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07/26 2012

Darrah Gets Williams Grove Redemption

Darrah Gets Williams Grove Redemption

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Vindication. Atonement. Redemption.

Cody Darrah doesn’t mind what his performance on Saturday is called because he ended the night covered in confetti in victory lane. Darrah captured his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature win of the season at the 11th annual Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway — site of his first career Outlaws victory in 2009.

Sandwiched between those signature wins at a home track located a little more than a half hour from where he grew up, Darrah’s life has been a roller coaster.

“It’s awesome to be back home and it’s even better to be on the frontstretch,” Darrah said. “I got my first World of Outlaws win at this race in 2009 back in my dad’s car. It’s been a long road since then. We’ve had struggles.”

Following the 2009 victory — another Summer Nationals event — Darrah was signed by NASCAR notable Kasey Kahne to pilot one of his sprint cars only to be devastated by a car crash on the way to the 2010 season opener.

Darrah returned from a broken leg near the end of the 2010 season for a handful of races before gutting through an up-and-down campaign last year. However, Darrah has found consistency throughout this season and he showcased it on a cool Saturday night in front of a nearly packed facility.

After Friday’s opening round of the Summer Nationals was rained out, Darrah and the rest of the drivers were greeted with a wet track for most of Saturday. There wasn’t much passing and track position was pivotal until the feature.

Darrah qualified 11th quickest of the 45 competitors to make the inversion. He then led all eight laps of his heat race after starting on the outside of the front row. That locked him into the dash, which he also started second after the No. 6 was draw for the dash inversion.

Darrah finished second to Gerard McIntyre, who claimed his first career World of Outlaws dash to earn the pole for the 30-lap feature. It didn’t take long for Darrah to find the lead, which he never relinquished.

By the time the duo crossed the flag stand under the green flag, Darrah had the advantage. He began to pull away only to be slowed on the second lap for the first of seven cautions.

Jason Sides slid by McIntyre for the runner-up position on the restart as Darrah checked out. However, ninth-running Danny Holtgraver got into the wall in turn three on the fifth lap to bring out another caution.

Seventh-running Craig Dollansky spun in turn two on the restart, Fred Rahmer flipped violently down the backstretch on lap six while competing with Sammy Swindell just outside the top 10 and eighth-running Stevie Smith flipped in turn one on that restart to prompt an open red before the feature had completed six green-flag laps.

Dollansky then flipped in turn four on lap 13 and later crashed hard at the end of the backstretch on lap 20 to bring out two more red flags, which erased several car length leads for Darrah, who didn’t mind.

“I really needed the race to play out the way it did without lapped traffic,” he said. “Everything kind of worked in our favor tonight, so I’ll take it.”

The cautions also allowed several cars in the back to make runs toward the front of the field. Lucas Wolfe, World of Outlaws championship standings lead Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz, Cory Haas and Kerry Madsen each made a bid at a top 10 after starting 21st or worse.

Meanwhile, Sides held off Greg Hodnett in a close battle that didn’t decide second place until the checkered flag.

“Our car we kind of set it up for the bottom,” Sides said. “I know that some of the other guys like Hodnett and them got to running pretty good around the top. They were catching us. We’re just happy to be here in second.”

For Hodnett, it was his third podium finish in as many World of Outlaws races at Williams Grove Speedway this season.

“I think we were a little bit faster than Jason,” he said. “He was just wide enough where I couldn’t get by and I didn’t want to crash. We made the best of it.”

Kraig Kinser was fourth and Adam Wilt rounded out the top five.