Race Weekend Central

This Weekend in Dirt: Brent Marks, PA Posse Grab Williams Grove National Open

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Brent Marks scored the biggest victory of 2023 for the Pennsylvania Posse, denying Daryn Pittman of a much-desired career bookmark with a convincing victory in the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania Saturday night (Sept. 30).

Marks was the actual polesitter for the Open feature but fell back to third early in to the clutches of Justin Peck and Pittman. It wasn’t until a red flag on lap 16 that took out both James McFadden and Logan Schuchart that saw Marks find the high side of the notoriously narrow Grove surface, a high side that saw the “Myerstown Missile” blast by Pittman and never look back to score the $75,000 victory, his biggest of 2023. 

2023 NATIONAL OPEN RACE RESULTS

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Incidents were fortunately few and far between at the Grove this weekend, but the one red flag of the National Open was an ugly one that saw Outlaw regulars McFadden and Schuchart go for a nasty tumble.

Fortunately, both drivers walked away from this incident, but the wreck had ramifications for both teams, as a rain-out Friday meant that the Outlaw regular teams had to run a second 25-lap feature Saturday after the Open (more on that later). McFadden ended up not even starting the second feature on the night, while Schuchart ended up having to take over teammate Tanner Holmes’ ride to continue his battle for the top five in points.

Schuchart finished 23rd in the second feature and left Williams Grove sixth in points.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

I get the rain out forcing a schedule change, but I really think the Outlaws made a mistake tacking a second feature on the end of Saturday night after the crown-jewel National Open feature finished. Seeing National Open champion Marks on track racing for a top-10 finish in a 25-lap feature not 15 minutes after winning a crown-jewel race really put a damper on the victory meaning much of anything.

Having said that, I’d have loved to see the proposed schedule below get run Saturday, but I’m not clueless. No team is going to want to run a $10k-to-win show BEFORE running for the $75,000 National Open.

If I was in charge, I’d have canceled the $10k show, paid start money to those that had qualified for it and put the rest of the purse into the National Open payout through the field. After all, there were no refunds issued from Friday’s program, as heat races had been completed.

Though despite Johnny Gibson’s observations, I can empathize with fans that felt short-changed Friday night. A track making an effort (i.e. skipping the formalities and getting the race going) will always score points.

The stats don’t lie, Williams Grove is historically a track that’s hard to pass on.

That was not the case Saturday night. Multiple green-flag passes for the lead, Peck came and went through pretty much the entire top 10 during the event, this was a racy feature. And honestly, the Grove has not been short of features worth watching in 2023. Besides, the fans spoke for themselves with the turnout Saturday night.

Dirt Racing’s Hero(es) of the Weekend

Veteran Pittman’s post-race interview was crushing to hear, as he came up one spot short in a career-long quest to win the National Open.

Still, Pittman’s drive was impressive all race long and worthy of the Kreitz Racing No. 69K ride that is only two years removed from its unplanned 2021 track championship campaign at the Grove. 

Dirt Racing’s Victim(s) of the Weekend

Schuchart was undoubtedly the victim in the McFadden/Schuchart tangle. One of Pennsylvania’s biggest races was undoubtedly cruel to the top-running PA driver in the Outlaw ranks.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Wednesday morning (Oct. 4) with coverage of the High Limit Racing Series from Bridgeport Motorsports Park in New Jersey. Streaming coverage can be found on Flo Racing.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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