Column: WoO Vs. PA Posse Battles At Williams Grove & Lincoln To Conclude Spring Showdown
Column By: ALEX NIETEN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – MECHANICSBURG, PA – Sprint Car racing’s best rivalry is getting an early start in 2023.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars will invade Pennsylvania for two nights, March 17-18, rekindling the annual World of Outlaws vs. PA Posse battle. The pair of shows will serve as the conclusion to the Low-E Insulation Spring Showdown mini-series.
First up on Friday, March 17, is a trip to the famed Williams Grove Speedway. The night will mark the World of Outlaws 230th visit to the Mechanicsburg, PA facility. Then, Saturday, March 18, takes teams down the road to Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA) for the Spring Showdown finale where the $20,000 mini-series point fund will be distributed.
The World of Outlaws are looking to bounce back after a sub-par showing against the Posse in 2022, and the Pennsylvanians aim to keep the rivalry tilted in their favor. Last year PA locals earned bragging rights by claiming six of the nine battles including the final four of the season. The Pennsylvania fans are sure to remind the World of Outlaws of how 2022 unfolded as the tour rolls into town this weekend.
Let’s look at some of the top storylines:
CHAMPIONSHIP FORM: David Gravel has come out on fire to begin 2023.
The Big Game Motorsports driver has three wins and a runner-up through five Features this season, marking the first time since 2019 (Daryn Pittman) a driver has finished inside the top-two in four of the first five races. The stout results have him atop the championship standings by 20 points.
This weekend presents an excellent chance for Gravel to continue building momentum. Williams Grove is Gravel’s winningest track on his World of Outlaws record with eight of his 79 wins coming at the half-mile. The Watertown, CT native is also a former Series winner at Lincoln (2017) and has finished no worse than seventh in his last six trips to Abbottstown.
In addition to his championship lead, Gravel is also tied for the top spot of the Low-E Insulation Spring Showdown standings.
MACEDO’S HOT START: The driver tied with David Gravel for the Low-E Insulation Spring Showdown title and the $10,000 reward that comes with it is Carson Macedo. The Lemoore, CA native has a win, a 5.4 avg. finish, and is yet to miss the top-10 this season.
The wheelman of the Jason Johnson Racing #41 is a two-time Williams Grove World of Outlaws winner, topping a pair of 2021 races, including the 2021 National Open. Macedo’s best Series finish at Lincoln is third in his most recent attempt, but he’s won with the All-Star Circuit of Champions at the 3/8-mile track (2018).
DONNY’S DOMINANCE: Donny Schatz owns 307 career World of Outlaws Feature wins, and Williams Grove has been the largest contributor to that tally.
The 10-time Series champion is a 21-time winner at Williams Grove including a record six National Open titles. Only Steve Kinser (38 Williams Grove wins) is ahead of Schatz. The Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing driver’s recent record at the half-mile (nine podiums in last 20 starts) suggest another potential strong run on Friday.
While Schatz’ record isn’t as strong at Lincoln, he is a former winner there (2016) and owns five top-fives in 13 starts.
PENNSYLVANIA POUNCE: For most of his career, Brad Sweet had been unable to find the top step of the podium at both Williams Grove and Lincoln, but “The Big Cat” changed that over the past two seasons.
In 2021, the Grass Valley, CA native won in his 10th Series attempt at Lincoln. Then, last year the Kasey Kahne Racing driver finally crossed Williams Grove off his win list after more than 50 unsuccessful tries.
Sweet hopes for more PA success to shake off some early season struggles as he’s only notched one top-five so far through five races.
FAMILIAR WATERS: The Shark Racing duo of Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen are among those on the World of Outlaws tour that began their careers racing with the Posse.
Back in 2011, Schuchart nearly won his World of Outlaws debut, briefly taking the lead from Jason Meyers at Williams Grove before having an issue. Fifty-four starts later, and the 30-year-old is still chasing his first Series victory at the iconic track. He’s won an All-Star race there and owns four World of Outlaws podiums.
Schuchart is currently second in Series points, having already tallied four top fives and boasting a 4.8 avg. finish.
Allen had struggled at Williams Grove for several years, but he’s turned that narrative around in recent history. Allen carries a streak of three consecutive top-10s at the paperclip shaped track heading into Friday.
The driver of the Shark Racing #1A is also the most recent Series winner at Lincoln, claiming last year’s Gettysburg Clash in what was a wildly popular win in front of hometown fans.
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: Over the years, Williams Grove has proven to be a place capable of producing first time World of Outlaws winners, and it’s true for three drivers currently on tour.
Brock Zearfoss claimed the opening night of 2017 Summer Nationals in only his eighth Series Feature start. The win came aboard Aaron Long’s #58, and now the Jonestown, PA native looks for a win aboard his family-owned #3Z as he continues his third year with the World of Outlaws.
A few months after Zearfoss’ breakthrough, James McFadden wheeled the Highlands #3 to a National Open prelim triumph for his first victory. The 33-year-old is fresh off delivering Roth Motorsports’ 100th Series win and aims to add to the tally.
One year later, a rising star named Gio Scelzi topped a National Open prelim driving Bernie Stuebgen’s Indy Race Parts #71, becoming the youngest winner in Series history – at 16 years old. That record still stands as the now 21-year-old is a rookie on the World of Outlaws tour with KCP Racing.
POSSE POWERHOUSES: As always when the World of Outlaws venture into Pennsylvania, a few of the locals stand out as favorites to keep the trophies in the host state. Williams Grove has been a prime location for Posse glory over the years, especially last season thanks in large part to one man.
Lance Dewease may be the greatest driver in Williams Grove history, and 2022 helped support that case. The Fayetteville, PA native claimed a trio of World of Outlaws races at “The Grove” last year, helping elevate his record win tally at the track to 111. Of the 57-year-old’s 20 career Series victories, 17 have come at the Mechanicsburg half-mile. Only Steve Kinser (38), Donny Schatz (21), and Mark Kinser (18) have won more in World of Outlaws competition at Williams Grove than the driver of the historic Kreitz Racing #69K. Dewease has also won with the World of Outlaws at Lincoln, topping a 2019 race.
Brent Marks also chalked one up for the Posse in 2022, winning the Morgan Cup at Williams Grove in May. Three of Marks’ 12 career Series victories have occurred at the half-mile. The former World of Outlaws full-timer owns several Lincoln triumphs but still seeks his first with The Greatest Show on Dirt.
Anthony Macri was responsible for the other two Posse victories last year, claiming a pair of Port Royal races for his first two World of Outlaws wins. The Dillsburg, PA native has been banging on the door of a Williams Grove World of Outlaws win with seven top-fives in his last 10 starts. “The Concrete Kid” has also finished within the top five in the two most recent Series races at Lincoln.
PLENTY OF PA: In addition to the local favorites, Pennsylvania’s healthy Sprint Car landscape features many more capable of running up front with the country’s best drivers.
Danny Dietrich has been one of the Posse’s strongest forces over the years. Four his five World of Outlaws wins have arrived at Lincoln and Williams Grove as he’s split two apiece at each facility. The driver of the Gary Kauffman #48 hasn’t visited Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws since 2019, but he looks to change that this weekend.
Freddie Rahmer’s one World of Outlaws victory came in 2018 at Lincoln. The Salfordville, PA native has already topped two local races at Lincoln this year in the Eichelberger #8. Rahmer also has plenty of Williams Grove success, posting two of his four career World of Outlaws podiums in Mechanicsburg.
More local names to watch include Troy Wagaman Jr. (Hanover, PA), Matt Campbell (Fawn Grove, PA), T.J. Stutts (Liverpool, PA), Dylan Cisney (Port Royal, PA), Dylan Norris (Hanover, PA), Kyle Moody (Lewisberry, PA) and more.