LANE HOLDS OFF HANTZ FOR EXCITING SUNOCO WIN by Jeremy Troiano
Disappointed Hantz Black Flagged Late After Dropping Water
Scott Hantz’s tale of two nights fell on disappointment in the Sunoco Super Series portion of the Twin 100s and the running of the Sunoco 100 at Toledo Speedway (OH) on Sunday night.
The SSS veteran looked to have a dominating car and showed it when he shot to the lead from his sixth place starting spot (after an eight-car invert) just 12 laps into the event. He pulled away and looked to have the field covered.
Enter Jeff Lane.
Lane, the exuberant veteran, used a solid, slow and calculated run to the front and grabbed the lead from Hantz on lap 71 with a little classic short rack bump-and-run.
It was just the start though, as the two would battle for the top spot up until the late stages of the race.
Lane was able to draw away from Hantz, but following a couple late caution flags (including one red flag situation), Hantz was able to make several serious challenges on Lane. A couple of times, Hantz actually got past Lane, but Lane always seemed to battle back and retake the point.
Then, with just seven laps to go and Hantz making another threat for the win, his #72 began pushing out water. It was dropping so much water, officials threw a caution to check out Hantz’s car. He was sent to the pits, ending his run for the top spot (and eventual night sweep) and handing the win to Lane, who had no other contenders
Jeff Lane (#11) gets into the back of the #72 of Scott Hantz in a fierce battle for the lead at Toledo. (51 Photos)
“That was a ball,” said Lane of his victory and 20-lap battle with Hantz. “We came here (to Toledo) around 2000 with an open wheel modified and ran really good. With these (cars), I haven’t been able to get the feel of the track as good as that day in the modified. Today we finally did and it showed, especially on the longer greens
“On the restarts, I really had my hands full with Scott. As long as it stayed green, I had me a pretty good little car.
“He got under me good there once on the bottom on a late restart, but I was able to fight back around him on the top. For every restart after that I had my hands full him. I hated seeing him have those kind of problems because it probably would have been a great race to the finish and maybe even a little wild. But I’m glad I’m in Victory Lane.
“It was an awesome car. I don’t know what else you can even say about it. Everything worked out well today.”
Jeff Lane celebrates his second win of the 2004 season.
Hantz was obviously disappointed, but said he had a blast with the race that unfolded.
“Jeff was better on the long run there and I got looser then heck,” said Hantz. “We had some big cautions there at the end that helped us because our car was better on the shorter runs.
“I broke the water pump with about seven to go there and it just knocked me out. It is disappointed because I think we might have had something for him. It would have been close because my car was pretty good on those short runs compared to his.
“I never felt anything,” added Hantz of hi s water pump problems. “The water temperature started sky rocketing and that was it. I knew she was done. I had nothing for him after that.”
Chuck Barnes Jr., who picked up his first career SSS win on Saturday night at Shady Bowl Speedway (OH), took advantage of Hantz’s problems to come home second. Scott Baker finished third, as he did the night before in the ASA Late Model race at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Hantz had little time to talk and rest, as he had to rush to the pits to strap into his outlaw super late model and go for the gold in the Toledo 100 portion of the Twin 100s. It was a move that would eventually pay off and take a little sting out of the disappointment that was the Sunoco 100.
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Scott Hantz's car is looked over by an SSS official as Jeff Lane (#11) passed by.