Rossburg, Ohio (May 8, 2021)………Amid Tyler Courtney’s amazing string of success at Eldora Speedway, perhaps none were more impressive than the performance he put on at the high-banked half-mile oval on Saturday afternoon to score his fifth consecutive triumph with the series at The Big E dating to 2018, this one worth $10,000.
Courtney led all 30 circuits from start to finish after starting from the pole in his Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing/NOS Turbo – ZMax/Spike/Chevy, living up to his sponsor’s name by putting all but the top-six finishers a lap down at the finish line, thrashing the 22-car field in a caution-free race in which the Indianapolis, Ind. racer made USAC history.
By winning his fifth consecutive feature event at Eldora, Courtney became just the third driver in USAC National Sprint Car history to win five-in-a-row at one track. Jim Hurtubise won five-straight at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track between 1960-62 and Steve Chassey did the same with five successive at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1979.
“It’s very special,” Courtney said. “I never could’ve imagined winning one race at Eldora, let alone five in a row. We’ve got something figured out at this place. I love coming back here. Thanks to (promoter) Roger (Slack) and (track owner) Tony Stewart and everybody here at Eldora for putting up the extra money for the USAC guys.”
Additionally, Courtney became just the 14th driver to win at least 30career USAC National Sprint Car features. His 30th moved him ahead of Robert Ballou and Kevin Thomas Jr. for 14th on the all-time list.
Saturday’s event represented the first leg of Eldora’s first USAC National Sprint Car single day double feature since 1980. Extensive rainfall on Friday night created an extremely moistrous track surface, forcing postponement following qualifying, and shifting the remainder of the event to Saturday afternoon.
A rare daytime dirt show – a more common occurrence in decades past – presented a challenging racetrack to navigate. However, the conditions proved to be no barrier for Courtney.
By lap six of the 30-lap feature, Courtney had ramped up his lead to a full straightaway and was thrust into lapped traffic only eight laps in as he slipped through a four-wide, turn one sandwich alongside Carmen Perigo, Tanner Thorson and Stevie Sussex to extend his advantage.
High-riding on the paper-thin cushion located just inches from the outside concrete, Courtney whipped around traffic with mere inches to spare at moments, many times opting to go a lane higher than the car in front of him rather than throwing a slide job. However, he performed all of the above with perfect precision before reengaging his highwire act up against the concrete.
On the 28th lap, Courtney remained adamant to put an exclamation point on this one, rather than chocking up down the stretch, he split between the already lapped car of Brandon Mattox and the newly lapped car of 7th running Kevin Thomas Jr. and was beginning to bear down on 6th running Brady Bacon when the checkered flag flew.
Courtney wound up a whopping 5.477 seconds ahead of runner-up finisher Robert Ballou with Jadon Rogers, Justin Grant and Chris Windom rounding out the top-five.
“You always want to beat everybody,” Courtney admitted. “It’s really a combination of everything. We qualified really well and had great track position. Everything had to go perfect last night to catch the invert and sit on the front row. That makes the night go a lot smoother when you can start up front and run your own race from the drop of the green and have a really good car at the same time.”
Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) earned his best series finish of the season, finishing as the runner-up to Courtney aboard his Ballou Motorsports/Suburban Subaru – Berks Western Telecom/Triple X/Ott Chevy. For the 2015 series champ, it was his ninth consecutive top-ten finish in his last nine feature starts, tops in the series.
Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) had an impressive Eldora Speedway debut, finishing 3rd in his Randy Edwards/Edwards Concrete Construction – Auto Wheel & Rim – Engler/DRC/SPEC Chevy. It was second consecutive “podium” finish after earning a career best 2nd place result on April 17 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
In Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying, held on Friday night before the rain, Brady Bacon earned his 39th career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car fast qualifying time, tying him with Levi Jones for fourth all-time in series history.
May the 8th represented hope, triumph and pride for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and the entire dirt racing community last year. It was the day the Series overcame one of its greatest adversities and returned to racing during a pandemic.
This year, May 8 is a day of hope, triumph and pride for Brent Marks.
Back behind the wheel of his family-owned #19m Sprint Car with the World of Outlaws for the first this year, the Myerstown, PA driver overcame a poor qualifying effort to claim his fifth Series victory Saturday afternoon during the first round of the #LetsRaceTwo at Eldora Speedway. It was also the Series’ first time back at the “Big E” since 2019.
“This is awesome,” Marks said. “A very surreal moment. We’ve been running good here the past couple of weeks. The car has been awesome.”
The first of two #LetsRaceTwo events was scheduled to run Friday night, but after heavy rain showers pushed the start of the event past midnight and cold temperatures didn’t allow for suitable track conditions for racing, the cars only practiced and qualified – with David Gravel setting Quick Time – and the rest of the event ran Saturday afternoon.
Brent Marks celebrates his Saturday afternoon win at Eldora Speedway / Trent Gower photo
In the early morning qualifying, Marks knew he’d been too cautious after qualifying 27th. But with a good night’s rest and waking up to clear skies and a clear mind, Marks was ready to hold nothing back.
He lived up to his nickname, the “Myerstown Missile,” by seemingly breaking the sound barrier with his run from seventh to second in the opening two laps of his Drydene Heat Race. From there, the fuse was lit, and target was acquired. A direct hit on his first World of Outlaws win since the National Open in 2019 was in his crosshairs.
However, in his way were two fierce fighter pilots fueled by human horsepower. NOS Energy Drink sponsored drivers Sheldon Haudenschild and Tyler Courtney held a comfortable one-two finish in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash to start on the front row of the 30-lap Feature. Haudenschild, an Ohio native, was on the hunt for his first home-state win at Eldora, and Courtney was looking to sweep round one, having won the USAC Sprint Car event before the World of Outlaws Feature.
When the green flag unraveled into the crisp air, Haudenschild launched ahead of the field to claim the early lead while Courtney faded, giving second to Marks and third to Gravel.
Two cautions plagued the momentum of the first four laps, but not Haudenschild’s command of the lead. He pulled away from Marks on each restart, finding the dangerous combination of speed around the top and bottom of the track. Marks maintained about a second gap behind Haudenschild but initially couldn’t find the grip to catch the NOS Energy Drink #17 machine, even while Haudenschild struggled to navigate the slower traffic.
As the green flag run continued, new threats began to emerge behind them. Aaron Reutzel was on the move, making his way from 16th to third in the first five laps and Logan Schuchart – the last World of Outlaws driver to win at Eldora – was also hunting his way forward from fifth.
However, Schuchart’s streak of bad luck continued when he was the caution with 14 laps to go. While trying to pass Reutzel for third, the two made contact and Schuchart slammed the wall off Turn 4 with his right rear tire and blew it. A red flag on the restart gave his team more time to fix the damage and he ended up savaging a ninth-place finish by the end of the race.
“I have to apologize to Logan there, I definitely didn’t mean to get into the back of him,” Reutzel said. “I was trying to just let him slide by and try to get going in the rubber… I must have just caught him when he went by. That was definitely my fault.”
Before the caution for Schuchart, Marks had cut the gap between him and Haudenschild in half. He made sure to not let the yellow defuse his run when the race resumed. He stayed locked on Haudenschild’s bumper, finding grip through the middle of Turns 1 and 2 and setting up a run into Turn 3. By the time they saw the flag stand again, Marks was out front.
His red and white #19m pulled away with 13 laps to go. Reutzel was stuck in third with a hard charger Donny Schatz on the move behind him from the 17th starting position.
Sheldon Haudenschild (left) races Brent Marks (right) at Eldora / Trent Gower photo
Haudenschild pushed his Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing machine to its limits in the closing laps, bouncing off the wall a couple of times but never losing speed. That began to pay off in the final three laps as Marks took ease with his throttle around the slick track.
Three car lengths. Two car lengths. Haudenschild was at Marks’s bumper in Turn 4 with the white flag in the air. Marks’s name couldn’t grace the $10,000 check just yet.
Perfecting his line one more time, Marks was able to hold off Haudenschild and earn his third overall win at Eldora and third win in three weeks behind the wheel of his own car.
“This thing was just really, really good,” Marks said. “It started taking rubber with about 15 or 16 to go. I was gaining on Sheldon a little bit and he found it. I knew I had to get him on the restart and do everything I could. This is awesome to get my first Outlaw win in a little while.”
Haudenschild’s car was found to be light at the scales after the race, taking him off the podium and giving him a 24th-place finish. That gave second place to Reutzel (the KSE Hard Charger) and third to Schatz.
“We just went back and changed everything,” Reutzel said. “We’ve been struggling the last few weeks. We went back to some stuff we did two years ago, and it helped a lot. We still have some work to do. Just have to start farther up in these races.”
While he may not have earned the podium on track, Schatz was happy to walk away with a decent finish before having to climb back into his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15 machine later tonight for #LetsRaceTwo round two.
“Hats off to our CARQUEST guys, they’ve got all the dig in the world,” Schatz said. They keep trying to make things better. Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us today. It’s challenging to get it in, but we’ve got our full USAC show and Outlaw show and we can start again. Just glad to have a decent day and get a good finish.”
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: (Held on May 7) 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-15.006; 2. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox/Curb-Agajanian-15.029; 3. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.240; 4. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-15.330; 5. Jadon Rogers, 61m, Edwards-15.420; 6. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-15.481; 7. Chris Windom, 19, Hayward-15.497; 8. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-15.544; 9. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-15.650; 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9K, KT-15.660; 11. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-15.667; 12. Paul Nienhiser, 5N, KO-15.711; 13. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-15.761; 14. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-15.766; 15. Stevie Sussex, 77, Wingo-15.947; 16. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-15.955; 17. Tanner Thorson, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.004; 18. Max Adams, 17G, On The Gass-16.072; 19. Steven Drevicki, 19s, DeGre-16.158; 20. Carmen Perigo, 21, Stehman-16.167; 21. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-16.197; 22. Evan Mosley, 27, Mosley-16.365; 23. Korbyn Hayslett, 1H, Hayslett-16.380; 24. Paul Dues, 87, Dues-16.475; 25. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-16.511; 26. Ryan Barr, 21B, Barr-16.609; 27. Ryan Thomas, 77FR, Wingo-16.955; 28. Jack James, 99, James-17.034.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Justin Grant, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Steven Drevicki, 6. Isaac Chapple, 7. Brandon Mattox, 8. Evan Mosley, 9. Dallas Hewitt, 10. Jack James. 2:16.14
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Jadon Rogers, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Carmen Perigo, 8. Korbyn Hayslett, 9. Ryan Barr. 2:21.620
INDY METAL FINISHING/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Paul Nienhiser, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Matt Westfall, 5. Stevie Sussex, 6. Ryan Thomas, 7. Matt Goodnight, 8. Paul Dues, 9. Max Adams. 2:22.526
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-7 transfer to the feature) 1. Isaac Chapple, 2. Brandon Mattox, 3. Korbyn Hayslett, 4. Dallas Hewitt, 5. Carmen Perigo, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Ryan Barr, 8. Paul Dues, 9. Evan Mosley, 10. Matt Goodnight, 11. Jack James, 12. Max Adams, 13. Ryan Thomas. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (1), 2. Robert Ballou (4), 3. Jadon Rogers (2), 4. Justin Grant (3), 5. Chris Windom (9), 6. Brady Bacon (6), 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (8), 8. Chase Stockon (11), 9. Matt Westfall (10), 10. Logan Seavey (5), 11. C.J. Leary (7), 12. Isaac Chapple (16), 13. Jake Swanson (14), 14. Paul Nienhiser (12), 15. Dallas Hewitt (21), 16. Steven Drevicki (18), 17. Brandon Mattox (13), 18. Tanner Thorson (17), 19. Stevie Sussex (15), 20. Carmen Perigo (19), 21. Korbyn Hayslett (20), 22. Ryan Barr (22). 10:06.253
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINTS
Slick Woody’s Qualifying – 1. 2-David Gravel, 12.608; 2. 21-Brian Brown, 12.721; 3. 7BC-Tyler Courtney, 12.745; 4. 5-Spencer Bayston, 12.795; 5. 9-James McFadden, 12.831; 6. 13-Justin Peck, 12.837; 7. 41-Carson Macedo, 12.838; 8. 11-Ian Madsen, 12.858; 9. 14-Kerry Madsen, 12.861; 10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 12.872; 11. 39-Daryn Pittman, 12.884; 12. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 12.888; 13. 15-Donny Schatz, 12.894; 14. 10-Zeb Wise, 12.904; 15. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 12.919; 16. 83-Aaron Reutzel, 12.922; 17. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 12.93; 18. 1A-Jacob Allen, 12.93; 19. 26-Cory Eliason, 12.932; 20. 7S-Jason Sides, 12.94; 21. 19-Parker Price-Miller, 12.946; 22. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.007; 23. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.058; 24. 24-Rico Abreu, 13.067; 25. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.067; 26. 22-Jac Haudenschild, 13.083; 27. 19M-Brent Marks, 13.104; 28. 18X-Cole Macedo, 13.154; 29. 97-Cole Duncan, 13.183; 30. 18S-Bryce Schmitt, 14.406; 31. 35-Zach Hampton, NT; 32. 20G-Noah Gass, NT; 33. 18-Giovanni Scelzi, NT; 34. 11N-Harli White, NT; 35. 15H-Sam Hafertepe, NT; 36. 49D-Shawn Dancer, NT
DRYDENE Heat #1 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 2-David Gravel ; 2. 9-James McFadden ; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart ; 4. 14-Kerry Madsen ; 5. 15-Donny Schatz ; 6. 18-Giovanni Scelzi ; 7. W20-Greg Wilson ; 8. 97-Cole Duncan ; 9. 19-Parker Price-Miller 
DRYDENE Heat #2 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 21-Brian Brown ; 2. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss ; 3. 13-Justin Peck ; 4. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 5. 22-Jac Haudenschild ; 6. 10-Zeb Wise ; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen ; 8. 11N-Harli White ; 9. 18S-Bryce Schmitt 
DRYDENE Heat #3 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 7BC-Tyler Courtney ; 2. 19M-Brent Marks ; 3. 41-Carson Macedo ; 4. 49-Brad Sweet ; 5. 39-Daryn Pittman ; 6. 26-Cory Eliason ; 7. 35-Zach Hampton ; 8. 2C-Wayne Johnson ; 9. 15H-Sam Hafertepe 
DRYDENE Heat #4 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 2. 5-Spencer Bayston ; 3. 11-Ian Madsen ; 4. 83-Aaron Reutzel ; 5. 24-Rico Abreu ; 6. 7S-Jason Sides ; 7. 18X-Cole Macedo ; 8. 49D-Shawn Dancer ; 9. 20G-Noah Gass 
DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash (6 Laps) – 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 2. 7BC-Tyler Courtney ; 3. 19M-Brent Marks ; 4. 2-David Gravel ; 5. 21-Brian Brown ; 6. 5-Spencer Bayston ; 7. 9-James McFadden ; 8. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss 
Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer – 1. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [-]; 2. 10-Zeb Wise [-]; 3. 1A-Jacob Allen [-]; 4. 2C-Wayne Johnson [-]; 5. W20-Greg Wilson [$300]; 6. 7S-Jason Sides [$250]; 7. 18X-Cole Macedo [$225]; 8. 97-Cole Duncan [$200]; 9. 19-Parker Price-Miller [$200]; 10. 49D-Shawn Dancer [$200]; 11. 11N-Harli White [$200]; 12. 20G-Noah Gass [$200]; 13. 18S-Bryce Schmitt [$200]; 14. 35-Zach Hampton [$200]; 15. 26-Cory Eliason [$200]; 16. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$200]
NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 19M-Brent Marks [$10,000]; 2. 83-Aaron Reutzel [$5,500]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [$3,200]; 4. 2-David Gravel [$2,600]; 5. 41-Carson Macedo [$2,350]; 6. 11-Ian Madsen [$2,150]; 7. 14-Kerry Madsen [$2,100]; 8. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [$1,950]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,900]; 10. 21-Brian Brown [$1,850]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,400]; 12. 9-James McFadden [$1,200]; 13. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$1,000]; 14. 49-Brad Sweet [$950]; 15. 13-Justin Peck [$900]; 16. 1A-Jacob Allen [$900]; 17. 2C-Wayne Johnson [$900]; 18. 24-Rico Abreu [$900]; 19. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$900]; 20. 22-Jac Haudenschild [$900]; 21. 10-Zeb Wise [$900]; 22. 39-Daryn Pittman [$900]; 23. 5-Spencer Bayston [$900]; 24. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$900]. Lap Leaders: Sheldon Haudenschild 1-17, Brent Marks 18-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 83-Aaron Reutzel[+14]
Courtesy of Campbell Photo