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WHAT TO WATCH FOR: 61st National Open Raises the Stakes in World of Outlaws vs. PA Posse Battle

Sprint Cars race down the back straightaway at Williams Grove
The Pennsylvania crown jewel puts $75,000 and bragging rights up for grabs at Williams Grove

The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars vs. Pennsylvania Posse rivalry is back in a big way this week.

The 61st Champion Racing Oil National Open brings the stars of The Greatest Show on Dirt, plenty of potent Pennsylvanians, and more of the country’s top talent to Mechanicsburg, PA where Williams Grove Speedway awaits.

The historic crown jewel is one of the most coveted crowns in Sprint Car racing. Not only does it hold high prestige in the minds of all within the sport, it also offers a healthy payday. The two nights (September 29-30) conclude with Saturday’s $75,000 to win, 40-lap finale, making it the fourth highest paying event on the World of Outlaws circuit.

With the power of the World of Outlaws, the PA Posse hoping to win for the home state, and a slew of invaders aiming to steal the glory, the 61st edition of the National Open promises to deliver a pair of can’t miss nights of racing.

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Let’s look at the weekend’s top storylines:

DONNY’S DOMINANCE: Williams Grove has been extremely kind to Donny Schatz over the years.

Schatz has racked up 21 World of Outlaws checkered flags at the historic facility, ranking second only to Steve Kinser’s whopping tally of 38. While “The King” has Schatz beat in that category, no competitor can equal Schatz’s six National Open titles. The Fargo, ND native has topped the Pennsylvania crown jewel in three different decades (2000s, 2010s, 2020s).

On top of his winning ways, Schatz has been plenty consistent at the “Natty O.” In 24 Feature starts, Schatz has landed on the podium in more than half with 13 top threes. He’s also earned 56 overall podiums at Williams Grove in World of Outlaws competition.

A CHANCE AT HISTORY: Last year, it was Lance Dewease winning a fifth National Open much to the Posse fans’ delight. And this year the Fayetteville, PA native has a historic opportunity ahead of him.

Only Schatz’s six triumphs outrank Dewease’s tally, meaning the man that owns countless Williams Grove records could add another to the list with a win on Saturday to tie Schatz. If he were able to pull it off, he would also become the first since Schatz in 2004-2005 to go back-to-back.

Dewease enters the weekend as the most recent Williams Grove winner, topping his 114th Feature at the half mile this past Friday. That victory came aboard the Macri Motorsports #39M, the car he’ll be piloting this weekend.

GROOVIN’ AT THE GROVE: While his Williams Grove résumé may not be as robust as Schatz or Dewease, David Gravel has to be factored in among the favorites this weekend.

The two-time (2014 & 2017) National Open champion can become only the eighth driver to claim three titles in the coveted event. The Watertown, CT native has won the event with Roth Motorsports and CJB Motorsports, and on Saturday he could make it three victories with three different teams if he takes the Big Game Motorsports #2 to Victory Lane.

This weekend could also prove pivotal for Gravel with the ongoing points battle. He trimmed Brad Sweet’s lead down to 80 last weekend. This week serves as another strong opportunity to make up some ground as Williams Grove is the winningest track on Gravel’s World of Outlaws record. He’s topped eight Features at the Mechanicsburg oval.

LOGAN’S TIME?: Two months ago, in his 57th attempt, Hanover, PA native Logan Schuchart topped a Williams Grove World of Outlaws Feature for the first time. The Shark Racing driver snuck by Brad Sweet coming to the line in a thrilling finish.

With that victory under his belt, Schuchart has his sights on his home state’s most coveted race this weekend as he looks to join his grandfather – Bobby Allen – on the list of winners.

The 30-year-old has made 10 starts in the National Open finale and been banging on the door to Victory Lane. Three times Schuchart has wound up on the podium including a 2021 runner-up. Only the top step of the podium remains for Schuchart to stand atop.

Logan Schuchart races around Williams Grove
Two months ago Logan Schuchart picked up a special win in his home state at Williams Grove (Trent Gower Photo)

CA IN PA: For many years, Williams wasn’t the most welcoming Pennsylvania track for California invaders. But recently, the “Golden State” drivers have begun to flex their muscle at the unique facility. Californians have claimed half of the most recent 10 World of Outlaws races at Williams Grove including two of three this season.

Grass Valley, CA’s Brad Sweet snagged his first Williams Grove victory last July and then got another earlier this year in May. During the most recent visit, it was Rico Abreu coming out on top. The duo will be in action this weekend with a chance to become the third California-born National Open title.

Also among the recent California success at Williams Grove is Carson Macedo. The Lemoore, CA native topped the 2021 National Open to join Jason Meyers as CA drivers with a win in the event.

BACK IN THE SADDLE: A potent driver-team pairing is expected to pull in the pit area that will attract plenty of attention this weekend.

Former World of Outlaws champion – Daryn Pittman – has partnered with the famed Kreitz Racing team to take on the 61st National Open. The owner of the iconic powder blue #69K enters as the defending team champion after topping the 2022 edition with Lance Dewease.

Pittman got acquainted with the team at last Friday’s local race and brought home a podium finish. Now, Pittman will seek his first National Open title. The Owasso, OK native has been remarkably close with five runner-ups in the crown jewel, most recently in 2019.

POSSE POWER: Along with Dewease going for a record tying win, the PA Posse will have plenty of names joining him looking to make the home fans proud by beating the World of Outlaws.

Brent Marks is a former National Open champion (2019) who could become the 13th driver with multiple titles. The “Myerstown Missile” has already topped four races at “The Grove” in 2023. Marks has been on the podium in five of his last eight Williams Grove starts with the World of Outlaws.

Danny Dietrich is another Posse representative with a National Open victory (2016) to his credit. Dietrich ranks 18th on Williams Grove’s all-time win list with 29 triumphs, most recently coming out on top of an Aug. 18 local show.

Freddie Rahmer is always a name to watch in Pennsylvania and could join his father – Fred Rahmer – on the list of winners this week. Two of Rahmer’s nation leading 17 victories in 2023 have occurred at Williams Grove.

This trio will be joined by many more Pennsylvania natives in the hunt for National Open glory.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action live on DIRTVision.

THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE

WHEN AND WHERE

Friday and Saturday, September 29-30 at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA

ON THE INTERNET

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CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (61/72 Races):

1. 49 – Brad Sweet (8246PTS) 2. 2 – David Gravel (-80PTS) 3. 41 – Carson Macedo (-98PTS) 4. 1S – Logan Schuchart (-386PTS) 5. 18 – Gio Scelzi (-394PTS) 6. 15 – Donny Schatz (-416PTS) 7. 17 – Sheldon Haudenschild (-472PTS) 8. 5 – Spencer Bayston (-656PTS) 9. 3Z – Brock Zearfoss (-1142PTS) 10. 7S – Robbie Price (-1586PTS)

NOS ENERGY DRINK FEATURE WINNERS (16 Drivers):

10 wins – David Gravel (Big Game Motorsports #2)
9 wins – Brad Sweet (Kasey Kahne Racing #49)
6 wins – James McFadden (Roth Motorsports #83), Carson Macedo (Jason Johnson Racing #41), Logan Schuchart (Shark Racing #1S), Rico Abreu (Rico Abreu Racing #24)
4 wins – Kyle Larson (Silva Motorsports #57)
3 wins – Donny Schatz (Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15), Sheldon Haudenschild (Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17)
2 wins – Buddy Kofoid (CMS Racing #11, Roth Motorsports #83JR)
1 win – Brady Bacon (TKH Motorsports #21), Anthony Macri (Macri Motorsports #39), Brian Brown (Brian Brown Racing #21), Gio Scelzi (KCP Racing #18), Spencer Bayston (CJB Motorsports #5), Corey Day (Jason Meyers Racing #14)

FEATURE LAPS LED (20 Drivers):

315 laps – Brad Sweet
228 laps – James McFadden
234 laps – Rico Abreu
195 laps – Carson Macedo
193 laps – David Gravel
172 laps – Logan Schuchart
118 laps – Kyle Larson
114 laps – Buddy Kofoid
108 laps – Sheldon Haudenschild
102 laps – Donny Schatz
57 laps – Gio Scelzi
43 laps – Brent Marks
40 laps – Spencer Bayston, Corey Day
24 laps – Brian Brown
15 laps – Cole Macedo
11 laps – Anthony Macri
10 laps – Cory Eliason
3 laps – Brady Bacon, Danny Varin
1 lap – Austin McCarl

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS QUICKTIME AWARDS (17 Drivers): 

14 QuickTimes – Carson Macedo
11 QuickTimes – David Gravel
5 QuickTimes – Logan Schuchart
4 QuickTimes – Rico Abreu
3 QuickTimes – Sheldon Haudenschild, Buddy Kofoid
2 QuickTimes – Anthony Macri, Bill Balog, Justin Peck, Gio Scelzi, Brad Sweet, Tanner Holmes
1 QuickTime – Brian Brown, Donny Schatz, James McFadden, Jacob Allen, Kyle Larson

HEAT RACE WINNERS (43 Drivers):

29 Heat Wins – Carson Macedo
25 Heat Wins – David Gravel
16 Heat Wins – Brad Sweet
14 Heat Wins – Donny Schatz, James McFadden
13 Heat Wins – Buddy Kofoid, Logan Schuchart
12 Heat Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, Gio Scelzi
10 Heat Wins – Rico Abreu
7 Heat Wins – Spencer Bayston
5 Heat Wins – Jacob Allen, Justin Peck
4 Heat Wins – Brent Marks, Cory Eliason
3 Heat Wins – Anthony Macri, Brian Brown, Bill Balog, Parker Price-Miller
2 Heat Wins – Brock Zearfoss, Noah Gass, Kerry Madsen, Robbie Price, Tim Kaeding, Sam Hafertepe Jr.
1 Heat Win – Danny Dietrich, Freddie Rahmer, Mark Dobmeier, Kasey Kahne, Austin McCarl, Lachlan McHugh, Ryan Timms, Tim Estenson, Kyle Larson, Shane Stewart, Lance Dewease, Cole Macedo, Chase Randall, Ian Madsen, Tanner Holmes, Dominic Scelzi, Kalib Henry, Dylan Bloomfield, Justin Sanders

TOYOTA DASH APPEARANCES (47 Drivers): 

41 Dashes – Carson Macedo
39 Dashes – David Gravel
36 Dashes – Brad Sweet
28 Dashes – Logan Schuchart
27 Dashes – Gio Scelzi
24 Dashes – James McFadden
23 Dashes – Sheldon Haudenschild
22 Dashes – Donny Schatz
20 Dashes – Rico Abreu
18 Dashes – Spencer Bayston
17 Dashes – Buddy Kofoid
8 Dashes – Jacob Allen, Brent Marks, Cory Eliason, Brock Zearfoss
6 Dashes – Justin Peck
5 Dashes – Anthony Macri, Robbie Price, Kasey Kahne, Corey Day
4 Dashes – Brian Brown, Justin Sanders
3 Dashes – Danny Dietrich, Parker Price-Miller, Tyler Courtney, Kyle Larson, Cole Macedo, Tanner Holmes
2 Dashes – Garet Williamson, Austin McCarl, Bill Balog, Dominic Scelzi, Aaron Reutzel
1 Dash – Freddie Rahmer, Devon Borden, Brady Bacon, Chad Trout, Dylan Norris, Cap Henry, Stuart Brubaker, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Shane Stewart, Danny Varin, Ian Madsen, Shane Golobic, Kalib Henry, Dylan Bloomfield

MICROLITE LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN WINS (33 Drivers):

4 LCS Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, Spencer Bayston, Robbie Price
3 LCS Wins – Noah Gass
2 LCS Wins – Parker Price-Miller, Logan Schuchart, Carson Macedo, Brock Zearfoss, Tim Estenson, James McFadden, Gio Scelzi, Donny Schatz, Kerry Madsen
1 LCS Win – Hunter Schuerenberg, Wayne Johnson, Ryan Timms, Ayrton Gennetten, Kraig Kinser, Freddie Rahmer, Henry Malcuit, Cole Macedo, Aaron Reutzel, Sye Lynch, Cory Eliason, Tyler Courtney, Rico Abreu, Jacob Allen, Daryn Pittman, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jamie Veal, Kaleb Johnson, Lachlan McHugh, Tanner Holmes, Austen Wheatley

KSE HARD CHARGER AWARDS (35 Drivers):

6 Hard Chargers – Sheldon Haudenschild
5 Hard Chargers – James McFadden
4 Hard Chargers – Donny Schatz, Brock Zearfoss
3 Hard Chargers – Tyler Courtney, Brad Sweet, Logan Schuchart, Rico Abreu
2 Hard Chargers – Danny Dietrich, Justin Peck, David Gravel, Spencer Bayston, Corey Day, Robbie Price
1 Hard Charger – Gio Scelzi, Blake Hahn, Buddy Kofoid, Joe B. Miller, Kyle Larson, Hunter Schuerenberg, Kyle Moody, Freddie Rahmer, Skylar Gee, Cole Duncan, Austin Pierce, Brenham Crouch, Tim Kaeding, Jacob Allen, Caden Englehart, Zeb Wise, Carson Macedo, Dale Blaney, Tasker Phillips, Brent Marks, Kaleb Johnson, Tanner Holmes

PODIUM FINISHES (27 Drivers):

29 Podiums – David Gravel
26 Podiums – Brad Sweet
17 Podiums – Carson Macedo
14 Podiums – Rico Abreu
13 Podiums – Donny Schatz, Logan Schuchart
10 Podiums – Sheldon Haudenschild
9 Podiums – James McFadden, Buddy Kofoid
7 Podiums – Gio Scelzi
6 Podiums – Kyle Larson
5 Podiums – Brent Marks
4 Podiums – Spencer Bayston
3 Podiums – Brian Brown, Jacob Allen, Corey Day
1 Podium – Danny Dietrich, Kasey Kahne, Devon Borden, Parker Price-Miller, Brady Bacon, Anthony Macri, Garet Williamson, Dave Blaney, Tanner Holmes, Justin Sanders, Dominic Scelzi

TOP 10 FINISHES (60 Drivers):

54 Top 10s – Brad Sweet
52 Top 10s – Carson Macedo
50 Top 10s – David Gravel
42 Top 10s – Gio Scelzi
40 Top 10s – Logan Schuchart, Sheldon Haudenschild
37 Top 10s – Donny Schatz, Spencer Bayston
34 Top 10s – James McFadden
30 Top 10s – Rico Abreu
25 Top 10s – Buddy Kofoid
14 Top 10s – Jacob Allen
12 Top 10s – Justin Peck
11 Top 10s – Brent Marks
10 Top 10s – Kasey Kahne
9 Top 10s – Cory Eliason
8 Top 10s – Kyle Larson
7 Top 10s – Tyler Courtney, Brock Zearfoss
6 Top 10s – Brian Brown, Danny Dietrich, Corey Day
5 Top 10s – Dominic Scelzi, Justin Sanders, Tanner Holmes
3 Top 10s – Anthony Macri, Bill Balog, Cole Macedo, Chase Randall, Zeb Wise
2 Top 10s – Aaron Reutzel, Blake Hahn, Brady Bacon, Parker Price-Miller, Robbie Price, Freddie Rahmer, Tim Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Dave Blaney, Dale Blaney, Cole Duncan
1 Top 10 – Devon Borden, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Joe B. Miller, Hunter Schuerenberg, Brandon Rahmer, Chad Trout, Lance Dewease, Cap Henry, Stuart Brubaker, Skylar Gee, Austin McCarl, Garet Williamson, Shane Stewart, Larry Wight, Noah Gass, Rusty Hickman, Kerry Madsen, Jason Solwold, Chase Johnson

2023 WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT CAR SCHEDULE & WINNERS: 

No. / Day, Date / Track / Location / Winner (Total Wins)

1. Fri, Feb 10 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (1)
2. Fri, Feb 10 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (2)
3. Sat, Feb 11* / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / James McFadden (1)
4. Sun, March 5 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Carson Macedo (1)
5. Mon, March 6 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (3)
6. Sat, March 18 / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA / Rico Abreu (1)
7. Fri, March 24 / Talladega Short Track / Eastaboga, AL / Buddy Kofoid (1)
8. Sat, March 25 / Magnolia Motor Speedway / Columbus, MS / Brad Sweet (1)
9. Fri, March 31 / Devil’s Bowl Speedway / Mesquite, TX / Brad Sweet (2)
10. Sat, April 1 / Devil’s Bowl Speedway / Mesquite, TX / James McFadden (2)
11. Fri, April 7 / U.S. 36 Raceway / Osborn, MO / Sheldon Haudenschild (1)
12. Sat, April 8 / 81 Speedway / Wichita, KS / Rico Abreu (2)
13. Fri, April 14 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Brad Sweet (3)
14. Fri, April 28 / Tri-City Speedway / Granite City, IL / David Gravel (4)
15. Sat, April 29 / Tri-State Speedway / Haubstadt, IN / Brady Bacon (1)
16. Fri, May 5 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Logan Schuchart (1)
17. Sat, May 6 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Rico Abreu (3)
18. Wed, May 10 / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA / Anthony Macri (1)
19. Fri, May 12 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Brad Sweet (4)
20. Fri, May 19 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / Donny Schatz (1)
21. Sat, May 20 / Sharon Speedway / Hartford, OH / Donny Schatz (2)
22. Fri, May 26 / Atomic Speedway / Chillicothe, OH / Brad Sweet (5)
23. Sat, May 27 / Atomic Speedway / Chillicothe, OH / Carson Macedo (2)
24. Mon, May 29 / Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, IN / James McFadden (3)
25. Fri, June 2 / River Cities Speedway / Grand Forks, ND / David Gravel (5)
26. Sat, June 3 / Ogilvie Raceway / Ogilvie, MN / Carson Macedo (3)
27. Fri, June 9 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / Brian Brown (1)
28. Sat, June 10 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / David Gravel (6)
29. Fri, June 16 / Beaver Dam Raceway / Beaver Dam, WI / Gio Scelzi (1)
30. Sat, June 17 / Beaver Dam Raceway / Beaver Dam, WI / Sheldon Haudenschild (2)
31. Wed, June 21 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Kyle Larson (1)
32. Thurs, June 22 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / James McFadden (4)
33. Fri, June 23 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Logan Schuchart (2)
34. Sat, June 24 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / David Gravel (7)
35. Fri, June 30 / Cedar Lake Speedway / New Richmond, WI / Brad Sweet (6)
36. Sat, July 1 / Cedar Lake Speedway / New Richmond, WI / David Gravel (8)
37. Sat, July 8 / Wilmot Raceway / Wilmot, WI / Carson Macedo (4)
38. Tues, July 11 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / Kyle Larson (2)
39. Fri, July 14 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Carson Macedo (5)
40. Sat, July 15 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Donny Schatz (3)
41. Thurs, July 20 / BAPS Motor Speedway / York Haven, PA / David Gravel (9)
42. Fri, July 21 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Logan Schuchart (3)
43. Sat, July 22 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Rico Abreu (4)
44. Sun, July 30 / Weedsport Speedway / Weedsport, NY / David Gravel (10)
45. Fri, Aug 4 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Spencer Bayston (1)
46. Sat, Aug 5 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Kyle Larson (3)
47. Sat, Aug 12 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / Kyle Larson (4)
48. Thurs, Aug 17 / Jackson Motorplex / Jackson, MN / James McFadden (5)
49. Fri, Aug 18 / Jackson Motorplex / Jackson, MN / James McFadden (6)
50. Sat, Aug 19 / Jackson Motorplex / Jackson, MN / Carson Macedo (6)
51. Fri, Aug 25 / River Cities Speedway / Grand Forks, ND / Logan Schuchart (4)
52. Sat, Aug 26 / Red River Valley Speedway / West Fargo, ND / Logan Schuchart (5)
53. Thurs, Aug 31 / Skagit Speedway / Burlington, WA / Sheldon Haudenschild (3)
54. Fri, Sept 1 / Skagit Speedway / Burlington, WA / Rico Abreu (5)
55. Sat, Sept 2 / Skagit Speedway / Burlington, WA / Brad Sweet (7)
56. Mon, Sept 4 / Grays Harbor Raceway / Elma, WA / Logan Schuchart (6)
57. Sat, Sept 9 / Silver Dollar Speedway / Chico, CA / Corey Day (1)
58. Fri, Sept 15 / Kings Speedway / Hanford, CA / Brad Sweet (8)
59. Sat, Sept 16 / Placerville Speedway / Placerville, CA / Buddy Kofoid (2)
60. Fri, Sept 22 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Rico Abreu (6)
61. Sat, Sept 23 / Sharon Speedway / Hartford, OH / Brad Sweet (9)

Alex Nieten

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