latemodelamerica.com - June 25 - Lernerville Speedway "Firecracker 100"
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Lernerville Speedway Firecracker 100

After starting seventh on the grid, #28 Jimmy Mars makes quick work of Scott Bloomquist for the lead and begins a dominant run to the $30,000 win in Lernerville Speedway's annual "Firecracker 100". (Cory Stivason)

World of Outlaws: Mars From Seventh to Win "Firecracker" Final at Lernerville; Runner Up Bloomquist Wants Closer Look at Tires

Kevin Kovac

SARVER, Pa. - June 25.Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., turned the fifth annual "Firecracker 100" into a personal joy-ride on Saturday, romping to his second career victory in the crown-jewel World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Lernerville Speedway.

Scott Bloomquist - Rick Eckert at Lernerville Speedway
Neither Scott Bloomquist nor Rick Eckert, both of whom were strong in preliminary events over the three nights, were any match for Jimmy Mars at Lernerville. The pair finished second and third, respectively. (Cory Stivason)

Driving the same MB Customs car that he steered to the checkered flag in the 2009 edition of the summer-starting spectacular, Mars navigated forward from the seventh starting spot to grab the lead from 2007 Firecracker 100 winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., on lap 45 and never looked back. He cruised around the four-tenths-mile oval to post a commanding 4.434-second margin of victory over Bloomquist.

Tim McCreadie and Tim Fuller at lernerville Speedway

New Yorkers Tim McCreadie and #19 Tim Fuller race to sixth and seventh place finishes at Lernerville. (Cory Stivason)

Mars, 39, pocketed $30,050 as he became the first repeat winner of the Firecracker 100. His latest success, however, came in much less dramatic fashion than in '09 when he pitted early to change a cut tire and rallied to snatch the lead from Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., in the final laps.

"This route (to victory) went a little bit smoother," said Mars, who registered his fourth career win on the WoO LMS. "Usually it seems like all of my bigger wins have been kind of an uphill battle, but tonight went pretty good. Once we were able to get up to the front and kind of run the line that I wanted to, everything was just awesome."


Josh Richards and Steve Shaver at Lernerville Speedway  
Josh Richards found the top side late in the race and rolled around #6 Steve Shaver to finish fourth at Lernerville. Shaver was fifth at the stripe. (Cory Stivason)

The 46-year-old Bloomquist, who started third and led laps 31-44, ran roughly a straightaway behind Mars throughout the 53-lap stretch of green-flag racing that closed the race. He was clearly second-best – unable to keep his self-built Team Zero mount close to Mars, but also never in danger of losing the runner-up spot.

WoO LMS points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa., who started from the pole position and led laps 1-30, finished a distant third, 14.715 seconds behind Mars and over 10 seconds in arrears of Bloomquist. It was a career-best placing in the Firecracker 100 for Eckert, who put a $7,650 cap on a weekend that also included runner-up finishes in both 30-lap WoO LMS preliminary A-Mains.

Shane Clanton and Darrell Lanigan at Lernerville Speedway

Darrell Lanigan (#29) saw his recent hot streak effectively shut down at Lernerville, as the Kentucky ace had to settle for 13th place. Shane Clanton (#25) fared only slightly better in tenth. (Todd Battin)

 Two-time defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., also recorded a career-high finish in the Firecracker 100, using a late-race surge to take fourth in his father Mark's Rocket Chassis house car. He found an outside lane around the track to move from eighth to fourth over the final 30 circuits, falling just a car length short of Eckert at the checkered flag.

Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., completed the top five in the K&L Rumley Rocket car. He started from the outside pole and held second place until losing the spot on a lap-18 restart and ultimately falling two more positions over the remaining distance.

Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Mars at Lernerville Speedway

Absent from this year's "Firecracker 100" was the absence of any hint of anymosity between #0 Scott Bloomquist and #28 Jimmy Mars, who were involved in a controversial skirmish last year. Mars won this year's event just ahead of Bloomquist. (Cory Stivason)  

Mars, who finished fourth in Thursday night's preliminary feature but didn't compete on Friday evening due to an engine issue, began to show his superiority about a quarter of the way into the 100. A relatively quiet fifth when the race's third of four caution flags flew on lap 18 for a turn-four spin by Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., Mars soon turned up the wick, grabbing fourth from Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., shortly after the restart, third from Shaver on lap 28 and second from Eckert on lap 38.

The Wisconsinite's relentless march to the front was complete when he ducked underneath Bloomquist off turn two and surged into the lead on lap 45.

Jimmy Mars - Dale McDowell - Josh Richards

With #1 Josh Richards in pursuit, Jimmy Mars ducks past Dale McDowell on his way to the lead at Lernerville Speedway. (Joe Secka / JMS ProPhoto)


"Once my (hard-compound) tires started to get a little bit of heat in them they started working," said Mars, whose last WoO LMS win came in July, 2010, at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D. "(Bloomquist) kind of left the bottom open so we got in the lead and it worked out."

After the race's final caution flag was needed on lap 47 when Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., slowed with MSD box problems, Mars simply drove away from the field in one of the most dominant performances on the 2011 tour. He scarcely let up, lapping up to the 10th-place finisher.

"You just don't know what's gonna' happen when you haven't won for a while," Mars said of his continued aggressiveness despite holding a substantial lead. "I've been too passive in lapped cars before and got snooked in lapped traffic, and I wasn't gonna let that happen."

Jimmy Mars - Firecracker 100 winner at Lernerville Speedway

Jimmy Mars became the first repeat winner of the "Firecracker 100" at Lernerville Speedway. (Gary Shrey)

Bloomquist had no answer for Mars's speed, but he did question its source. Following the race Bloomquist lodged a formal protest with WoO LMS officials concerning Mars's tires; as a result, Mars's left-rear and right-front Hoosier tires were impounded to be sent off for detailed laboratory testing, underwritten by Bloomquist.

"Sometimes it's good to be sure just to keep everybody honest," Bloomquist said of the decision. "My hat will be off twice as high if everything comes back (correct) on tires. It's not about – again, he had a good car. He looked good out there tonight. I just know that the difference between second and first is substantial."

Mars flatly denied Bloomquist's accusation of tire doctoring in an interview with DirtonDirt.com reporters following the event.

Lux, who repaired his car after it sustained significant damage in an opening-lap tangle during Friday's preliminary A-Main, passed Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., for the lead on lap 13 of the 'Uncle Sam' event and never looked back. He beat 2009 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, to the finish line by 1.559 seconds to pocket a cool $3,000 consolation prize.

Lynn Geisler horse show throwing contest  

No "Firecracker" trophy, but veteran Pennsylvania driver Lynn Geisler and partner were in fine form to pick up the $300 win in the popular horse shoe thowing contest. (Cory Stivason)

With Saturday's heat races lined up using drivers' best finish from the Thursday and Friday preliminary action, the 10-lap qualifiers were captured by Bloomquist, Brady Smith, Eckert, McCreadie, Shaver and McDowell. The B-Mains were won by Jared Miley of South Park, Pa., Jared Hawkins of Fairmont, W.Va., and Stone.

Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., salvaged a rough weekend at Lernerville with a victory in the 'Uncle Sam 30' Non-Qualifiers' Race that preceded the Firecracker 100.

Lux, who repaired his car after it sustained significant damage in an opening-lap tangle during Friday night's preliminary A-Main, passed Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., for the lead on lap 13 of the 'Uncle Sam' event and never looked back. He beat 2009 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, to the finish line by 1.559 seconds to pocket a cool $3,000 consolation prize.

Matt Lux races to non-qualifier's win

Matt Lux races toward a $3,000 payday for the non-qualifiers race win at Lernerville Speedway. (Todd Battin)

June 25 - Lernerville Speedway World of Outlaws
1) Jimmy Mars, 2) Scott Bloomquist, 3) Rick Eckert, 4) Josh Richards, 5) Steve Shaver, 6) Tim McCreadie, 7) Tim Fuller, 8) Dale McDowell, 9) Dan Stone, 10) Shane Clanton, 11) Chub Frank (prov.), 12) Jonathan Davenport, 13) Darrell Lanigan, 14) Austin Hubbard, 15) Pat Doar, 16) Mike Marlar, 17) Jared Miley, 18) Clint Smith, 19) Tyler Reddick, 20) Vic Coffey, 21) Jared Hawkins, 22) John Lobb (prov.), 23) Ron Davies, 24) Dave Hess, Jr. (prov.), 25) Rick 'Boom' Briggs, 26) Bub McCool, 27) Gregg Satterlee (prov.), 28) Brady Smith
Heat winners (60 entries): Bloomquist, Smith, Eckert, McCreadie, Shaver, McDowell; B-Main winners: Hawkins, Stone; Non-qualifier's race winner: Matt Lux

Kevin Kovac photo

 

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