MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — One yellow flag is what changed it all in Saturday’s Morgan Cup finale at Williams Grove Speedway.
Jacob Allen was poised to complete a storybook week, sweeping a swing through his home state of Pennsylvania with first-career wins at Lincoln Speedway and Williams Grove. It was the perfect ending to a perfect week in Posse-land, but then the Shark Racing No. 1a started sputtering as the Newman Racing Engines powerplant starved for fuel with only two laps to go.
Allen had controlled the first 28 laps of the 30 lapper and was pursuing a perfect night after setting the fast time, winning his heat and the dash. But disaster struck as the caution flew moments prior to the white flag waving. 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 said. “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 went from hero to zero, behind him in the right place at the right time was fellow Pennsylvanian Brent Marks.
Marks, 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 with $17,500 and the Morgan Cup trophy awaiting him.
Marks’ victory goes on the scoreboard for the Posse with the rivalry tied at 1-1 with another seven races scheduled this year in The Keystone State. Saturday marked his ninth career win with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and the 14th of his career at Williams Grove Speedway.
“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, it was on the mind of Marks as well and may have won him the race.
The four-wide parade lap before Saturday’s World of Outlaws feature at Williams Grove Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)
“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. “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.”
Allen barely missed out on earning back-to-back wins for the first time in his career.
“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 as Carson Macedo crossed the finish line in second place, but failed to meet the post-race minimum weight requirement and 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 aboard the NOS Energy Drink, Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing No. 17.
He was joined on the podium for the first time in 2022 by third-place finisher Rico Abreu, continuing to show speed since welcoming renowned Crew Chief Ricky Warner to the No. 24 team.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 19-Brent Marks [$17,000]; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$6,000]; 3. 24-Rico Abreu [$3,500]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,800]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,500]; 6. 2-David Gravel [$2,300]; 7. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,200]; 8. 5-Spencer Bayston [$2,100]; 9. 83-James McFadden [$2,050]; 10. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$2,000]; 11. 48-Danny Dietrich [$1,600]; 12. 27-Devon Borden [$400]; 13. 5C-Dylan Cisney [$1,200]; 14. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,100]; 15. 67-Justin Whittall [$1,050]; 16. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,000]; 17. 11-TJ Stutts [$1,000]; 18. 39M-Anthony Macri [$1,000]; 19. 19R-Matt Campbell [$1,000]; 20. 44-Dylan Norris [$]; 21. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,000]; 22. 69K-Lance Dewease [$1,000]; 23. 99M-Kyle Moody [$1,000]; 24. 6D-Ryan Smith [$1,000]; 25. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$1,000]; 26. 41-Carson Macedo [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Jacob Allen 1-28, Brent Marks 29-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 27-Devon Borden[+14]