Marks passes Smith late to win at the Grove

MECHANICSBURG – Brent Marks passed former World of Outlaws driver Stevie Smith in the final corner to win the sprint car feature at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night.

For Marks, of Myerstown, it was his first Grove win of the season and fifth overall in central Pennsylvania in 2013. The victory was worth $3,600.

“That was a tough one the way the track was tonight,” Marks said. “The track was awesome. I give the Grove props for doing a great job tonight. The way the track was, it was very hard to drive. I was lucky to get into some lapped traffic and with no yellows, I was able to run Stevie down. I had a good race with him.”

Smith started second and drove around Bob Bennett off turn two to grab the lead on the opening lap. Marks started sixth and quickly moved up into the fourth spot. Marks battled Greg Hodnett for third before securing the spot on lap five.

Meanwhile, Smith was building a big lead at the front of the field.

Marks drove by Bennett off the top of turn two to take over the runner-up spot. Hodnett, Lance Dewease and Brian Montieth also passed Bennett.

Smith got to lapped traffic at lap 11 and his car was not the same after that as Marks began to run him down. Smith tried to lap cars using the inside line, but couldn’t find enough speed.

With 10 laps to go, Marks cut his advantage to a half straightaway. Marks tried to lap Chad Layton in turn four and lost ground back to Smith with nine to go.

He caught back up and tried a first turn pass on lap 18, but Smith lead with Marks on his bumper under the flagstand the next time around.

Hodnett was closing in on the battle for the lead as Smith hung on to it.

Marks shot under Smith in the third turn on the final lap. He made the move work this time and emerged the leader off turn four headed for the checkered flag. Hodnett, Dewease and Montieth rounded out the top five.

“I knew he was going to block my slider,” Marks said about Smith in the final turns. “I figured I was going to go for it anyway. The bottom still had some bite and it worked out great. He didn’t enter low enough and I was able to get the bottom lane and slide up in front of him off of four. I was expecting him to turn back underneath me, but luckily he lost his momentum.”

Alan Krimes, Ryan Smith, point leader Fred Rahmer, Danny Dietrich and Cory Haas completed the top 10. The 10-lap heat races for the 21-car field were won by Haas, Dietrich and Smith.

In the 25-lap championship race for the 358 sprints cars, Kevin Nouse took the lead from D.J. Montgomery on lap 16 and went on to post the $1,500 win. Tim Berkheimer, Montgomery, Dale Hammaker and Matt Mountz completed the top five.