From Mike Warren | World of Outlaws Late Model Series
SKYLINE’S THE LIMIT: Marlar Opens World Finals Racing with Win in Skyline Motorsports Debut
2018 World of Outlaws champion wins in first Feature start with Iowa-based team
CONCORD, NC (Nov. 2, 2023) – One start, one win for Mike Marlar and his new ride with Skyline Motorsports.
Earlier this week, the 2018 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series champion from Winfield, TN, made the announcement of his alignment with the Iowa-based operation after 10 years driving for car owner Ronnie Delk, and set his sights on The Dirt Track at Charlotte for his first weekend out under new team owner Greg Bruening.
In his first Feature start adorning the team’s bright red color scheme and his signature #157 on the door panels, Marlar led all 35 laps en route to collecting the $15,000 grand prize and his second career World of Outlaws World Finals win.
“I’ve been so busy, I couldn’t even think about winning,” he said. “But we did.”
Marlar and longtime crew members Josh Davis and Jerry Sprouse had spent the last several days readying their Longhorn Chassis in preparation for the annual marquee event in Charlotte, and it paid off. United with his familiar crew and Bruening’s resources for the Skyline team, Marlar said it was those two factors joined together that made the quick turnaround so successful right off the bat.
“I’ve just got great guys, great equipment, and a great team,” Marlar said. “Those guys don’t need me one bit. They’ll make that car fast without me even being around.
“I’m just fortunate to be involved with them and be their driver.”
From the pole of his Heat Race to kick off Thursday’s program, Marlar set the tone early with a win and redrew the outside pole for the Feature. He grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and wasted zero time showing his speed, building up a two-second lead on Brandon Overton and Dale McDowell by the halfway point.
As Marlar sorted through lapped traffic, Overton and Chris Madden were closing the gap behind him. The two never lost sight of the leader as the laps withered down to less than five-to-go and devised their plans to make a move for the top spot.
Overton acted with three laps left, diving underneath Marlar going into Turn 1 and racing him side-by-side out of Turn 2 with lapped cars ahead. But Marlar got the better drive down the backstretch and fended off Overton’s challenge heading into Turn 3.
“You get behind those lapped cars, and if they turn a little too early and you’re out there and you get in their wake, you just slide up the hill,” Overton said of what allowed him to get under Marlar. “He just slipped-up a little, but not enough for me to get in there and pass him clean.”
“I thought I gave it away, honestly,” Marlar said, recalling his Turn 1 entry. “I got in there and got loose in under Brian Shirley. I didn’t know [what was wrong], it just wasn’t gripping like it had been, and obviously had a problem.”
As they took the white flag, Overton challenged Marlar once more, this time going to the top lane – where few other drivers were – to try and get around him.
“There was a little bit of brown getting into Turn 1,” Overton said. “I think I passed [a lapped car] and cleared back around Madden using the top a little bit, just momentum. I figured maybe they’d go in there and bottle-up, and I’d come off of Turn 2 with some momentum and be able to get back down.”
But it wasn’t enough. Instead, Madden stayed with the low lane through Turns 1-2 and made it stick, zooming by Overton into second place down the backstretch. Overton was able to gather it back in and crossed the stripe third, starting his World Finals week off with a podium finish.
“It makes us feel good,” Overton said. “We didn’t really back up; we had a good car. A little momentum goes a long way with this deal. Definitely going to sleep better tonight.”
Leading Madden and Overton into Victory Lane, Marlar held the trophy high and breathed a sigh of relief after examining his car and finding a soft tire that he said may have contributed to his late-race slip-up with Overton.
“At the end, I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew I was having a problem,” Marlar said. “The air was going out of my tire. I pretty much had a flat when I got to Victory Lane.”
Marlar’s victory Thursday night brings him to four main event wins with the World of Outlaws in 2023 and his second career World Finals win after breaking through in the event last year.
The World of Outlaws World Finals action continues Friday, Nov. 3, at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with another program of Heats, Last Chance Showdowns and a 35-lap, $15,000-to-win Feature.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (35 Laps): 1. 157-Mike Marlar; 2. 44-Chris Madden; 3. 76-Brandon Overton; 4. 1-Hudson O'Neal; 5. 17M-Dale McDowell; 6. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 7. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 8. 97-Cade Dillard; 9. 18-Chase Junghans; 10. 39-Tim McCreadie; 11. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 12. 57-Zack Mitchell; 13. 32-Bobby Pierce; 14. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 15. 25-Shane Clanton; 16. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 17. 9-Nick Hoffman; 18. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 19. 10-Garrett Smith; 20. 174-Ethan Dotson; 21. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 22. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 23. 00-Carson Ferguson; 24. 55-Benji Hicks; 25. 8-Brian Shirley; 26. 79-Donald McIntosh; 27. 96V-Tanner English; 28. 7T-Drake Troutman
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Photo's: World of Outlaws Late Model Series | Jacy Norgaard