Friday, May 31 - They say the third time is a charm and after suffering two consecutive rainouts in Indiana it was nice to experience a warm rainless evening in Central Pennsylvania. Pat arrived home right at 5:30 but by the time we were on the road again it was close to 3:45. To make it to Williams Grove by 7:30 would be a challenge but my right foot was up to the task. We considered diverting to Big Diamond but waved the idea off and continued west. By 7:40 we slid into the Williams Grove parking lot and exited the car. The good news was there was no sound of racing engines echoing from the track area but the bad news was that a few minutes later we heard the whine of a single 410 engine racing into turn one. Yes, the dreaded time trials were on tap tonight as last week’s time trial show was postponed. The other good news was that we had plenty of time to talk in, go to the bathroom, go through the concession line and settle into our seats before anything of importance occured.
By 8:05 Greg Hodnett in the Trone sponsored #39 set fast time over the 31 car field on hand which included rising star, Kyle Larson. The 358 sprint cars would qualify first with three heats scheduled for their 19 cars on hand. Three heats for 19 cars is stretching it and the women next to Pat put it best in the following conversation. Women: How many heats for the 358’s? Pat: Three. Women: How many qualify? Pat: All of them. Women: Then why bother? To me that is a valid question and with five in one and six in another on this large of a track it didn’t make for exciting racing. The three 410 sprint heats were next with Kyle Larson winning the first one, Steve Buckwalter running away in the second and Ryan Taylor looking strong in the third one. It was 9:01 and a short intermission followed (15 minutes) before the 410 sprint consie was on the track. Gerard McIntyre Jr. won this one and all qualifying was completed by 9:27.
It is William Grove’s policy to run the 410 sprint feature first so another slight delay was observed before the 25 lap 410 feature took the green flag at 9:49. The track was a little dry this evening and with that and the fact that the top six in time trials would be inverted led to a race where passing was at a minimum. Alan Krimes took off from the first starting position into the early lead. He built up a large lead until the first caution appeared on lap 9 for North Carolina’s Eric Riggins who was sitting against the fourth turn wall. Second starting Rick Lafferty applied the pressure to Krimes on the restart but Alan held sway. The second caution waved on lap 17 when three cars spun in turn four. Again on the restart Lafferty was all over Krimes with Fred Rahmer advancing from sixth to third on the restart (Rahmer has always been an excellent restarter) and looked like he might sweep by the top two also. But Krimes and Lafferty were able to hold off the impressive charge with Krimes flashing under the checkered flag at 10:11 for his third career win at Williams Grove onver Lafferty, Rahmer, Don Kreitz Jr. from 10th and Greg Hodnett. Positions six through ten were filled by Danny Dietrich, Lance Dewease, Brent Marks, Steve Buckwalter and Brian Montieth (dropped from 8th to 10th). You know the track was not at its finest when a gasser like Montieth cannot go anywhere in the feature. By the way Kyle Larson moved up three spots to finish 12th.
The 20 lap 358 sprint feature was still left to run and the green waved at 10:27 on this one. Young lady racer, Brie Hershey, jumped to the point from her first starting position and began to put some distance on the field. A few cautions tightened the field but each time Hershey moved back out front. On the last restart with five to go rim rider, Eric Tomecek, was sitting in second and many thought this was the beginning of the end for young Hershey. Well, they were wrong as Brie moved back out front and flashed under the black and white flag at 10:46 recording her first career win at Williams Grove and becoming the second (Nicole Bower being the first) female to win at the fabled Williams Grove Speedway. She was a happy young lady and should have been so since she held off Tomecek, Adrian Shaffer, Kevin Nouse and Ted Thomas Jr. who are all good runners for her first win.
It was not the greatest of nights tonight at Williams Grove but you can’t have a barn burner every night. Packing at home tomorrow so another Grandview visit might be on the agenda. Until next time get out there and support the local short track near you and enjoy a night out at the races.