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
World of Outlaws: Mars From
Seventh to Win "Firecracker" Final at Lernerville; Runner Up Bloomquist Wants Closer Look at
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
With #1 Josh Richards in pursuit, Jimmy Mars ducks past
Dale McDowell on his way to the lead at Lernerville Speedway. (Joe Secka / JMS
"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 became the
first repeat winner of the "Firecracker 100" at Lernerville Speedway. (Gary
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.
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 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