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Mike Marlar Wins Knoxville Nationals September 17, 2016

Mike Marlar Wins Knoxville Nationals

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (September 17, 2016) – It has been the year of the upset winners at Knoxville Raceway and Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tennessee surprised everyone by leading the final 61 laps on his way to a win $40,000 at the 13th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store! Front row starters Jimmy Owens and Josh Richards were the early front runners of the 100 lap event, Owens led the opening ten laps until Richards used lapped traffic to get by Owens and pull away. It appeared that Richards, the four-time runner-up at Knoxville would go on to finally win the Knoxville Nationals. Marlar started in row two and fell to fifth early but was able to claw his way back to the leaders. On lap 40 Marlar made his move and passed Richards. The event was marred by eight caution periods and Marlar was able to hold off challenges by Richards and later from Scott Bloomquist on every restart to drive away and win by 1.188 seconds over Blooquist at the checkered flag. The win was Marlar’s second of his career at Knoxville who won a Nationals preliminary here in 2012. Marlar finished fourth in 2015, third in 2014, and sixth in 2012. The part-time super dirt late model driver was able to put together the winning combination to become the eleventh different winner of the Knoxville Nationals crown jewel event. Bloomquist started eighth and was running fourth at halfway. His car came alive and was running second by lap 60. "Bloomer" was able to driver beside Marlar on a few occasions and pass him briefly at one point during the race, but fell short of winning a record third Nationals. 19 year-old Bobby Pierce finished third in his first entry at Knoxville in four years. The youngster looked strong driving from his tenth starting position to stand upon the podium a week after winning the World 100 at Eldora Speedway. Richards was running third when he pulled in with five laps remaining. Jimmy Owens would pull in on lap 46 with mechanical woes as would Jonathan Davenport on lap 79. In preliminary action Gregg Satterlee won the B Main and Morgan Bagley won the C Main. For more news visit www.knoxvilleraceway.com
Danny Johnson Picks Up SDS Win at Weedsport September 17, 2016

Danny Johnson Picks Up SDS Win at Weedsport

WEEDSPORT, N.Y. - Sept. 17, 2016 – Danny Johnson picked up his first Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season in the Shakelton Auto and Truck Parts No. 27J and collected his 80th series win Saturday night at Weedsport Speedway. Johnson battled Tim Fuller early for the lead but sailed away to take the King of the Hill 100 and take home the $10,000 payday over Matt Sheppard and Fuller. “We had a good race with Timmy Fuller. I love racing with Timmy, he’s a good, clean racer,” Johnson said. “We raced side-by-side and I was able to get ahead of him that lap there when I got to the bottom and was then able to pull away from him. I’d like to thank my car owner Chris Gennarelli, my engine builder as well as my boys for getting it ready and everyone who has helped us out.” Mat Williamson and Tim Kerr drew the front row in the Dig Safely redraw and brought the 31-car field to the initial green flag. Kerr jumped out to an early lead over Fuller and Johnson. Just as Fuller and Johnson started to put pressure on Kerr for the top spot the first caution of the night came out on lap 11 due to a right rear flying off of sixth place starter Rob Bellinger’s car. Fuller took advantage of the lap 22 restart and took the lead from Kerr. Johnson then advanced into the second spot from Kerr and then snuck up to Fuller’s rear bumper as he started to put pressure on Fuller. Johnson took the lead over Fuller coming off of turn four on lap 28 but Fuller didn’t give up as they battled side-by-side for several laps, swapping first and second. Tenth starter Sheppard made his way into the top three by lap 33 and slowly gained ground on the leaders. Six cars piled up going into turn one on lap 37 bringing out the second caution of the night. Brett Hearn and Ryan Phelps were two of the drivers involved that received extensive damage on their cars forcing them to go pit side. Wight took advantage of the lap 45 restart as he took back the third spot from Sheppard. Wight drove by Fuller on the outside coming out of turn four for the second position the next lap by. Johnson led his No. 27J small block modified to the halfway mark over Wight, Fuller, Sheppard and Peter Britten. Fuller and Sheppard were knocking on Wight’s doors as Sheppard took third from Fuller on lap 58. Johnson caught the back of the field on lap 60 as he showed a straightaway over second place runner Wight. Wight changed his lane and moved to the top in turns one and two allowing Sheppard to drive underneath and take over second on lap 63. Sheppard soon found his way into lap traffic as he worked his way around the top of the track to gain ground on Johnson. Wight fell off the pace allowing Fuller and Friesen to go by for the third and fourth spot. Johnson edged his way through heavy lap traffic building a strong lead of 2.067 seconds over Sheppard. After a hard wreck at Brewerton Speedway the night before Johnson made a strong comeback to capture his 80th Super DIRTcar Series victory and collect the $10,000 payday at Weedsport Speedway over Sheppard, Fuller, Friesen and Wight. “I watched the 9s come up on the leader board into second. I didn’t want to give him a chance so I went as fast as I could. I had no idea how much of a lead I had. All I knew was, whoever was in second, especially Matt, wanted to be first.” After a streak of four wins in a row Sheppard was disappointed with how the race turned out but was happy for Johnson and his team. “We didn’t draw a great number. It was kind of the same deal as last night and then worked our way through the front. We had a really good car but didn’t have anything for Danny tonight. Hats off to Danny, he needed this win.” After a hard fought battle between him and Johnson for the lead early on, Fuller fell back a few spots but came back through late in the race to finish third. “We were really good in the beginning then Danny lined up beside us with that small block and I think he was toying with us having a small block. We weren’t that good. I would say around lap twenty or thirty he got us. I went back a few more spots then my car got good enough again towards the end of the race. I think the car was good enough to be second but not to beat Danny.” For additional news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com Photo courtesy of www.dirttrackdigest.com/Jay Fish
Weekly Winners 9/6/16 - 9/12/16 September 12, 2016

Weekly Winners 9/6/16 - 9/12/16

Congratulations to: Ricky Thornton Jr. – Boone Speedway Jeff Strunk – Grandview Speedway Ryan Gustin – Mississippi Thunder Speedway Stan Mullins – Las Vegas Bullring (pictured) A.J. Diemel – River Cities Speedway Andrew Wylie – Dog Hollow Speedway Matt Sheppard – Utica-Rome Speedway & Le RPM Speedway Tommy Bryant – Golden Triangle Raceway Park Kenny Collins – Winder Barrow Speedway Billy Dunn – Can-Am Motorsports Park Austin Horton – Senoia Raceway Dona Marcoullier – Tri-City Motor Speedway Clint Smith – Senoia Raceway
Ricky Thornton Jr. Is Modified Champion at Super Nationals September 10, 2016

Ricky Thornton Jr. Is Modified Champion at Super Nationals

BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 10) – Ricky Thornton Jr. rated his third win of the day Saturday at Boone Speed­way as the biggest of his IMCA Modified career. After racing from 30th to first to win his IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Ca­sey’squalifying feature and start on the front of the outside row of the main event, Thornton won the Harris Auto Racing Race of Champions. He finished third behind Jimmy Gustin and Jeremy Mills in the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational, then ended the night by winning the Modified main event – and $7,000. “This is the biggest win of my career,” said Thornton, from Chandler and the second Arizona driver in Super Nationals history to earn the Modified crown. “To be one of the guys who has won this race is huge.” Thornton had won both the 100th feature of his IMCA career and the $10,001 to win Legendary at Dacotah Speedway earlier this season. He relocated to Iowa and spent much of the summer rac­ing in Iowa and neighboring states. After leading the first 12 laps, Thornton found himself chasing pole starter Mike Van Genderen and then Gustin. He got the lead back following a lap 26 restart and led the last 14 times around the track. Chris Abelson took over second with eight to go; Jordan Grabouski got back into the top four with five laps left. The 34th annual Super Nationals saw a record car count of 906, with drivers from a record-tying 27 states competing. A purse of $300,000 was paid and another $60,000 in contingencies awarded during the Sept. 5-10 event. For more news visit www.raceboone.com
Gustin Earns $40,000 Payday at Mississippi Thunder September 10, 2016

Gustin Earns $40,000 Payday at Mississippi Thunder

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — Ryan Gustin's resume doesn't need any padding. But the 25-year-old star Modified and Late Model racer added some padding early Sunday morning, $40,000 worth of padding to be exact. Gustin, from Marshalltown, Iowa, outlasted a handful of the sport's heavyweights to win the Fifth Annual Modified Nationals at Mississippi Thunder Speedway, a three-day event that featured 240 drivers from all corners of the country. Gustin had to work for the victory, though, pulling his No. 19R Modified into Victory Lane after 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Friday's preliminary show was rained out. Track officials decided to start Friday's make-up races at noon on Saturday, then run Saturday's regularly scheduled show immediately following the make-up events. That led to more than 16 hours of racing on Saturday (and early Sunday). By the time the last checkered flag waved, drivers had earned more than $250,000 in total. Gustin's check was the biggest, though, after he topped a 120-car field. He beat veteran Modified and Late Model driver Scott Bloomquist of Tennessee to the checkers in the A Main, with a handful of top drivers following them across the finish line — two-time United States Modified Touring Series champion Rodney Sanders finished third, Cade Dillard (who is challenging for this year's USMTS title) finished fourth, R.C. Whitwell fifth, and defending USMTS champion Jason Hughes of Watts, Okla., in sixth. Chatfield's Lucas Schott placed seventh in the 31-car A Main. For Gustin, he adds another big-money race victory to an already impressive list that includes the 2011 and 2012 USMTS national championships, the 2012 World Modified Dirt Track Championship and the 2013 King of America. For additional news visit www.postbulletin.com

Jeff Strunk Wins His 6th Freedom 76 September 10, 2016

Jeff Strunk Wins His 6th Freedom 76

BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Jeff Strunk, “the Bechtelsville Bullet,” had been having a rather mediocre season, at least by his usually high standards, at Grandview Speedway behind the wheel of the Glenn Hyneman owned No. 126 Modified. Saturday night the ten-time NASCAR track point champion rectified the 2016 campaign by pulling off his biggest win of the year ­ the Freedom 76-Lap Modified Classic event for a hefty payday of $25,000 plus. He racked up a sizeable amount in lap money, the $100 half-way leader money from Area Auto Racing News and the Dan’s Deli ½-way hoagie award. Strunk didn’t have an easy time in claiming his sixth win in the event, his last being in 2013, as he first dueled with Ryan Watt, who he lost the lead to earlier and then had to thwart off the challenges of second-place finisher and defending race winner Craig VonDohren. Following the five qualifying heats won by Dan Bouc, Jared Umbenhauer, Bobby Varin, Rick Laubach, also the winner of the $1,000 Cash Dash, and David VanHorn plus the Schaeffer Motorsports Minuteman 20 captured by Kyle Borror the 32-car starting field was set for the main event – the 46th Annual Freedom 76. Through the luck of the draw Jeff Strunk pulled the number one seed and he wasted no time maintaining the lead on the initial green from starter Ray Kemp. Thrashing for positions behind him were Watt, Ray Swinehart, Brian Krummel and Mike Kellner. Duane Howard, the race winner in 2011, brought out the first caution on the fifth lap when he slowed on the homestretch. After a quick pit stop he rejoined the action. Strunk maintained first on the restart and within a matter of laps he had a comfortable margin built up over the rest of the competition. Lapped traffic allowed Watt to reel Strunk in and gain some ground. Finally on lap 20, Billy Pauch slowed in turn one after contact with the homestretch wall while running eighth bringing him to an abrupt halt and the yellow was out. This time Watt, who started third, outgunned Strunk to become the new leader. By this time the order behind Watt consisted of Strunk, 12th-place starter Von Dohren, Swinehart and last week’s feature winner Doug Manmiller, who started eighth. The field regrouped when Kellner, in the top ten, brought out the 34th lap caution when he slowed his pace in turn four. When action went green again with Watt on the high lane and Strunk hugging the inside, the pair battled side-by-side for several laps with neither one lifting. Strunk was back in front at the conclusion of the 37th lap. Don Norris Jr. slowed in the second turn for the yellow shortly after Strunk regained control and that brought out a mandatory fuel stop. After the seven-minute stop, Strunk was still first, but now Manmiller and VonDohren were second and third as Watt got shuffled to fourth and Rick Laubach fifth. VonDohren was back in the runner-up spot on the 43rd lap and set his sights on Strunk. Ryan Godown brought out the final caution on the 49th lap after contact with the homestretch wall brought him to a stop in turn two. Once again the restart saw Strunk stick with the inside path and VonDohren running his familiar high lane. The two swapped paint on occasion, but not enough to change the status. Waiting in the wings for a miscue in hopes of advancement were Laubach, Manmiller and Watt. Lapped cars came into the picture again on the 66th lap and Laubach began gaining ground on the front two. Strunk kept everyone behind him and went on to claim his third win of the season at the 1/3-mile oval followed by VonDohren, Laubach, Manmiller and Watt. Rounding out the top ten were Swinehart, Krummel, Umbenhauer, Kyle Weiss and Varin. For additional news visit www.dirttrackdigest.com