ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. — It’s been five months since the Koretsky family took over the famed drag strip in Berks County, Maple Grove Raceway.
This weekend, they hosted their biggest event that is circled on the calendar, the NHRA Nationals as thousands flocked to the raceway.
The horse power rung through the quarter mile drag strip. The national event brought the fastest stars out to play. Nearly 400 dragsters brought a sellout crowd to Maple Grove.
The track hosted a national event for nearly 40 years, this one, maybe a tad special. As we’re seeing tracks close its door left and right, the Koretsky family took on the challenge, while still traveling the country to race at the biggest NHRA Pro Stock events. Their hard work and dedication isn't going unnoticed.
"This is a great track. We've run so good here so many times. Not only won this race so many times, but locked up championships here. It has a lot of meeting in my life and it's great to come back here. The Koretsky's buying it; doing an amazing job," said Tony Schumacher, 8-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion dragster.
It’s been four years since the 8-time Top Fuel World Champ raced at Maple Grove, 2022 marked his return to full-time racing and when asked why he decided to return, Schumacher said,
" Love it! You know, I took a year off and I I didn't want to be at home. You know, I miss being here, watching it, and seeing all this stuff. So, why am I not there."
The only total concrete track on the east coast has a soft spot for some drivers and now through Maple Grove, just five races left on the schedule, it’s crunch time for the points title.
"This is the first race up the countdown. It's the first race for the final six races in the countdown. Points reset. We're in the best position right now but everyone is so tight right now. Just one bad week can cost you," said Brittany Force, 2017 NHRA Top Fuel dragster champion.
Force finishes Saturday with the top qualifying mark. She finishes on Sunday.
One final weekend the All-Stars race in Central Pa. So, can the posse make it a clean sweep?
Lance Dewease locked himself into the Dirt Classic after winning the qualifier at Williams Grove Friday Night. That car is definitely tuned and on point for the National Open in two weeks.
At Lincoln Speedway for the Dirt Classic. Twenty thousand to win Saturday night, Tyler Ross battled the invader Brian Brown to win the B-Main.
Chris Windom stole the final transfer spot for the feature.
After two rounds of heat races, the two drivers who had the most points and have won the most All-Star races are on front row, Anthony Macri and Justin Peck.
Four laps down, Dewease came to a stop and parked it the rest of the night. During those four laps, Freddie Rahmer, who pretty much has the Lincoln track championship locked up, moved from 20th to 10th.
Macri changed up his line in turns one and two and gave Peck a good look to carry more speed and pull a slider in three and four. But, Macri shot back under him to keep the lead.
The red waved just a tick over halfway, Chad Trout rolled over. He then took the car to the pits, changes the wing and rejoins the field.
Then the two winningest drivers in the country, Macri lighting up the night as Brent Marks continued to track him down.
With five laps left, Danny Dietrich running 10th. Something broke in the front. He jumped the guard rail and got stuck on the ledge. That brought out an open red while crews worked to move the No. 48.
Just when you think Macri is going to run away with it, Marks tried to grab the moisture on the bottom. He got so close that he grabbed his nose on the inside guardrail. Macri still couldn't shake him and with the white flag in the air, Marks is there. He threw a hail Mary to steal the lead on the most important lap and picked up his 17th win of the season.
"Coming to the white flag, I had a good enough run down that front stretch to where I just knew I could throw it into (turn) one and hope for the best," said Marks, driver of the No. 19 Murray-Marks Motorsports.
Marks won at BAPS Thursday, second at the Grove and now a win at Lincoln. The Posse has come out on top 10 of the last 16 All-Star races.
Heads up race fans, if you're looking to make you schedule for next seaosn. The Dirt Classic will be two nights in 2023 over Labor Day weekend; September 2nd-3rd.
Shark Racing continues to chomp
The final swing on the west coast for the World of Outlaws and Shark Racing has all the momentum in the world to come back home an be a huge contender at the National Open.
In the closing laps, Logan Schuchart stole the lead from Carson Macedo. His teammate, Jacob Allen then gets by Macedo. The sharks go one-two, once again! It's the third time this month Schuchart and Allen have finished first and second, together. That win tied Schuchart with Allen for four Outlaw wins this season.
Schuchart started tenth while Allen picked up the hard charger from twentieth.