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Danny Holtgraver nabs first career win at Eldora Speedway to open Ohio Sprint Speedweek.
Danny Holtgraver takes first career Eldora Speedway win to kick off Ohio Sprint Speedweek. Credit: Mike Campbell/campbellphoto.com

Danny Holtgraver nabs first career win at Eldora Speedway to open Ohio Sprint Speedweek.

By Brian Liskai

ROSSBURG, OH (Saturday, June 21, 2014) – Danny Holtgraver is only 24 years old but he showed the maturity of a seasoned sprint car veteran Saturday at Eldora Speedway. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania driver held off veteran Dale Blaney in a three lap shoot-out to score his first career win at the legendary “Big E” to open the 32nd Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek.

With eight laps to go Holtgraver was trying to battle through heavy lapped traffic and Blaney was coming on strong as was Jac Haudenschild. But, when Rob Chaney stopped with three laps to go it gave Holtgraver a clear track but it also moved Blaney right on his rear bumper. As the green flew on the restart Holtgraver got a tremendous drive to the outside wall and drove away from Blaney for his second University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions win of 2014. The victory was Holtgraver’s eighth career UNOH All Star win.

“I knew on that restart I had to run around the top as hard as I could. I have to thank all my guys. Rob Hunter for giving me this opportunity. My dad, pup, Barman, Earl, Josh…everyone that helps us out on this thing,” said Holtgraver beside his Golden Flavor Sesame Sticks, Berlin Natural Bakery, Bonnell’s Rod Shop, Alternative Power Sources, West View Motors, DKW Transport backed #10h.

“We’ve had a couple of up and down weeks and these guys have had a lot of work to do and it paid off because here we are,” continued Holtgraver. “I told Rob this week I don’t care if we win any where else I want to win Eldora. I got it…this is unbelievable…I couldn’t ask for more…this is amazing. I can’t wait to come back here.”

For Blaney, who leads the UNOH All Star national and Ohio region points, a second place run is a great way to start Ohio Sprint Speedweek.

“When that yellow came out with 15 to go we were really good. We probably had a harder left rear tire than these guys and I still had a shot at him (Holtgraver) with about five laps to go. He got held up a little bit but I made about three bad corners and didn’t capitalize and there it goes,” said Blaney about his Kennedy Cattle/Ti22 Performance, Penske Shocks backed machine.

There’s just something about Eldora that brings out the best in Randy Hannagan who would run in the top three the entire 30 laps of the feature.

“We definitely had a good race car. We were kind of limited in our tire choice for the feature and we gambled and it didn’t pay off. From lap 15 on I was just kind of holding on,” said Hannagan beside his Upper Auto Parts/Kenny’s Components backed #11n. “I could be frustrated if I couldn’t see why we slowed up but we know why and we’ll carry that on to the King’s Royal.”

Tim Shaffer and Holtgraver would bring the field to green for the 30-lap feature at “The Big E.” Shaffer would gain the upper hand over Holtgraver, Lee Jacobs, Hannagan, Jason Meyers, Danny Dietrich and Caleb Helms. Hannagan would use the bottom grove to drive into third on lap two.

With five laps in Holtgraver closed on Shaffer and made the classic Eldora slider to take the lead on lap six with Hannagan, Jacobs, Meyers, Dietrich and a closing Jac Haudenschild in tow. The leaders would blast into lapped traffic by the eighth circuit and Hannagan was diving under Shaffer for second which he would take a lap later.

Holtgraver had built a sizeable lead when he got into heavy lapped traffic on lap 11, allowing Hannagan to close with Shaffer, Jacobs, Haudenschild and Meyers in pursuit. On lap 14 Holtgraver held a slight lead over Hannagan but the action for third was tremendous involving Shaffer, Jacobs, Haudenschild and Blaney.

With the crossed flags in the air for the half-way mark Blaney drove under the trio of Shaffer, Jacobs and Haudenschild to take third as the caution flew for Derek Hagar spin. On the ensuing restart Holtgraver drove away with Hannagan having his hands full with Blaney as Shaffer and Haudenschild worked to stay close. Blaney would make the move into second on lap 19 with Hannagan, Haudenschild, Schaffer, Jacobs and Chad Kemenah in pursuit.

With eight laps to go the leaders again raced into lapped traffic which allowed Haudenschild to take third from Hannagan. With the signal for five laps to go Blaney had used lapped traffic to close quickly on Holtgraver with Haudenschild also blasting away on the concrete outside wall to stay within striking distance.

Rob Chaney would bring out the final caution with three laps to go just as Blaney was racing to Holtgraver’s inside for the lead. Under caution Haudenschild’s right rear tire was going flat forcing him pit side and putting Hannagan back into third.

With a clear track Holtgraver got an excellent restart and flew to the outside to pull away the remaining three laps for the win with Blaney, Hannagan and Shaffer rounding out the top five. Shane Stewart would drive from his 24th starting spot – last – to finish sixth with Kevin Swindell, Greg Wilson (from 23rd), Kemenah, Dietrich and James McFadden rounding out the top 10.

For more information go to

www.allstarsprint.com

Eldora Speedway – 6/21/2014

All Star Circuit of Champions (44 Cars)
[#]-Starting Position

Qualifying – Kistler Engines

1. 45-Tim Shaffer, 13.504; 2. 10H-Danny Holtgraver, 13.631; 3. 83X-Jason Meyers, 13.696; 4. 11N-Randy Hannagan, 13.709; 5. 83-Stevie Smith, 13.724; 6. 63-Chad Kemenah, 13.839; 7. 3G-James McFadden, 13.868; 8. 81-Lee Jacobs, 13.899; 9. 40-Caleb Helms, 13.903; 10. 48-Danny Dietrich, 13.944; 11. 14K-Dale Blaney, 13.945; 12. 9W-Jac Haudenschild, 13.949; 13. 71-Kevin Swindell, 13.950; 14. OO-Jim Nier, 13.953; 15. 9X-Rob Chaney, 13.965; 16. 49-Cole Duncan, 13.976; 17. 98H-Dave Blaney, 13.976; 18. 5T-Travis Philo, 13.979; 19. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.986; 20. 1ST-Gary Taylor, 14.007; 21. 97-Dean Jacobs, 14.016; 22. 24H-Brandon Wimmer, 14.029; 23. 4-Danny Smith, 14.049; 24. 70-Derek Hagar, 14.085; 25. 9Z-Duane Zablocki, 14.114; 26. 60C-Kory Crabtree, 14.142; 27. W20-Greg Wilson, 14.212; 28. 35AU-Jamie Veal, 14.229; 29. 44W-Austen Wheatley, 14.264; 30. 57X-Andrew Palker, 14.281; 31. 35R-Ronnie Blair, 14.307; 32. 21-Dallas Hewitt, 14.357; 33. 96AU-Bruce White, 14.581; 34. 46AU-Stuart Williams, 14.748; 35. 2-Shane Stewart, 14.801; 36. 5H-Jordan Harble, 14.946; 37. 25AU-Jack Lee, 15.117; 38. 6-Cody Gardner, 15.257; 39. 35M-Wes McGlumphy, 15.477; 40. 71AU-Ryan Davis, 15.626; 41. 77AU-Darren Mollenoyux, 15.630; 42. 4X-Shawn Petersen, 99.999; 43. 15H-Mitch Harble, 99.999; 44. 17H-Jared Horstman , 99.999

Heat 1 – Kears Speed Shop (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 98H-Dave Blaney[2] ; 2. 45-Tim Shaffer[6] ; 3. 97-Dean Jacobs[1] ; 4. 71-Kevin Swindell[3] ; 5. 40-Caleb Helms[4] ; 6. 83-Stevie Smith[5] ; 7. 9Z-Duane Zablocki[7] ; 8. 77AU-Darren Mollenoyux[11] ; 9. 44W-Austen Wheatley[8] ; 10. 25AU-Jack Lee[10] ; 11. 96AU-Bruce White[9]

Heat 2 – All Pro Aluminum Heads (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 5T-Travis Philo[2] ; 2. 48-Danny Dietrich[4] ; 3. 24H-Brandon Wimmer[1] ; 4. 10H-Danny Holtgraver[6] ; 5. OO-Jim Nier[3] ; 6. 63-Chad Kemenah[5] ; 7. 60C-Kory Crabtree[7] ; 8. 57X-Andrew Palker[8] ; 9. 6-Cody Gardner[10] ; 10. 46AU-Stuart Williams[9] ; 11. 4X-Shawn Petersen[11]

Heat 3 – Dragon Racing Fuels (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 4-Danny Smith[1] ; 2. 14K-Dale Blaney[4] ; 3. W20-Greg Wilson[7] ; 4. 2-Shane Stewart[9] ; 5. 83X-Jason Meyers[6] ; 6. 9X-Rob Chaney[3] ; 7. 3G-James McFadden[5] ; 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[2] ; 9. 35R-Ronnie Blair[8] ; 10. 35M-Wes McGlumphy[10]

Heat 4 – Kinsler Fuel Injection (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 9W-Jac Haudenschild[4] ; 2. 11N-Randy Hannagan[6] ; 3. 1ST-Gary Taylor[2] ; 4. 70-Derek Hagar[1] ; 5. 81-Lee Jacobs[5] ; 6. 35AU-Jamie Veal[7] ; 7. 49-Cole Duncan[3] ; 8. 21-Dallas Hewitt[8] ; 9. 71AU-Ryan Davis[10] ; 10. 5H-Jordan Harble[9]

Dash – Howard Johnson Hotel – Lima, OH (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 6 starting positions of A-feature

1. 45-Tim Shaffer[1] ; 2. 10H-Danny Holtgraver[3] ; 3. 11N-Randy Hannagan[5] ; 4. 81-Lee Jacobs[4] ; 5. 83X-Jason Meyers[2] ; 6. 40-Caleb Helms[6]

B-Main – MSD Ignition (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 83-Stevie Smith[1] ; 2. 9X-Rob Chaney[4] ; 3. 63-Chad Kemenah[2] ; 4. 3G-James McFadden[3] ; 5. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[6] ; 6. 35AU-Jamie Veal[9] ; 7. 49-Cole Duncan[5] ; 8. 44W-Austen Wheatley[10] ; 9. 9Z-Duane Zablocki[7] ; 10. 60C-Kory Crabtree[8] ; 11. 57X-Andrew Palker[11] ; 12. 46AU-Stuart Williams[15] ; 13. 35R-Ronnie Blair[12] ; 14. 77AU-Darren Mollenoyux[21] ; 15. 71AU-Ryan Davis[20] ; 16. 35M-Wes McGlumphy[19] ; 17. 96AU-Bruce White[14] ; 18. 6-Cody Gardner[18] ; 19. 4X-Shawn Petersen[22] ; 20. 21-Dallas Hewitt[13] ; 21. 5H-Jordan Harble[16] ; 22. 25AU-Jack Lee[17]

A-Main – University of Northwestern Ohio (30 Laps)

1. 10H-Danny Holtgraver[2]; 2. 14K-Dale Blaney[8]; 3. 11N-Randy Hannagan[3]; 4. 45-Tim Shaffer[1]; 5. 2-Shane Stewart[24]; 6. 71-Kevin Swindell[10]; 7. W20-Greg Wilson[23]; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah[12]; 9. 48-Danny Dietrich[7]; 10. 3G-James McFadden[13]; 11. 83X-Jason Meyers[5]; 12. 81-Lee Jacobs[4]; 13. 9W-Jac Haudenschild[9]; 14. 1ST-Gary Taylor[18]; 15. OO-Jim Nier[14]; 16. 5T-Travis Philo[17]; 17. 40-Caleb Helms[6]; 18. 70-Derek Hagar[22]; 19. 9X-Rob Chaney[15]; 20. 83-Stevie Smith[11]; 21. 4-Danny Smith[21]; 22. 24H-Brandon Wimmer[20]; 23. 97-Dean Jacobs[19]; 24. 98H-Dave Blaney[16]

Hard Charger: 2-Shane Stewart[+19]

About Mike Neff

Mike Neff
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Sprint Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Thursday with Tech Talk. Mike works as track announcer for Millbridge Speedway and East Lincoln Speedway, local bullrings based outside of Charlotte, and pops up everywhere from Athlon Sports to SIRIUS XM Radio.