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ABBOTTSTOWN, PA – Thousands of fans lined the straightaway fence at Lincoln Speedway Wednesday night, testing the limit of how close they can get to pushing themselves through.
A faint cheer could be heard from the end of the line when the No. 69K of Lance Dewease came into sight, rounding the corner of turn four. The cheers and screams became a tidal wave down the front stretch as Dewease slowly rolled into Victory for the Gettysburg Clash presented by Drydene.
The local hero won. Dewease out dueled the stars of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series for his 16th career Series victory – moving past Jason Sides to sit 31st on the all-time wins list.
“It’s means everything,” Dewease said about claiming his first World of Outlaws win of the season. “It’s a good rivalry (between the World of Outlaws and PA Posse). To me it’s friendly. It’s not like we hate each other, but we want to beat each other pretty bad.”
Dewease showed how bad he wanted to win Wednesday night, wrestling with a competitive David Gravel all night.
Both won their respective Drydene Heat race and started on the front row for the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Gravel won the battle in the Dash, passing Dewease on the high side and charging to the win. The start to the 35-lap was déjà vu with the two side-by-side and Gravel charging back to the lead.
The Watertown, Conn.-native pulled to about a two-car length lead over Dewease at the start and was able to maintain it while navigating through lap traffic in the early stage of the race.
Gravel was poised to claim his third win of the season, able to maintain the lead no matter what line he chose. Although, in similar fashion, no matter which line Dewease chose to run, he could keep Gravel close enough in sight that if the No. 41 Jason Johnson Racing car made a mistake, he would be ready to capitalize.
And that mistake came with 17 laps to go. After sticking to the high side most of the race, Gravel tried the bottom through turns one and two. It didn’t work for him this time. He slid off the bottom, dramatically slowing his pace and allowing Dewease an easy pass to the lead.
“I knew sooner or later we would have to be on the bottom,” Dewease said. “I made my mind up I was going to go to the bottom, and he went at the same time, but he didn’t stay there. He slid up and crossed and I got by him, which meant everything to me. I just made sure I didn’t mess up in lap traffic.”
While Dewease weaved through traffic seeming to know where each car would be before he got to them, the lap cars didn’t always cooperate. One came close to ending Dewease’s night, leaving centimeters between he and Deweases car off turn two.
“Laps cars were really hard for both David and me,” Dewease said. “So, that last caution with six laps to go I decided I wasn’t going to catch any lap cars if I didn’t have to.”
He didn’t. After a couple of late race cautions, the Fayetteville, Pa.-native cruised with ease to another victory at Lincoln Speedway.
The late race cautions were no benefit to Gravel. After hitting the restart cone during one of the restarts, Gravel said he tried to just protect his second-place position, but ended up losing it to Ryan Smith and had to settle for third.
“I’m disappointed I lost second,” Gravel said. “I wish I didn’t make the mistakes I did. It’s part of racing.”
He’s still holding his head high though, for having a strong night with being the fastest car in Flight 2 of Qualifying, winning his Drydene Heat race and the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. He also sits fourth in the Series’ points standing — 80 points behind Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz, who for the second time this year are tied for the points lead.
Schatz was the KSE Hard Charger of the night, racing from 25th to 11th, after having to use a provisional to start the Feature.
Dewease’s win marks the first-round win for the PA Posse in the Series’ Pennsylvania swing this month. The World of Outlaws will make its next trip Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, to Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. for the Morgan Cup.
As Dewease stood in Victory Lane holding the three-foot tall Gettysburg Clash presented by Drydene trophy, the hundreds of fans lined along the fence, and those that found their way to Victory Lane, not only drowned out the speedway with cheers for Dewease, they started the chant “Posse! Posse! Posse!”
“It’s great to get this week started off good and hopefully if I can’t win Friday or Saturday somebody else does,” Dewease said about the PA Posse support. “It’s a neat fanbase. We have the best fans in the world as far as I’m concerned. They love our racing. They come out in rain and snow. So, we’re pretty fortunate.”
As always, you can catch all World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series action on DIRTVision.com.
For tickets and more information, go to www.WorldofOutlaws.com.