By Brian Walker
MECHANICSBURG, PA – October 19, 2022 – After sitting idle for three weeks, Williams Grove Speedway will roar back to life this Saturday, October 22 as the 60th Champion Racing Oil National Open is finished with $75,000 on the line – the fifth-richest winners share in Sprint Car Racing this year.
Postponed by the remnants of Hurrican Ian at the start of the month, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will now battle the PA Posse in what will be the sixth-latest National Open through six decades of competition at the Mechanicsburg, PA 1/2-mile.
While the Outlaws vs. Posse rivalry takes center stage in Central Pennsylvania, eyes nationwide are glued on the championship battle between Brad Sweet and David Gravel with only four races left. Sweet – chasing his fourth consecutive crown – currently leads Gravel – going for his first title – by 54 points. Gravel has made it interesting down the stretch, beating Sweet in five-straight races to cut 42 points out of what was once a 96-point advantage.
Saturday’s one-night stand for 75 grand will begin with gates opening at 4:00pm ET followed by Hot Laps on track at 6:00pm ET.
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Let’s preview what to watch for this Saturday on DIRTVision.com:
SIX FORMER CHAMPS: Highlighting a loaded field with nearly 50 entries expected is a group of six former champions of the National Open at Williams Grove, a list that equally features three full-time Outlaws and three of PA’s finest.
Carson Macedo, of Lemoore, CA, made it six winners in the last six years when he drove by Logan Schuchart in dramatic fashion to lead the final five laps of the 2021 race, becoming the 35th champion in event history. This weekend, he’ll have a shot at becoming the seventh man to win back-to-back National Open titles and the first since Donny Schatz did it in 2004-05.
Donny Schatz, of Fargo, ND, owns more National Open belts than anyone else with six titles to his name, including his most recent in 2020. The Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15 driver has won a whopping 21 times at Williams Grove, more than anywhere else throughout his prolific World of Outlaws career. He’ll look to do it one more time with a seventh National Open title available this weekend.
Lance Dewease, of Fayetteville, PA, ended a three-year drought against the World of Outlaws when the Series visited his home turf in July. Lately, the Kreitz Racing #69K has been on fire at Williams Grove, winning four-straight races at the track, including a rain-shortened National Open preliminary on September 30. A fifth consecutive W would give Dewease his fifth National Open title, which would break a tie with Steve Kinser (4) for second-most in event history.
Brent Marks, of Myerstown, PA, won his 2019 National Open when he was a full-time Outlaw and now he wants to win one for the PA Posse. Three of his remarkable 17 victories this season have come at Williams Grove, including a World of Outlaws win during May’s Morgan Cup. A $75,000 payout for the Murrary-Marks #19 gasser would only boast his record as the richest Sprint Car driver of 2022.
David Gravel, of Watertown, CT, has thrived at Williams Grove more than any other venue on the World of Outlaws schedule, scoring eight of his 76 career wins at the 1/2-mile. No stranger to controversial endings at the National Open, this two-time champion is one of the most polarizing faces when the Outlaws come to face the Posse. It’ll be no different this weekend as he aims to be the seventh to reach three titles.
Danny Dietrich, of Gettysburg, PA, currently sits on 28 career Williams Grove wins entering the weekend with three of those earned this year. He swept the All Star Circuit of Champions Twin 20s in August and enters second in the track standings. Along with Marks, the Gary Kauffman Racing #48 driver is trying to become the 13th multi-time National Open champion this weekend.
BREAKING THROUGH: There are several contenders who could win their first National Open belt this weekend, making it seven champions over the last seven years.
Brad Sweet, of Grass Valley, CA, finally conquered Williams Grove in his 53rd career start during the July doubleheader. It was made possible thanks to years of dedication and a one-off car built by his Kasey Kahne Racing #49 crew specifically for the tricky 1/2-mile. The championship leader has pulled that car off the shelves, loaded it into the trailer, and is ready to see if they can do it again with $ 75,000 to win this weekend.
Anthony Macri, of Dillsburg, PA, finally cleared the hump in a big way, winning his first and second World of Outlaws Features when he swept Port Royal (PA) Speedway two weeks ago. The 23-year-old is now a 23-time winner this year with three of those coming in Mechanicsburg. Since September, “The Concrete Kid” has won $60,000 at Port Royal’s Tuscarora 50, $26,000 at Selinsgrove’s National Open, and now eyes $75,000 at Williams Grove’s National Open.
Sheldon Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH, has improved vastly at Williams Grove. Jac’s son started his career at the track with a 14.4 average finish through his first 20 World of Outlaws starts but has turned that around with a victory and six podiums in his last eight starts. The NOS Energy Drink #17 team is trying to add a $75,000 National Open score to go along with their $100,000 High Bank Nationals title this year.
James McFadden, of Alice Springs, NT, heads into Saturday’s show as the most recent World of Outlaws winner – topping Lakeside (KS) to snap an 81-race drought in his first win with Roth Motorsports. The Australian ace is no stranger to Williams Grove, earning his first-career victory with the Series there in 2017 and placing on the podium of the National Open that same year.
IT MEANS MORE: Hailing from the state of Pennsylvania, National Open weekend has a way of putting a little pep into the step of Shark Racing, Brock Zearfoss Racing, and CJB Motorsports.
Logan Schuchart, of Hanover, PA, was closer than ever to his first taste of National Open glory last year, leading laps and finishing second while donning the throwback scheme for his grandfather and 1975 champion, Bobby Allen. The #1S pilot finished third in 2021, then second last year, and now hopes to finally break through for that first $75,000 crown at Williams Grove.
Jacob Allen, of Hanover, PA, experienced his own form of Williams Grove heartbreak earlier this year when he led the majority of May’s World of Outlaws race before running out of fuel. The #1A, which still dons the Bobby Allen throwback look, is amid a career-best streak of 13 consecutive top-10 finishes with Allen at the wheel. After earning a $25,000 Gold Cup last month, Jacob hopes to one-up himself with a $75,000 win this time.
Brock Zearfoss, of Jonestown, PA, returns to the site of his first-career World of Outlaws win this weekend, a score that came in 2017 before his move to full-time status. The #3Z driver also earned his National Open career-best that year, finishing ninth, a mark he hopes to top this weekend.
Spencer Bayston, of Lebanon, IN, is far from a Pennsylvania native, but his team (CJB Motorsports) and crew chief (Barry Jackson) are rooted deep in the state. The first-year combination has already won twice as Bayston leads the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year chase and now eyes a big chance for a big weekend close to the #5 shop.
THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
WHEN AND WHERE
Saturday, October 22 at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA
ON THE INTERNET
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Twitter – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – @WoOSprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsSprintCarSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (70/74 Races):
1. 49-Brad Sweet (8,752 PTS); 2. 2-David Gravel (-54 PTS); 3. 41-Carson Macedo (-136 PTS); 4. 15-Donny Schatz (-240 PTS); 5. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild (-258 PTS); 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart (-394 PTS); 7. 83-James McFadden (-474 PTS); 8. 5-Spencer Bayston (-620 PTS); 9. 1A-Jacob Allen (-706 PTS); 10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss (-972 PTS)