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Williams Grove Speedway's National Open to offer record-breaking $75,000 to 2020 winner

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Brent Marks
  • Williams Grove Speedway's National Open is set for Saturday, Oct. 3.
  • The race will offer $75,000 to the winner, the richest prize in the history of the track.
  • Brent Marks is the defending champion of the race, which is sanctioned by the World of Outlaws.

The richest race in the history of Williams Grove Speedway recently got richer.

Speedway officials announced Friday night that the track's 58th annual National Open on Saturday, Oct. 3, will pay $75,000 to the winner, up from $65,000 a year ago.

The two-day World of Outlaws 410 sprint program at the Cumberland County facility is sponsored by Champion Racing Oil. The Friday, Oct. 2, show will feature a 30-lap main event paying $10,000 to win, while Saturday’s 40-lap feature offers up the $75,000 prize.

Just as in 2019, the 2020 National Open will be the biggest cash payday ever in the history of the Mechanicsburg-area oval. It's also the biggest sprint payday on the East Coast.

This season, the Oct. 3 feature will also offer the biggest one-day payday in the nation for the sprints. The Oct. 3 program will offer a total purse of more than $135,000.

The National Open started at the Grove in 1963. The event paid $25,000 to win in 2001 before jumping to $30,000 in 2002 and then to $50,000 in 2006.

The 2020 increase marks the third year in a row that the winner's share has been increased. David Gravel pocketed $50,000 for the win in 2017 followed by $56,00 that went to 2018 winner Lance Dewease. Last year’s winner, Brent Marks of Myerstown, took home $65,000.

Save for two years when rain forced postponements, the Outlaws series has sanctioned the Open every year since 1989.

The race went to 40 laps in 1993, with distances set at 50, 75, 100 and 150 laps at times since the event’s inception.

Hastings’ Michigan driver Gordon Johncock won the inaugural race. Johncock went on to win two Indy 500 titles.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.