YORK HAVEN, PA – Brent Marks was coming off a blockbuster 2022 season and was feeling pretty good about backing up a performance that made him the best Sprint Car driver in the country last year.
But it’s been a challenge. The biggest issue has been adjusting to the new tires, which has changed the feel of the car and made winning races a little more difficult.
Marks and his team have continued to search and try things to get better. On Sunday night, it appeared the Myerstown, Pa., driver made progress, as he fought off multiple challenges by Anthony Macri and Danny Dietrich to capture the 30-Lap CH Recovery Kevin Gobrecht Classic Qualifier presented by FK Rod Ends and Chad Baker Drain Cleaning, Plumbing & HVAC and a $5,000 payday.
“We’ve been struggling this year a little bit and have been working really hard on our program to get us back to where we were,” Marks said. “We made a few changes this week that I felt really good Friday night at the Grove, and tonight was really good.
“I’m not sure I’m ever going to get that feeling I had with the other tire, but we are still working on this thing and getting better every night. I’m just really proud of Heath and Fud and all the people who come to the shop during the week and to the racetrack. I’m just very thankful for the group of people who surround me.”
Marks lined up on the pole, but his march to Victory Lane was far from easy. He dominated the early stages of the event, but lapped traffic started to slow his progress and let the tandem of Dietrich and Macri close.
Macri and Dietrich were locked in their own scrum, trading the runner-up position. Dietrich took the spot on the 19th circuit and closed in on Marks, who was bottled up behind a couple of lapped cars.
Dietrich took a flyer through Turns 3 and 4 and held the lead by less than a car-length at the stripe on Lap 21. Marks returned the favor on Lap 22 with a slider through the first and second corner.
“I got held up by a couple of lapped cars,” Marks said. “They were racing side by side, and going into three, I felt like I was close enough to drive in hard and complete a slide job. Every time I did, the other lapped car was right there, and I just wasn’t able to get the right run I needed.
“I lost a lot of ground trying to get around those guys, and it allowed Danny to close up and race me. All and all, I had a good car. I just struggled at that point in the race, but once we cleared that lapped traffic and got back to running my own race, I felt really good.”
Marks slipped away a little bit, which left Dietrich and Macri dicing for the second position over the final eight circuits. Macri was able to clear Dietrich on Lap 27, but the two drivers were still in close quarters for position.
Out front, it was all Marks late. He took the win by 1.968 seconds, with Macri holding on for second, and Dietrich rounding out the podium. Freddie Rahmer started seventh and came up to fourth, while Devon Borden completed the top five.
“I don’t think any of us can say we left anything on the table,” Macri said. “We all ran each other hard, and the best part is that we ran each other clean. I think all three of us had points when we were better than the other.
“I hate losing, but as good as that was, it makes it easier. I gave everything I had. Danny and I were going back and forth, and I felt like we lost time to Brent. With lapped traffic, we caught back up to him. I thought I had a chance, but then Dietrich came back in with the sliders.”
There were 28 RV 4 Wheel Drive & Performance Automotive Sprint Cars checked into the pit area Sunday night. Macri set quick time with a lap of 15.546, with Mark Smith, Dietrich, and Marks scoring heat-race wins. Logan Rumsey won the consolation.
In the FXG Sign and Label/Dickey’s 602 Crate Sportsman main event, Tom Princiotta started on the pole and wired the field in the 20-Lap affair.
Adam White settled into second on Lap 5 and gave chase. He closed on the rear of the leader but couldn’t make a pass for the win.
At the checker, it was Princiotta by a mere .461 seconds. White, Niklas Stoudt, Cody Manmiller, and Michael White completed the top five.
RV 4 Wheel Drive & Performance Automotive 410 Sprint Cars (30 Laps): 1. 19-Brent Marks; 2. 39M-Anthony Macri; 3. 48-Danny Dietrich; 4. 8-Freddie Rahmer; 5. 23-Devon Borden; 6. 19R-Mark Smith; 7. 44-Dylan Norris; 8. 99M-Kyle Moody; 9. 91-Kyle Reinhardt; 10. 45-Jeff Halligan; 11. 00K-Kyle Spence; 12. 10X-Ryan Smith; 13. 1X-Chad Trout; 14. 75-Tyler Ross; 15. 8D-Billy Dietrich; 16. 90-Jordan Givler; 17. 4-Dwight Leppo; 18. 35-Tyler Esh; 19. (DNF) 33-Riley Emig; 20. (DNF) 55-Domenic Melair; 21. (DNF) 69K-Kassidy Kreitz; 22. (DNF) 41-Logan Rumsey; 23. (DNF) 11A-Austin Bishop; 24. (DNF) 99A-Devin Adams.
Lap Leaders: Brent Marks (1-20), Danny Dietrich (21), Marks (22-30)
FXG Sign & Label/Dickey’s Barbecue 602 Crate Sportsman (20 Laps): 1. 32-Tom Princiotta; 2. 15-Adam White; 3. 97-Niklas Stoudt; 4. 00-Cody Manmiller; 5. 43-Michael White; 6. 21-Greg Reed; 7. 44-Bob Stough; 8. 93-Pancho Lawler; 9. B4-Tim Borror; 10. 55-Chase Rehbein; 11. 88-Trent VanVorst; 12. 78-Troy Conrad; 13. (DNF) 53-Joey Vaccaro.
Lap Leaders: Tom Princiotta (1-20)