Brad Sweet celebrates his second career win at Williams Grove (Pa.) Speedway. (Julia Johnson Photo)

Sweet Stomps Posse In Morgan Cup At The Grove

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — In dominant fashion, Brad Sweet stomped the competition at Williams Grove Speedway Friday night to take the first of two Morgan Cup trophies set to be handed out this weekend. 

It was the fourth win of the season for the four-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion, as he notched his second victory at the half-mile Central Pennsylvania oval. 

Along with the coveted Morgan Cup, Sweet banked $10,000 for his powerful drive. 

“Williams Grove is always tough. I drew the pole for the dash, so I knew it was a good opportunity to keep it out front as long as I didn’t make any mistakes,” Sweet told SPEED SPORT. “Luckily tonight, we were able to do it.

“We dug ourselves out of a hole, starting the heat, ran second. That was kind of the key factor. I’m really proud of our effort, but definitely need to make some improvements and come back a little stronger tomorrow.”  

The current World of Outlaws points leader showed speed from the moment the No. 49 hit the track for hot laps as he finished second in his heat, scored the Toyota Dash and the 25-lap feature. 

Once the green flag waved, Sweet’s No. 49 Kasey Kahne Racing machine checked out on the field, quickly gapping second-place running Rico Abreu. While Sweet dropped the hammer, Abreu hung strong in second ahead of Brent Marks, Carson Macedo and Wednesday’s Lincoln Speedway winner Anthony Macri. 

Rico Abreu (24), dives underneath Brad Sweet for position during the Morgan Cup at Williams Grove. (Julia Johnson Photo)

The first caution came on lap five with a spinning Sam Hafertepe in turn three.

On the ensuing restart, Abreu was ready as he used momentum to go low on Sweet for the lead in turns one and two, but couldn’t clear the KKR driver as Sweet surged ahead.

While Sweet continued to duck and hide from the competition, Tony Stewart Racing’s Donny Schatz began to rip the bottom of the track, making moves around Macedo and Macri to get to fifth on lap six. 

Schatz worked his way around David Gravel shortly after, as the 21-time winner at The Grove began knocking on the door for a podium. 

Another caution flag came with 11 laps to go due to Brock Zearfoss, who was running off the pace at the bottom of the race track. 

Two laps later, Robbie Price spun in turn two, prompting the third and final yellow flag of the evening. 

The single file restart gave Abreu and Marks one final jab at ‘The Big Cat,’ though neither were successful as Sweet ran away in the final nine circuits to win by 2.248 seconds. 

As Sweet locked up his series-leading fourth win of the year, both Marks and Schatz passed Abreu, who faded in the closing stages. 

Second Again For Marks

The trend of Marks’ No. 19 Murray-Marks Racing machine finishing second at Williams Grove in World of Outlaws competition continued Friday, with Marks nailing down his third runner-up result in six races against the Outlaws at The Grove. 

“We were just kind of pretty idle there in third place all race long,” Marks said. “Then towards the end, the car was starting to come to me a little bit. I had a shot to get by Rico (Abreu). Tried once, didn’t complete. Then got another shot, tried again, and was able to get into second.

“We were off just a little bit tonight, couldn’t run Brad (Sweet) down. All in all, very happy with our progress that we’re making on our call every single night. So, very proud of this race team for continuing to work their butts off for me.” 

Marks looks to cap off the weekend with a second Morgan Cup win on Saturday after topping last year’s event over Sheldon Haudenschild. 

Schatz Gaining Momentum 

After a seven-race stretch without a finish higher than 11th, the 10-time champion is beginning to rise to the top again. His third-place effort on Friday was his third podium in four races. 

Donny Schatz on his way to a third place finish at Williams Grove Speedway. (Brad Hoffman Photo)

Though it wasn’t smooth sailing at times, Schatz and the No. 15 team were able to hit on a positive as the night progressed.

“This place is tough, you gotta get qualified well, you gotta get in that dash,” Schatz said. “We were decent. Rolling around there in qualifying, I hit the hole there in (turns) three and four real bad. Both laps actually, so I think it could’ve been a little bit better. 

“We kind of fell back a little bit. We’ve been really lacking at the end of these races. We tried some different stuff there tonight,” Schatz continued. “We were decent at the end of the race, I just wasn’t very good at the beginning, so we kind of had to wait for the car to change a little bit.

“Once it changed, we started to pick one off here, one off there, go ourselves into a respectable position.”

Final Notes

Despite the PA Posse dominating last year’s slate of events with a whopping four out of five wins against the World of Outlaws, Sweet drew first blood at the historic dirt track. 

With the win, Sweet became the fifth different winner in as many races to date this season at The Grove.

The Morgan Cup concludes on Saturday night with a 30-lap feature event paying $17,000 to the winner.

Feature Finish (25 Laps)

1. Brad Sweet, 2. Brent Marks, 3. Donny Schatz, 4. Rico Abreu, 5. Anthony Macri, 6. David Gravel, 7. Lance Dewease, 8. Justin Peck, 9. Carson Macedo, 10. Logan Schuchart, 11. Sheldon Haudenschild, 12. Freddie Rahmer, 13. Dylan Norris, 14. Cory Eliason, 15. Danny Dietrich, 16. Billy Dietrich, 17. Kyle Moody, 18. Spencer Bayston, 19. Gio Scelzi, 20. TJ Stutts, 21. Dylan Cisney, 22. Devon Borden, 23. Kyle Reinhardt, 24. Robbie Price, 25. Brock Zearfoss, 26. Same Hafertepe Jr.