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Marks wins feature but Dietrich named champ

SELINSGROVE — Danny Dietrich and Brent Marks went into the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek finale at Selinsgrove Speedway Sunday night battling for the series championship and ended up battling for the feature win as well.

In the end, it was Marks getting by Dietrich for the $7,500 win in the Jan Opperman/Dick Bogar/Ralph Heintzelman Sr. Memorial, and Dietrich hanging on for his second career Speedweek championship in the Gary Kauffman No. 48. His other title came in 2016.

Dietrich didn’t win a race, but had seven top four finishes in eight races. He beat Marks by 24 points (1046-1022). Rico Abreu, Justin Peck and Paul McMahan were top five in final points.

“We knew we had to show up and win the thing to win the points deal,” Marks said. “Danny just didn’t fall back far enough for me. He’s always good here. I knew it was going to be tough. Really needed that race last night (Port Royal).”

“It was a great week for us,” Marks said. “Our car is really fast. I feel like we can run top three every night. We just had some gremlins this week that really hurt us. Proud to show everybody that we have speed in our car. I’m having a lot of fun driving it.”

“Tonight, we had the fastest car in my opinion,” Dietrich said. “Lapped cars were difficult and sometimes you’re better off running second when the leader gets to them.”

Dietrich raced into the lead of the 30-lap finale from his second starting spot. Marks raced from fourth to second on the opening lap and took a shot at the lead, but couldn’t make the pass. Kyle Reinhardt was third.

Marks stayed right with Dietrich racing around a fast cushion. They began lapping slower cars with six laps completed and about three car lengths separated the leaders.

Both drivers negotiated the slower cars. Dietrich dropped off the cushion a few times, while Marks stayed glued to the cushion.

Dietrich put a lapped car between him and Marks and had a 1-second lead when the yellow flew with nine laps completed.

Both drivers blasted the cushion on the restart, while Reinhardt drove inside nearly taking second. Marks was on Dietrich’s bumper down the frontstretch as they completed lap 11. He didn’t drop low to try a slider, but stayed right behind Dietrich on the cushion in turns one and two.

The yellow flew again when Anthony Macri slowed on the frontstretch with a crushed header.

Dietrich built about a second lead again by the half-way point. They pulled away from Reinhardt and starting lapping cars again with 12 to go.

Marks stayed on the cushion as Dietrich dropped low again entering turn one. Marks got a great run at Dietrich down the backstretch and tried a slider, but couldn’t hold it and Dietrich led with seven to go. Marks took another shot at him in one and two, but Dietrich turned back under him off turn two and down the backstretch.

Marks made the pass stick in turns three and four grabbing the lead with five to go. Dietrich had his nose wing coming off after contact with a lapped car.

“I was staying aggressive up top and Danny was starting to get off of it just a tick when he got to traffic,” Marks said. “I was keeping the right rear in it the whole time. I knew I needed lapped traffic because it was very fast around the top and he had a good car. I was able to stay right there with him, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make a pass until we got to traffic.”

“I felt like I was better than he was because even in clean air, I was inching up on him every lap,” Marks said. “I knew when I got to him, I wasn’t going to be able to make a pass because of how much momentum he could carry. I wanted to make sure I hit my marks and didn’t make any mistakes.”

Marks streaked away to a 2.122 second win -his third of the Speedweek series, and sixth in central PA this season, while Dietrich settled for second.

“It feels good to win overall, but we’re here for wins,” Dietrich said. “It’s just frustrating. We were so close all week long, but it’s like the stars don’t align. The nose wing broke back there, but it didn’t affect us. We had some lapped cars that were racing us pretty hard. It just didn’t work out. Brent was fast all week long. We were fast all week long. I felt we had the faster car, especially in clean air.”

“I just want to win some races,” Dietrich said.

Reinhardt crossed third, but was light at the scales and disqualified. Rico Abreu, Lance Dewease, and Justin Peck completed the top five. Logan Wagner, Paul McMahan, Lucas Wolfe, Pat Cannon, and Matt Campbell rounded out the top 10.

Macri set quick time over the 33-car field with a lap of 16.923 seconds. Abreu, Marks, Dietrich and McMahan won the heat races. Dylan Cisney won the B-main.

Selinsgrove’s 75th anniversary race comes up on Tuesday night, July 20 featuring the 410 Sprints and super late models. The speedway’s first race was Tuesday July 20, 1946.

Sprint Car Feature (30 laps): 1. Brent Marks. 2. Danny Dietrich. 3. Rico Abreu. 4. Lance Dewease. 5. Justin Peck. 6. Logan Wagner. 7. Paul McMahan. 8. Lucas Wolfe. 9. Pat Cannon. 10. Matt Campbell. 11. Blane Heimbach. 12. Jason Shultz. 13. Kyle Reinhardt. 14. Devon Borden. 15. Steve Buckwalter. 16. Cody Keller. 17. Ryan Smith. 18. Alex Bright. 19. Mike Wagner. 20. Sam Hafertepe Jr. 21. Anthony Macri. 22. Chase Dietz. 23. Dylan Cisney. 24. Kyle Moody. Did Not Qualify: TJ Stutts, Dylan Norris, Dustin Baney, Curt Stroup, Colby Womer, Greg Plank, Mike Walter II, Justin Whittall. Did Not Start: Mark Smith.

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