PORT ROYAL, Pa. – Brent Marks took the checkered flag handed to him in victory lane Saturday at Port Royal Speedway and pointed at Barry Jackson, his crew chief who has things trending upward at an opportune time.
Marks kicked off fair week Saturday night at Port Royal in a big way, powering from ninth to lead the final 12 laps and score a 1.173 second victory over Anthony Macri. It’s Marks’ second win of the season at the half-mile and third overall in central Pennsylvania.
“This team is doing a fantastic job,” Marks said. “They’ve done it all year. I’m comfortable in the race car. Everyone is making good decisions. We’re running up front. It just feels really.”
Speed has been there all season for Marks and CJB Motorsports, and during the last month it’s yielded much-needed results. After going through the month of July without a win on the year season, Marks now has three wins since Aug. 8 and a handful of other outings that could have ended the same way.
Marks made it known early Saturady he wasn’t about to be denied. Before the 25-lap main event became three laps old, he raced to fourth from ninth and began to work away at Justin Whittal, Ryan Hobaugh and Ryan Smith.
“I needed to get up there as quick as I could,” Marks said. “Because where we were starting, cars that were starting around us, especially Macri who has been really good this year, you don’t want them getting to the front before you do.”
Macri, who started alongside Marks and boasts five wins at Port Royal this year, didn’t make his way into the top four until lap 10. By then, Marks hounded Whittal for the lead and finally took the point on a pass off turn two on lap 14.
Macri moved into second shortly after and Lance Dewease, who started 11th, slid into third. The three, Marks, Macri, and Dewease stayed within three tenths of each other as the laps dwindled and with seven to go made it a three-wide battle for the lead on the backstretch.
Just as things were heating up, track point leader Logan Wagner brought out the caution to stack up the field. Prior to the stoppage, Marks had beat Macri to the line by .035 seconds with Dewease just .172 seconds back.
Marks then staved off two late challenges by Macri on restarts with seven and four to go to hoist the checkered flag in the concrete-slabbed victory lane. In 2015, Marks kicked off fair week in similar fashion: with a win. He went on to sweep the week.
“It’s good,” Marks said. “I’m excited to go into [Tuscarora] 50 week.”
Macri and Dewease finished on the podium. Mike Wagner, who cut his points deficit to 42 going into Monday, finished fourth. Whittal (13 laps led) settled for fifth.
Jeff Halligan, Ryan Smith, Brian Brown, Blane Heimbach and A.J. Flick rounded out the top 10. Robert Ballou started fourth and finished 16th.
Wagner failed to finish the race in 23rd, seven laps down. He carries a 45-point lead into Monday’s Labor Day Classic over his dad, Mike Wagner.