By DEAN REYNOLDS
WEEDSPORT, NY – When the World of Outlaws (WoO) traveling road show heads west in search of the biggest pot of gold. They had one more stop in the Northeast at the ultra-modern Weedsport Speedway. I’m sure coming into the night all eyes in the full grandstands were on a Schatz, a Gravel, a Sweet, a Pittman, etc…
When Dave Farney waved the double checkered flag it was a local dude of sorts claiming the $10,000 top prize. When in the Empire State, when you’re thinking local of sorts you’re probably figuring Gravel from Connecticut, or was it Lucas Wolfe from Pa., maybe even last year’s runner-up Logan Schuchart? Or….
But on this night the domination was performed by Brent Marks. The sophomore driver on the WoO trail did have to hold off a high side charging Sheldon Haudenschild and a upstart Jacob Allen. What made it dominating was that he did lead all 35-laps and lapped up to the eighth place finishing Ian Madsen for his second win of the season.
Marks has been documented in these pages of DTD before, and it was even by this guy behind the keyboard at this moment. He had the tape recorder (ok, cell phone just recording) in front of him after a near win at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio where he had the field covered before a flat tire forced him pit side.
Back then he told us how he is starting to feel comfortable being on the road for the second year, telling us how the results were improving, telling us, well, he now feels like an Outlaw.
Marks leads a stat and leads by far. It’s a jekyl and hyde stat of collecting more hard chargers than anyone else. Over the last two years, he has passed more cars than anyone else. It’s good as he is passing cars but it’s bad as he isn’t starting up front that often.
“We just need to time trial better, once we can do that I think we can get some really good finishes and maybe some wins.”…that was Marks in Ohio.
While it still wasn’t a stellar time trial run, Marks timed 11th fastest out of 21, he then took second in his heat which put him in the dash. The redraw put him on the pole of the dash which he won. The rest was history.
So the moral of the story on this night is just like Mr. Marks said, if he can get himself to start further up front, he can get some better finishes and some wins. On this beautiful Sunday night in Upstate NY he was indeed a prophet.
“We are running good right now and making the right changes during the night,” he simply said. “We aren’t over thinking things and making good decisions. All that is coming from more and more time on the road. With that I am also driving better so it’s starting to come together.”
He continued, “As a team we just keeping trying to be better early in the night to have more chances to start up front. We really don’t get down as we know we are passing cars so we know it will be a matter of time before that part of the night comes to us.”
While Marks did lead all laps after starting on the pole, ironically it was all the time he’s getting passing cars that was the biggest help. When his familiar No. 19 hit lapped traffic, well he was right at home.
“Yea, I guess you can say I’m kind of comfortable running in traffic and I can be aggressive as I know what lines to look for to make passes,” Marks noted. “With the race going non-stop that was key. Especially when I saw Sheldon (Haudenschild) under me I knew I had to kick up the pace in the traffic.”
With his second win under his belt and he’s almost amassed as many top tens as all of last year Marks is now looking to improve other aspects on the tour.
“Our short track program seems to be real strong, we just need to get better on the half miles,” he said which can baffle some as he grew up on the Central Pa., half-miles. “Believe it or not, most of the Outlaw tour is on shorter tracks so we don’t have much time on the bigger ones and especially this year we have been rained out on most of them (bigger tracks).”
Marks then admitted, “I think some of the reason for the struggles is we concentrated on those short tracks and probably slacked off on the bigger ones and the results show. So we need to work on that some to get that part of our program better.”
As the Outlaws head west to Missouri and then the largest Sprint Car race in the world, the Knoxville Nationals stuff gets real as they say. Marks of course always enters an event to look for a win, but he also knows right now that will be a longshot at the Marion County Fairgrounds.
“Right now I will be happy to just get into the race, we made it in 2015 but missed the last two years,” he said with a confident tone. “But, if we can get into the race and with it being 50 laps I think we can pass some cars and get a good finish.”
Marks’ box score says ninth in Outlaw points, two wins and 18 finishes in the top ten. From rookie last year getting his feet wet to his position in the Outlaw standings now I think you can easily say he’s right on pace to climb the WoO ladder to a solid WoO career.