Fuel plays pivotal role in Brent Marks' World of Outlaws win at Williams Grove

STAFF REPORT
Brent Marks, center, is shown after Saturday's Morgan Cup victory at Williams Grove Speedway. He is flanked by second-place finisher Sheldon Haudenshild, right, and third-place finisher Rico Abreu.

One yellow flag changed everything in Saturday's Morgan Cup finale at Williams Grove Speedway.

Hanover's Jacob Allen was poised to complete a storybook World of Outlaws week, after winning Wednesday’s feature at Lincoln Speedway, which was his first career victory at his home track.

With only two laps left, however, the Shark Racing No. 1A started sputtering. Allen’s Newman Racing Engines powerplant was starved for fuel with only two to go.

Allen had controlled the first 28 laps of the 30-lap contest at the Cumberland County facility and was pursuing a perfect night after registering quick time, a heat win and a dash victory. Then disaster struck. A caution flag flew moments before the waving of the white flag. It was at that moment that Allen knew he had no shot of hanging on.

"I knew immediately when the caution flew that I wasn't gonna make it," Allen told DIRTVision after the race. "I feel like if we stayed green that I could've limped it home, but I still don't know if I could've survived for the win. It's just the name of the game. We'll come back next time with a different strategy and we won't run out."

While Allen’s hopes were dashed, another Pennsylvanian, Brent Marks, was in the right place at the right time.

The Myerstown driver, in fuel conservation mode himself, fought off a bad vibration and non-existent brakes to seize control of the lead with the white flag waving. He survived the final mile with ease and took the Murray-Marks Motorsports No. 19 to victory lane and the $17,500 top prize.

Although he's Pennsylvania's "truest Outlaw," Marks' victory goes on the scoreboard for the Posse, with the rivalry tied at 1-1 with another seven races scheduled this year in Pennsylvania. Saturday marked his ninth career win with the Outlaws and the 14th of his career at Williams Grove.

"It's great to win any of these World of Outlaws races, but these higher-paying ones feel even better," Marks said. "There's no doubt we got extremely lucky, but we had to be in that position to get it done. I can't thank my guys Fud [Dennis Christ] and Heath [Moyle] enough. We destroyed a car on Wednesday, built this thing on Thursday, and here we are in victory lane."

Following an hour-long rain delay, racing resumed at 11 p.m. on Saturday with air density, fueling and weight becoming crucial factors in the program. While Allen ultimately ran out of fuel, it was on the mind of Marks as well and may have won him the race.

"I tried to save as much as I could under yellows by staying totally off the throttle and leaning the engine out as much as possible," Marks noted on his fuel conservation. "I was running out near the end of the dash and with how fast the pace was tonight I knew we should be worried. The track turned out to be pretty sporty after the rainstorm, and we did just enough to make it all the way."

Marks now owns wins from each of the three World of Outlaws trips to Williams Grove - Morgan Cup in May, Summer Nationals in July and National Open in October.

For Allen, he barely missed out on earning back-to-back wins for the first time in his career, which would've given him three Outlaws victories in the last six weeks.

"Sometimes the cards just don't fall your way," Allen added." It's life, though, it goes on. I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of this team. I'm thrilled with how fast we are lately. Being competitive nightly with the World of Outlaws is such a surreal feeling."

The drama didn't end with Allen's fuel light. Carson Macedo crossed the finish line in second place but failed to meet the post-race minimum weight requirement and thus was disqualified. The wild turn of events took the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 from taking over the championship lead to being back down to third and behind by 42 points.

Assuming the runner-up result by default was Sheldon Haudenshild. He was joined on the podium for the first time in 2022 by third-place finisher Rico Abreu. Rounding out the top-10 at Williams Grove was Donny Schatz in fourth, Hanover’s Logan Schuchart in fifth, David Gravel in sixth, Brad Sweet in seventh, Spencer Bayston in eighth, James McFadden in ninth and Giovanni Scelzi in 10th.

Friday night’s Outlaws feature at the Grove was eventually rained out. Early-evening rain on Friday caused the show to be delayed several hours. Then, just as hot laps were being completed, rain hit again, causing the show to be canceled.

OTHER DIRT-TRACK RACING

Spring Grove driver wins at Path Valley: The 358 sprints made an infrequent visit to Path Valley Speedway on Saturday evening, with Spring Grove’s Cameron Smith taking home the victory. 

Smith grabbed the lead from Tyler Ross off the final turn. Ross finished second, with Hayden Miller, Hanover’s Kody Hartlaub and Cody Fletcher in the top five.

In the 305 sprint feature, Garrett Bard was the winner over Zach Rhoads, Etters’ Austin Reed, Kruz Kepner and Mikell McGee.

Kissinger victorious at Clinton County: Ryan Kissinger won Friday’s 305 sprint feature at Clinton County.

Following Kissinger were Ryan Lynn, Jarrett Cavelett, Josh Beamer and Daryl Stimeling.

Peck, Scheurenberg triumph with All Stars: The All Star series raced twice this past weekend. 

At Lake Odessa, Michigan, on Friday it was Justin Peck driving to victory over Tyler Courtney. Hunter Scheurenberg, Zeb Wise and Parker Price Miller completed the top five. Kyle Reinhardt finished seventh.

Saturday at Wayne County, Ohio, Scheurenberg was the winner over Peck, Wise, Price Miller and Courtney. Reinhardt was 17th.

Other racing: Sye Lynch won Friday’s sprint car feature at Lernerville, with A.J. Flick, Dan Shetler, Brandon Matus and Jason Shultz in the top five.

Brian Brown was again the winner at Knoxville on Saturday. Local racer Mike Wagner finished 19th.

Selinsgrove was rained out on Saturday

Bryan Householder and the World of Outlaws provided information for this report.