Williams Grove, PA (September 24, 2021): After years of trying, “Blackjack” Brian Brown finally scored a win at Williams Grove Speedway. The driver from Grain Valley, MO has racked up quite a resume throughout the midwest, especially at Knoxville Raceway, where he is a multi-time champion in both the 360 and 410 Sprint Car divisions. With the backing of one of his sponsors, he has relocated to the mid-state area for the months of September and October each of the last few seasons in search of an elusive win at Williams Grove Speedway. Well, now he has added his name to one of the most prestigious winner’s lists in the world of Sprint Car racing.
“I’ll tell you what, when you start racing Sprint Cars, there are three tracks where you want to win. One is Knoxville, Iowa, and we’ve had a lot of success there; one is Eldora, and we’ve been close there; and the other is Williams Grove, and we got it tonight.” For Brown, it did not matter that this was a “just a weekly” show, “we can put this (the commemorative checkered flag) in our shop forever.” Actually, Brown understated his accomplishment, as the race was part of the track’s Diamond Series, which uses time trials to set the line-ups and pays an enhanced purse.
Brown admitted that his car was not best this night, but it certainly was good enough. “I think that I got a little bit lucky with Brent (Marks) falling out. I wasn’t that far behind him when we got to traffic. We took back off and it felt like my left rear tire was flat, so I took it easy.” But, then the “Daredevil,” Devon Borden, slid by an unsuspecting Brown in turn three inside five to go, and Brown said “I knew that I had to get going.”
The Outlaws style format put Dash winner Marks on the front row, with Borden on his flank. Brown and Lucas Wolfe were in the second row, with Giovanni Scelzi paired up with now seven-time track champion Lance Dewease in the third. Anthony Macri and Aaron Bollinger made up row four, followed by Robbie Kendall and Danny Dietrich. Row six had Chase Dietz and Landon Myers.
As anticipated, Marks bolted into the lead, followed by Borden, Brown and Scelzi. Wolfe kept Dewease at bay and Macri and Dietrich were close behind fighting for an advantage.
Marks was separating himself from the pack when Brown moved into second on lap two. Marks had a comfortable lead when he caught the slower cars, but Brown began to close in.
While Marks was working his way through the back markers, something broke and his car suddenly slowed. He coasted to a stop between turns one and two and that gave the lead to Brown for the restart.
Brown got away cleanly on the green, and Macri began to challenge Dewease for fourth. He made the slider work in turn three, one of Dewease’s favorite moves, and Macri took over the position. He then set his sights on Scelzi, who was chasing Borden at the time. The three young drivers did get nose to tail briefly in traffic, but when they got to a clear space, they began to separate from each other.
By lap twenty, Borden caught Brown. On the next round, Borden dove low into turn three and slid up in front of the leader. Borden came off turn four with a slight advantage and was scored as the new leader. His time out front was short, though. Brown charged back at him. With Borden on the cushion, Brown went low into turn one. He drew up beside Borden and they went through turn two dead even. Brown powered off the corner and had a car length on Borden as they entered turn three.
The brief attack by Borden seemed to light a fire under Brown. He began to pull away in the closing laps and had a margin of victory of 0.794 seconds.
Following Brown and Borden were Scelzi, Macri, and Dewease. Dietrich climbed up to sixth, followed by Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Wolfe, Matt Campbell, and Justin Whittal.
“This is a tough track,” Brown noted, “and we’re getting better.” He was worried that he might be wearing out his crew chief, his uncle, Danny Lasoski. He explained that he kept complaining about his car every time that he came off the track, but Lasoski “kept making it better.” Brown also gave props to his engine builder, Charlie Garrett. “This is Charlie Garrett country, and I am glad to get one here for him.”
The heat wins went to Brown, Dewease, and Wolfe, who were the top three qualifiers as well. Brown’s time was 16.417, earning him the bonus money for the second week in a row. There was no B Main.
Derek Locke made some history in the 358 Sprint Car feature. He took his eighth of the season. In fact, including the final 358 race of 2020, Lock has been undefeated in nine consecutive events.
Locke noted that his crew deserved all of the credit. “They worked hard all winter to get ready and they’ve worked hard all season long.” The work has not ended, however. Locke announced that he has already started to build a 410 Sprint Car for a partial season in 2022. Locke plans to defend his 358 title at Williams Grove, but the team will run some programs at the Grove with the 410 and at other area speedways when there will be no conflict.
Colby Womer and Steve Wilbur led the 358 Sprints to the green, with Tyler Brehm and John Stehman in row two. Locke and Rich Eichelberger made up row three.
Womer grabbed the lead but an incident in turn three led to a complete restart. Womer repeated his maneuver and Wilbur settled into second. Then Brehm moved by Wilbur and Locke also moved up to third. Locke took over the second spot on lap two and he chased Brehm for the next ten laps.
Locke moved to the inside in turns three and four and pinned Brehm behind a lapped car. Locke scooted by at the flagstand to take the lead.
Soon thereafter, Womer surrendered his spot in the top five when he limped off the track on just three wheels.
After the checkers flew for Locke, Brehm crossed in second, with Justin Foster, Stehman, and Brett Wanner earning top five finishes. Wilbur, Matt Findley, Cody Fletcher, Eichelberger, and Mark VanVorst completed the top ten.
Heat winners for the 358 Sprints were Womer and Wilbur. There was no B Main.
Williams Grove Speedway will return to action October 1 and 2 for the 59th running of the National Open. This World of Outlaws event will pay $75,000 to the winner, making it the fourth highest paying race of the 2021 season behind the two King’s Royal races and the Knoxville Nationals. The National Open will conclude the season at Williams Grove Speedway.