MECHANICSBURG - Donnie Kreitz's late-race charge netted him the sprint car feature win Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.
Kreitz, of Sinking Spring, earned $4,150 for his 60th career Grove win and also took the point lead back from Greg Hodnett, who was racing at Knoxville Nationals in Iowa. It was Kreitz's second Grove win of the season.
"It wasn't very pretty, but we won and that's all that matters," Kreitz said. "It was okay. The kid in the 52 did a good job. $4,150 for a regular 25-lap show has to be the best in the country, so it's really nice of them to put that up."
Davey Sammons and Austin Hogue started on the front row after a false start penalty moved the original front row to the second. Hogue, a 410 sprint rookie, grabbed the lead.
The first caution flag flew with three laps completed when Lance Dewease spun in turn two.
On the restart, Rick Lafferty tried to take second from Sammons with an inside move in turn one. He clipped the fence as he exited the second turn.
Something appeared to break on Lafferty's car entering turn three and he spun across the track. Brian Montieth slammed into Lafferty's car. Brock Zearfoss also was involved, as was Ryan Smith. No driver injuries were reported.
The red flag allowed 80-year-old Davey Brown to fine tune Kreitz's sprinter.
"We wouldn't have won without the changes they made during the red," Kreitz said. "He definitely helped the car a lot."
"We had to make some changes," Brown said. "We weren't getting enough forward bite. I was hoping when the fuel got out of it, it would get faster and it did."
Hogue led Sammons, Curt Michael and Kreitz for the restart.
Michael blasted under Sammons in turn three to take over second. Donnie Kreitz used an inside move off turn two to take third from Sammons.
Kreitz, who came into the night second in the season-long point standings, continued moving forward as he got by Michael with seven laps completed.
Hogue, however, maintained a comfortable lead over Kreitz at the half-way point of the feature. Alan Krimes drove by Sammons and into fourth.
Kreitz began to close dramatically with eight laps to go.
Hogue switched to the bottom groove to try and keep Kreitz at bay, but the four-time track champion continued to apply the pressure.
Hogue went back to the top to keep his momentum, but Kreitz was just too good on the bottom. He drove by Hogue off turn two for the lead with five laps to go.
"Austin was going good," Kreitz said. "It was tough. I got into second and I really couldn't run him down. He wasn't making any mistakes and was running a good line. I was getting worried for a while. I was glad to get him. Just as I was catching him, he went down to the bottom. It was good timing on his part. I tried not to show myself."
Kreitz controlled the final laps for the win as Hogue recorded his best career Grove finish in second. Curt Michael, Doug Esh and Alan Krimes were in the top five.
"We got another win for our team - 60th win here - that's pretty cool," Kreitz said. "We have nothing to be ashamed of. We put our best foot forward every week and do the best we can."
"I saw the 69 car was on the board in second," Hogue said. "I heard him down in three and four and thought I'd run the bottom a lap or two. Either way I was going, it was kind of inevitable. If you're going to lose to anybody on a track like tonight, it's going to be Donnie. He's been fast all year."
Pat Cannon, Glenndon Forsythe, Dewease, Sammons and Steve Buckwalter rounded out the top 10.
Nicole Bower, Brian Montieth and Pat Cannon won the 10-lap heat races. The Highlands crew had to fix Cannon's car prior to the third heat race after he stopped in hot laps with something broken on the left rear. Cory Haas won the consolation.
In the 358 sprint car feature, Jay Galloway grabbed the early lead in the 20-lap main event. Two cars spun in turn three and another car flipped after hitting the fence trying to avoid the spun racers.
Galloway led on the restart as point leader Kevin Nouse blasted from sixth to second in two laps. Nouse tracked down Galloway and took the lead in turn two as Galloway slowed and pitted.
Matt Campbell was up to second and second place point man Adrian Shaffer up to third after restarting seventh.
Campbell began to run down Nouse with five laps to go. Campbell got a bit over the cushion in turn four with two laps to go giving Nouse the cushion he needed to score his fourth win of the season.
Campbell, Shaffer, Scott Fisher and Chris Arnold completed the top five.
The 358 sprint car heats were won by Doug Hammaker and Adrian Shaffer.
Notes: The Grove returns to action Aug. 15 with a Diamond Series event featuring twin 20s for the sprint cars paying $2,500 to win each race, plus the ARDC midgets, and a display of vintage race cars from the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing. ... Several different names were in the Grove pits trying to collect the $315 start money as several Grove regulars were away running the Knoxville Nationals. ... Canadian Tom Huppunen made a Williams Grove start in a red No. 27. He was old school with a pickup truck pulling an open trailer. He had a few spare parts and two crew guys helping him. He didn't qualify. He said racing at the Grove has always been on his bucket list.