NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — It was five years ago this month when Brock Zearfoss scored one for the PA Posse at the 2017 Summer Nationals, recording his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win at Williams Grove Speedway.
Since then, 1,807 days had passed and 169 races had come and gone with zero wins against The Greatest Show on Dirt.
On Saturday night, that streak was finally snapped as Zearfoss triumphed at Cedar Lake Speedway, beating reigning champ Brad Sweet and earning one of the sweetest wins of his career.
It’s no secret that the process has been grueling for the Jonestown, PA native since joining the Series full-time in 2021. There were nights when Zearfoss wanted to throw in the towel and head back home, but when you love it this much, he knew deep down that was never an option.
On this night, the 31-year-old runner went wheel-to-wheel with Brad Sweet’s Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 on a racy three-eighths-mile surface, and straight up outran the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion.
“I’m speechless,” an emotional Zearfoss said. “Nobody really knows how hard this team has worked. They’ve never given up on me, even on the nights that I think they should’ve. It’s not easy out here at all. I’ve been in this sport a long time, but racing at all these new tracks with this Series is so damn challenging. You get your butt kicked every single night against the Outlaws. This shows how far our team has come. We’ve been getting a lot better, and I hope this is only the start.
“I’ve told myself plenty of times that I should be coming off the road and that I can’t do this anymore, but deep in my heart I know this is where I need to be. We’ve all worked so hard to get to this level, we belong here and I want to prove that. It’s been a long time coming for sure. This is amazing.”
Offering three different leaders for the sixth consecutive race, the fourth-starting Zearfoss never assumed command until after halfway when a chaotic caution stripped second-running Giovanni Scelzi, third-running David Gravel, and fourth-running Logan Schuchart.
The lap-19 restart proved to be the ultimate game changer as Zearfoss fired off next to Sweet and executed a pitch-perfect run into turn one to steal the lead away.
Sweet gave it all he had over the final 16 laps and found his way to Zearfoss’ rear bumper on several occasions, but a timely caution halted his shot at the No. 3z each time.
“I knew I needed to nail that restart,” Zearfoss said. “I knew my car was great in clean air, but I figured Brad would be the man to beat if I had to get too deep into lap traffic. I just needed to be consistent, but let me tell you that’s not east with the No. 49 breathing down your neck.”
Stretching out a 3.182-second margin of victory at the line, Zearfoss rode off into the sunset as a last-lap blunder by Sweet allowed David Gravel to complete a miraculous effort in his Big Game Motorsports No. 2. Gravel went to the work area with a flat right rear tire on lap 19, then drove from 16th-to-sixth in a quick six laps and finished second.
“I just can’t win a race here lately,” Gravel noted. “We didn’t give up, though, and I knew it would be a fight when my guys got the new tire on and sent me back out. We’ve been struggling a bit in the A-Main, but that changed tonight. I have to say congratulations to Brock. It can be depressing out here getting your butt kicked every night, but moments like that for him are why you work so hard.”
Sweet continued his otherworldly career at Cedar Lake with an 11th podium finish in his last 12 starts at the track.
“I made a huge mistake choosing the top on that restart,” Sweet said. “It’s funny because I complained last night when Donny [Schatz] was in the same situation, and I did it the same way tonight. Once I lost the lead we just never got back to lap traffic and I needed that. We’ll turn our focus to these big money races coming up next.”
The Shark Racing duo of Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen rounded out the top five.
Feature (35 Laps): 1. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$10,000]; 2. 2-David Gravel [$6,000]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [$3,500]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,800]; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,500]; 6. 73-Scotty Thiel [$2,300]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,200]; 8. 5-Spencer Bayston [$2,100]; 9. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,050]; 10. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$2,000]; 11. 7S-Robbie Price [$1,600]; 12. 83-James McFadden [$1,400]; 13. 34DD-Brooke Tatnell [$1,200]; 14. 24T-Christopher Thram [$1,100]; 15. 23-Russel Borland [$1,050]; 16. 97-Alan Gilbertson [$1,000]; 17. 49J-Josh Schneiderman [$1,000]; 18. 6-Bill Rose [$1,000]; 19. 84-Scott Bogucki [$1,000]; 20. 9-Kasey Kahne [$1,000]; 21. 1AU-Marcus Dumesny [$1,000]; 22. 41-Carson Macedo [$1,000]; 23. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$1,000]; 24. 199-Ryan Bowers [$1,000]