Brent Marks, a local racer turned World of Outlaws regular, drove to the biggest win of his career Saturday evening at Williams Grove Speedway.
Marks collected $65,000 for his victory in the Champion Racing Oil Williams Grove National Open, etching his name alongside some of the sport’s biggest stars.
“This is amazing – I’ve been wanting to win this very race for a long time," Marks said. "I grew up here in the infield. This is where I fell in love with sprint-car racing. I tried to play it smart all night. I can’t believe we just won the National Open.”
After some heat-race heroics, Marks was able to start the 40-lap main event on the outside of the front row and he got the jump on pole-sitter Brian Brown, the Knoxville Raceway champion. Marks grabbed the early lead, but his initial time at the front was short lived. Brown was able to take over the top spot on a third-lap restart.
Marks wrested the lead back from Brown on the 13th lap and would be credited with leading the remainder of the event. It wasn’t really that easy, however. Daryn Pittman, another full-time Outlaw racer who has spent considerable time on the local circuit, actually passed Marks not long after he regained the lead, but a caution flag negated that pass. Pittman was able to keep Marks in sight the rest of the way, but had to settle for his fifth second-place finish in the Open, which he has never won.
“I’d trade every single one of ‘em for one win,” Pittman said of all his second-place finishes. “I would trade every one of my wins here for one of these. You get that close to winning one of these crown jewels and you wanna get the job done and we just keep coming up short.”
Outlaw Donny Schatz, using the Ford engine for the first time this weekend, came from eighth to finish third, with All Star champion Aaron Reutzel claiming the fourth spot after starting fifth. David Gravel started seventh and finished fifth.
Freddie Rahmer climbed from the 11th starting spot for sixth, with Brown getting seventh. Lincoln champion Brian Montieth earned the hard-charger award with his climb from 26th to eighth. Outlaw point leader Brad Sweet and Sheldon Haudenschild completed the top 10.
Gravel victorious on Friday at Grove: In Friday’s preliminary action, Gravel led all 25 laps to pick up the $10,000 victory. Gravel’s second Grove win of the season came over the Grove’s all-time win leader, Lance Dewease, with Schatz getting third. Giovanni Scelzi and Reutzel completed the top five.
Rounding out the top 10 on Friday were new Williams Grove champion Danny Dietrich, Brown, Pittman, Fawn Grove’s Matt Campbell and Sweet.
Wilbur triumphs at Path Valley: Steve Wilbur won Saturday’s 40-lap wingless super-sportsman feature at Path Valley Speedway.
Dillan Stake was the limited-late model winner. Hanover's Zane Rudisill won the 600cc micro-sprint feature, and T.J. Greve was the 270cc micro-sprint winner.
Reach Bryan Householder at email@example.com. Quotes for this story was provided by Williams Grove Speedway.