But, in the end, Greg Hodnett accomplished the unthinkable, scoring his third victory of the season over the World of Outlaws' best and earning $50,000 in the process.
The Thomasville resident started on the pole and held off World of Outlaws points leader and three-time defending champ Donny Schatz, although several times the pair ran side-by-side in turns.
Yet Hodnett never trailed.
The third red flag of the feature -- in the second-to-last lap -- took the excitement away from the Grove's packed house, which was rooting heavily for Hodnett of the Pennsylvania Posse to earn his first National Open win.
Schatz finished second and fellow Outlaw Jason Meyers was third. Fred Rahmer came in fourth.
Todd Shaffer, Craig Dollansky and Brooke Tatnell got tangled up in the third turn of the next-to-last lap, causing another long delay, but in reality it just delayed the celebration for Hodnett.
The feature was less than 50 yards old when Chad Layton went high just past the flag stand and nailed Jac Haudenschild, forcing the Outlaw's car to do several flips and sending debris across the raceway. That set the tone for a delay-filed evening.
Haudenschild walked to the ambulance under his own power.
Brian Montieth was running second, but blew a tire in the third turn, causing his car to flip into the wall before being hit by Paul McMahon and Sam Hafertepe Jr.
The incident forced an open red flag, which allowed the remaining cars to refuel on the track.
Cautions were the norm on the night, especially during the heat races.
The fourth heat race brought emotions to an edge when Outlaw Sammy Swindell cut right in front of York's Adam Wilt, causing a wreck.
After the collision, Wilt was not happy when forced out of the race and pointed at Swindell, who was able to keep racing.
Of course, Wilt's reaction was subtle compared to the crowd, which voiced its displeasure toward Swindell.
Earlier in the evening, Outlaws Daryn Pittman and Lucas Wolfe collided in the first turn during the second heat race.
After getting out of his damaged car, an angry Pittman charged down pit row toward Wolfe's trailer, but was held off by an official from the World of Outlaws.
It was not a great night for the defending National Open Champion, Red Lion's Cody Darrah. His car stopped during time trials and later, in the third heat race, car trouble put him into the infield wall.
Darrah came back for a solid race in the B main, but did not qualify for the feature.
Grove points leader Todd Shaffer also had some bad luck, as well, starting with his primary car developing rear-end difficulty.
Later, in the fourth heat race, 20-time Outlaw champ Steve Kinser spun in front of Shaffer and the two collided, bringing out a red flag.
Notes: Making his Outlaws debut, Brad Sweet posted the fastest time in warm-ups, followed by Hodnett. ... Pat Cannon of Etters posted the Grove's fastest lap time of the season during the time trials when he flew around the track in 16.368 seconds. He was just one of the Pennsylvania Posse to do well in the trials, as the locals garnered nine of the top 10 times.