- Sept. 24-25 - Columbus Speedway Magnolia State 100 by Sam Holbrooks


Mike Marlar - Magnolia State 100 CF

Sporting heavy right side body damage, Mike Marlar takes the checkered flag at Columbus Speedway at the conclusion of Dewitt Singleton's annual "Magnolia State 100". (Inset) Marlar and crew in Victory Lane. (Connie Putnam)

COLUMBUS, Miss. - Sept. 25. Mike Marlar took over control of the 21st annual "Magnolia State 100" on lap 16, survived a hard lick from an out of shape lapped car a third of the way through the race, and steered his damaged mount to his second career win in the Magnolia State's crown jewel event. His first came in the 2004 version of the Dewitt Singleton promoted classic.

Mike Marlar is congratulated by runner up and three-time MS 100 winner, Shane Clanton. (Connie Putnam) 
With only ten of the original 26 starters completing the laps, the high attrition rate was not limited to the usual backmarkers early in the race, as one top runner after another was added to the list of DNF's as the laps wore on. Marlar, of Winfield, Tenn., manhandled a damaged mount that many would have thought would not survive the 100-lap grind.

Driving the David Wells-owned #36, Marlar had set fast time in his qualifying group, won his heat race on Friday, and after polesitter Shane Clanton shot out to a large lead over David Breazeale, watched from the third position during the early laps. Clanton was into slower traffic in short order, allowing Breazeale and Marlar to close in to mount a challenge on Clanton's #25.

Breazeale moved in on the leader and slid his #54 in front of Clanton on lap 16. As Breazeale's slide job fell a little short, he clipped Clanton's left front, slowing

Mike Marlar is interviewed by Columbus Speedway's Ross Tingle after his big win. (Connie Putnam)
him enough for Marlar to follow into second. Clanton regrouped to retake second, then as he tried to reclaim the lead from Breazeale, his #25 hit the new leader, sending him into the turn four wall. The Four Corners, Miss. driver retired for the night with right side damage.

Marlar had the lead at the restart as the field reverted to the last completed lap. Clanton continued to maintain second in his damaged mount with Francis third. An advancing Clint Smith had managed to displace Billy Moyer and Bub McCool to reach fourth.

Marlar enjoyed a clear track for the next few laps, but after a lap 29 caution for a stopped Billy Moyer, Jr., East Tennessee racer Tommy Kerr emerged from the pits and re-entered the fray ahead of the leaders. jumped the track's heavy outside berm a lap later, and hit the wall in turn three. Kerr's car then came down into Marlar's #36, inflicting significant damage to Marlar's sheet metal and right rear chassis assembly. Clanton was also collected, but able to continue. Kerr's race was over, adding to an accelerating rate of attrition that would leave few than half the cars on the track at race's end.

Despite heavy spoiler damage to both Marlar and Clanton's now mis-handling race cars, they would continue in the top two spots. Up to that point, Bub McCool had run a strong race inside the top five, and continued to chase third running Steve Fancis. McCool's luck went south, however, when he and Randy Weaver got together. McCool suffered race ending damage, while Weaver was able continue in the top five until late in the race.

With Clint Smith and Billy Moyer into the top five behind Marlar, Clanton, and Francis, problems would continue to haunt the frontrunners. Smith parked his #44 with mechanical issues on lap 39, ending his chances of continuing a recent strong of top fives. At Smith's departure, Wendell Wallace moved into the top five until he too took an ailing #88 to the pits with engine woes.

After the restart from caution on lap 60, Francis made his way by Clanton to take over second and offer the most serious threat of the night to Marlar's bent by fast #36, but Marlar was able to keep Francis in check until Weaver became the next to retire from a top five spot on lap 83 with a steaming radiator.

Back under way, Francis continued to chase Marlar, but at a track, and an event, that has rarely been kind to the Eastern Kentucky driver, Francis' fortunes again tanked with only four laps to go when the engine also expired on his #15. As Francis joined more than half of the field that was by then parked for the night, Clanton retook his second spot for the restart and held off Moyer as he watched Marlar race to his second Magnolia State 100 win.

21st starting Chris Madden and Terry English completed the top five, while Rick Rickman survived the high attrition at his home track to post a sixth place finish over young drivers Ethen Hunter and Kyle Beard. Little Rock area veteran Dewaine Hottinger hung on to ninth place to finish in front Missouri's Jesse Stovall, and last man standing.

In the NeSmith Crate Late Model feature, Cliff Williams and Jeremy Shaw fought for the lead for several laps before Williams got some breathing room late in the race to claim the $2,500 win. Shaw, Mike Boland, Eric Cooley, and Chris Ragan followed.

Mike Marlar hd - Magnolia State 100

Sept. 25 - Columbus Speedway "Magnolia State 100"
1) Mike Marlar 2) Shane Clanton 3) Billy Moyer 4) Chris Madden 5) Terry English 6) Rick Rickman 7) Ethan Hunter 8) Kyle Beard 9) Dewaine Hottinger 10) Jesse Stovall 11) Steve Francis 12) Randy Weaver 13) Wendell Wallace 14) Dane Dacus 15) Jason Cliburn 16) Clint Smith 17) Tony Knowles 18) Josh Putnam 19) Bub McCool 20) Tommy Kerr 21) Billy Moyer, Jr. 22) David Gentry 23) David Breazeale 24) Freddy Smith 25) Jack Sullivan 26) Brooks Strength

Fast Time (71 entries): Clanton (13.270); Heat winners: Clanton, Marlar, Breazeale, Francis, Billy Moyer (Sr.), Hunter; B-Main winners: Freddy Smith, Putnam, Madden; Last Chance Dash winner: Dacus

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