteed starting spot in Sunday nights second round of the three-race Weikert series.
Heats for the 34-car field went to Esh, Mike Wagner, Hodnett and Dietrich with the consolation race going to Joey Hershey.
(Photo courtesy of George Spigelmyer)
410 sprints, 30 laps: 1. Greg Hodnett, 2. David Gravel, 3. Lance Dewease, 4. Lucas Wolfe, 5. Doug Esh, 6. Brock Zearfoss, 7. Danny Dietrich, 8. Ryan Smith, 9. Aaron Ott, 10. Pat Cannon, 11. Mike Wagner, 12. Logan Wagner, 13. Dylan Cisney, 14. Ryan Taylor, 15. Steve Buckwalter, 16. Brent Marks, 17. Curt Stroup, 18. AJ Flick, 19. Davey Sammons, 20. Blane Heimbach, 21. Wayne Dadetto, 22. Tim Shaffer, 23. Joey Hershey, 24. Tyler Bear
DNQ: Mike Erdley, Mike Wagner II., Cale Grubb, Kody Lehman, Trenton Scheaffer, Carl Bowser, Troy Fraker, James Pryde, Daryl Stimeling, Anthony Fiore