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Friday, May 18 - It takes us two hours to drive to Williams Grove on a Friday night and we arrived just before the starting time of 7:25. They were kind enough to give us enough time to park and trudge through the parking lot and up to our seats before the first green waved at 7:36. The 358 sprints would start off the program tonight with three run for the 24 car field on hand. This year the heats for the 410’s are lined up by draw allowing everyone an equal opportunity to start up front to qualify as in the beginning of the night the track is just rounding into shape and passing from the rear can be quite the task. Heat one had some early action as Logan Schuchart and Cory Haas tangled in turn four with Haas flipping over. In heat two Justin Henderson wrecked on the homestretch bouncing off the inside fence and tipping over on his side. The third heat ran clean and by 8:48 all heat qualifying was done. Only the 30 car 410 field needed a consie and that was spun off by 9:14.
As is the common practice at the Grove the 410 sprints run their feature first with the green flag flying at 9:39. Sheldon Haudenschild, the son of the legendary Jac “The Wild Child” Haudenschild, jumped off the front row and into the lead. The youngster was strong tonight in the Wintermyer #3W and commanded the field for the first 12 laps until Lance Dewease ducked to the low side entering turns one and two to take the lead with Sheldon returning the favor down the backstretch. Dewease regained the lead in turn three and would not relinquish the top spot after that. The racing was far from over with Fred Rahmer taking second from Haudenschild with five to go. Danny Dietrich was next up racing Haudenschild hard with the two touching several times. On the last lap Dietrich ran Haudenschild high in turn two with the kid charging right back into the fray. Dietrich got out of shape half way down the backstretch with Brian Montieth close on his tail and climbing the left rear tire of the #48 and rolling over as the red flag appeared. Dewease was declared the winner as he allegedly crossed the finish line before the red flew. It was Dewease’s 80th career win at Williams Grove with Fred Rahmer taking second and Sheldon Haudenschild claiming third at the finish. Fourth was 12th starting Greg Hodnett with Curt Michael grabbing a strong fifth.
The night was not over as the 358 sprints had 20 laps to run and they did it without the aid of any cautions. The track was going away and that is what Rodney Westhafer did at the start taking off from his second starting position. He was clearly the class of the field until encountering lap traffic late in the event and struggling to pass them. Eric Tomecek closed on the leader using the extreme high groove and at several points looked as if he would steal the win but Westhafer passed one of the lap cars to give himself some breathing room and hold unto the lead. Tomecek especially had trouble with one lap car and coming to the wire female racer, Brie Hershey, caught and passed Tomecek for the runnerup spot. Tomecek showed his displeasure with the offending driver slowing and cutting off the driver on the backstretch after the finish. Jacob Allen came home fourth with another female racer, Amy Ott, nailing down the fifth spot at the end. All racing was completed by 10:36, just an example of another good night of racing at Williams Grove which seems to be the norm and not the exception.
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