MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (July 21, 2017) – Jonestown, PA native Brock Zearfoss scored his first career World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series win during the Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals opener, ringing in the first Posse win of the season in the ongoing Outlaws versus Pennsylvania Posse battle. David Gravel came in second after a strong battle for the lead with Lance Dewease, who ultimately went into the wall and flipped with nine laps to go. Defending Champion Donny Schatz completed the podium.
“How many times do you get to win an Outlaw race?” asked Zearfoss from Victory Lane. “This first time, I don’t even know what to say. I’m sick to my stomach; I’m that excited. You know, this is just a dream come true.”
Zearfoss’s first Outlaws race behind the wheel of Aaron Long’s No. 58 car last May didn’t go quite so well. He didn’t make the Feature.
“We debuted this deal at the first Outlaw race, and we weren’t good at all. To go from not making the show to standing on the front stretch of an Outlaw show, that’s just saying something about these guys.”
The Feature started with Lance Dewease on the pole after a full-field Craftsman Club Dash inversion (eight) worked in his favor. Last year’s champion, Daryn Pittman, started beside him and managed to steal the lead in lap one, but Dewease would take it back and go on to lead the next 15 laps.
Meanwhile, behind him Zearfoss battled his way past Schatz and Pittman to second with Gravel on his tail.
While spectators’ attentions were focused keenly on the five-car battle in front, Danny Dietrich and Sheldon Haudenschild got into each other entering lap 17 outside turn one, forcing a restart that would allow Gravel to charge past Zearfoss on the frontstretch before throwing a slider at Dewease. Trying to hold off Gravel, the leader jumped the cushion, fumbled, and flipped several times inside turn two.
To the tune of an outraged crowd, a double-file restart was called according to Series rules when the caution is not a result of contact between cars. Despite video replays showing no contact between the GoMuddy.com No. 5 and the Schanauer Plumbing No. 69K, Posse supporters expressed their discontent and disbelief.
“I know I never touched him,” argued Gravel. “Lance probably had a pretty tight race car and flipped over in the curb. I honestly didn’t want to slide him. I checked up. I thought, he doesn’t get back around me, but he obviously got stumbled up in the curb. That’s what happened, and then I had to work really hard to get back to second. I feel like we had the best car but finished second.”
Zearfoss and Gravel were to lead the field, but officials called a jump start on Gravel after Zearfoss stumbled and slowed, sending Gravel back a row and putting Schatz beside Zearfoss for another restart.
“This motor was stumbling all night,” said Zearfoss. “I got it to go a couple of times, but obviously that one time David [Gravel] actually didn’t jump me, but it just didn’t go. I kind of got lucky there. Got it to go for Schatz and didn’t want to see another caution because I wasn’t sure if I could do it again. Luckily I got a good jump on him on that last restart and held him off. Tell you what, I was either going out of the park or I was winning this bitch.”
And win he did, with Gravel battling his way back to second after a few exchanged with Schatz.
“Brock Zearfoss is a good friend of mine, and I’m happy he won his first Outlaw show,” said Gravel. “We’ll take second tonight. Me and Donny [Schatz] raced really really hard there. Just good hard racing.”
The Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals continue tomorrow at Williams Grove Speedway before the Series heads for Ransomville, NY for The Big “R” Outlaw Shootout on Sunday.