MECHANICSBURG, Pa.: Anthony Macri spent the last couple of years pressing to get his first Williams Grove Speedway 410 Sprint Car win.
It was starting to get a little nerve-racking. So much so, that Macri was beginning to be too aggressive in certain situations and make mistakes.
A little less than a month ago, Macri broke through. Now, it seems like it’s getting a little easier to punch his ticket to Victory Lane.
Macri needed two races to have a repeat performance. This time, the Dillsburg, Pa., driver started on the pole and won a wicked-fast sprint in the 30-Lap Jack Gunn Memorial that featured the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions.
“Getting the first one, definitely, lifted a lot of weight off the shoulders, and I feel like I can come in here now and relax,” Macri said after the $7,000 triumph. “It’s changed my driving, because I’m not driving overly aggressive trying to get my first win.
“I didn’t think the second one would come that quick, but obviously, the stars aligned. Track position was key, and we started on the front row, and I just knew that I needed to make 30 hard and smart laps.”
Lance Dewease finished second and locked up his seventh career Williams Grove track championship. Brent Marks, Chase Dietz, and Danny Dietrich completed the top five.
KEY MOMENT: The track was heavy because of overnight rain and humidity, which made it both narrow and difficult to pass.
Macri started on the pole, but he had to beat fellow front-row starter Chase Dietz to the first corner to secure the track position needed for victory. He accomplished the feat on the initial start, but Matt Campbell got upside down on the backstretch. He was OK.
After the red flag, Macri won the dash to Turn 1 and took the lead. He opened up a 1.864-second advantage over Dietz by the time he hit lapped traffic on Lap 6.
Dietz made a run when the leader struggled in traffic. He closed to within .569 seconds before Lucas Wolfe stopped on the inside of the backstretch. Macri used the clear track to pull away on the restart.
“I could hear somebody behind me,” Macri said. “I felt like I was getting through lapped traffic as efficiently as I could, and I knew I had to keep making smart decisions and time everything perfectly.
“I wasn’t upset to see the yellow. I was kind of shocked that it was only nine laps in, so I was happy about it. I knew the second time around in lapped traffic what those guys were doing and got through it more efficiently.”
CLOSING THE DEAL: Macri built a 2.320-second lead over Dietz by the completion of Lap 17. Meanwhile, Dewease was looking for a way to take second.
Dewease was side-by-side with Dietz coming off of Turn 2. The Fayetteville, Pa., driver shot to the bottom of the third and fourth corner and slipped by Dietz to take over second on Lap 21.
Lapped traffic started to become an issue on the 22nd circuit. Dewease closed to within 1.339 seconds of the leader, but Macri dove under the lapped car of Justin Peck in Turn 3 on Lap 23 and gave himself a two-car cushion over the field.
Macri increased his lead to 1.737 seconds over Dewease on Lap 25. By the time he took the checker, he had a 2.331-second cushion.
“Peck was committed to the top, because I was watching him for a couple of laps,” Macri said. “I knew when I got to him that I had to make something happen and not screw around on the top.
“I drove it into three really hard and kind of floated it across the track and got in front of him. I kind of felt like that was the move I needed to create a cushion, but I just kept driving hard because you can’t assume anything when you are in the lead.”
DEWEASE’S NUMBERS: Dewease settled for second and earned his 15th podium finish in 17 starts at Williams Grove this season.
It should also be noted that Dewease’s lowest finish during his 2021 championship campaign was sixth. He has four wins but fell short of No. 5 Friday night.
“It’s just too fast,” Dewease said. “The straightaways are so wet, and it doesn’t matter if it’s lapped cars. They can go down into the corner, spin out, and still beat you down the straightaway.
“We were good until everybody got up to speed, and we had to move up like everybody else. I could run the bottom pretty good, at times, but it’s hard when you can pretty much run around the place flat footed.”
410 Sprint Car Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Anthony Macri; 2. Lance Dewease; 3. Brent Marks; 4. Chase Dietz; 5. Danny Dietrich; 6. Brian Brown; 7. Zeb Wise; 8. Dylan Cisney; 9. Robbie Kendall; 10. Cory Eliason; 11. Aaron Reutzel; 12. Rico Abreu; 13. Spencer Bayston; 14. Chad Trout; 15. Bill Balog; 16. Gio Scelzi; 17. Devon Borden; 18. Tyler Courtney; 19. Justin Peck; 20. Ian Madsen; 21. T.J. Stutts; 22. Skylar Gee; 23. Lucas Wolfe; 24. Dylan Norris; 25. Matt Campbell.
305 Sprint Car Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Austin Reed; 2. Devin Adams; 3. Jeff Geiges; 4. Dave Grube; 5. Brandon McLain; 6. Buddy Schweibinz; 7. Erin Statler; 8. Mikell McGee; 9. Tyler Snook; 10. Logan Spahr; 11. Austin Graby; 12. Will Brunson; 13. Dustin Young; 14. Steve Kenawell; 15. Rowdy Heffner; 16. Doug Dodson; 17. Ron Aurand; 18. Ken Duke Jr.; 19. Kenny Heffner; 20. Scott Frack; 21. Garrett Bard; 22. Kassidy Kreitz; 23. Justin Mills; 24. Domenic Melair.