From Mike Warren / worldofoutlaws.com
Mike Marlar clinched a World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models title at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in 2018. However, a World Finals victory had eluded the Winfield, TN driver.
That changed Wednesday night, as the “Winfield Warrior” drove from ninth to first to earn his fifth World of Outlaws win of 2022 and first at The Dirt Track.
Shane Clanton grabbed the early lead in the 40-lap Feature, sliding Brandon Overton in Turn 4 to take the lead on Lap 1.
Behind them, Marlar was methodically working through the field, picking off cars one by one on the bottom until he reached the top five on a Lap 19 restart.
That restart propelled him further up the field as he swung his Longhorn Chassis under Tim McCreadie for fourth, Overton for third, and Trent Ivey for second by Lap 37 when a yellow for Tyler Erb slowed the field.
It set up a single-file restart, putting Marlar behind Clanton.
When the green came out, Marlar thundered to the low side as Clanton rolled the middle, keeping Marlar at bay for two laps. But on Lap 39, the window Marlar needed finally opened.
He used his momentum to pull even with “The Georgia Bulldog,” inching ahead as they roared into Turn 3.
A slide job in Turn 4 completed the pass for Marlar, who held on to score the $15,000 prize and his 13th World of Outlaws triumph.
“The car was excellent tonight,” Marlar said. “All night long, I thought I had a good car. I was the first car on the track in Qualifying, and the track was a little greasy, and I thought that hurt me some. We got a lucky break in the Heat (Race) when Hudson (O’Neal) pushed up, and it got me to start ninth (in the Feature), and I got a lot of good restarts in that race.
“I had a good car, though, man. The closer I got to the front, the better it was.”
Even though the restart propelled him to the win, Marlar said he felt he was positioned to take the lead before the caution for Tyler Erb.
“I was in a real good position there before that caution came out,” Marlar said. “I honestly thought it’d be tough to beat Shane on a little shootout here at the end with four laps to get it done.
“It worked out, I had a good enough car I could pass him, and it worked out for me.”
Clanton settled for second, falling short of his third Series win of the season by one lap.
The Zebulon, GA driver said he wasn’t sure if he could’ve held Marlar off even if the late caution didn’t come out.
“It is what it is,” Clanton said. “I don’t know if I could’ve held him off anyways. Dirty air is big here. The racetrack is so big, and our car has to be a little bit better to win the race.
“I’ve raced here a lot and ain’t never really had clean air. I’ve won a lot of Heat Races in clean air. I just know that’s what we need to have. I was trying to get the lead and trying to hold on for 40 laps and made it 39.”
Trent Ivey, from Union, SC, grabbed the final spot on the podium. He was up to second and trying to catch Clanton before Marlar passed him on Lap 35.
Even though he fell to third, he said he was happy to run up front against some of the best drivers in the country.
“I was so content just to race behind Shane,” Ivey said. “I just couldn’t get quite close enough, but like you said, I’m just going to ride and take wherever we finish at that point.
“I had no idea Mikey was coming like that, and I knew Shane knew that I was coming. Shane protected, and I tried to change my line up, and Mikey slid by me.”
Overton crossed the line fourth after starting on the pole. The Evans, GA driver, said he was fighting the handling of his Longhorn Chassis throughout the race.
“We just wasn’t balanced,” Overton said. “The first time we were behind anybody all night and I would get into traffic, it was like, wheelieing and picking the nose off the ground. It was hard to drive.
“Hell, I don’t know. I kind of got better as the fuel burned off. We were good early; we just have to adjust a little bit for the race. I feel like I know which direction to go.”
Tim McCreadie, the 2006 World of Outlaws champion, rounded out the top five.
Max Blair finished ninth, gaining two points on Tanner English, who finished 10th in the race for Rookie of the Year.
The Benton, KY driver leads Blair by 18 points with two races remaining in the 2022 season.
The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet return to The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Thursday, Nov. 3, for night two of the World of Outlaws World Finals, along with the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds. On Friday, Nov. 4, fans get to meet the World of Outlaws stars during the World Finals Fan Fest from 2-4 p.m. Drivers will be signing autographs and playing games with the fans.
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (40 Laps):
1. 157-Mike Marlar; 2. 25-Shane Clanton; 3. 88-Trent Ivey; 4. 76-Brandon Overton; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie; 6. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 7. 20-Jimmy Owens; 8. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 9. 111V-Max Blair; 10. 81E-Tanner English; 11. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 12. 17M-Dale McDowell; 13. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 14. 1-Josh Richards; 15. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 16. 24D-Michael Brown; 17. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 18. 8-Kyle Strickler; 19. B1-Brent Larson; 20. 32-Dustin Mitchell; 21. 44-Chris Madden; 22. 42-Cla Knight; 23. 1T-Tyler Erb; 24. 7-Ross Robinson; 25. 99B-Boom Briggs; 26. 93-Carson Ferguson; 27. 15-Dale Hollidge FOX FACTORY HARD CHARGER: Daulton Wilson [+10]
See the full story and results:
Photo: Jacy Norgaard / worldofoutlaws.com