RPW Column: Marlar Holds Off McCreadie To Win Third Knoxville Late Model Nationals

Column By: ROBERT SYMONDS / RPW – KNOXVILLE, IA – Scoring high points on prelim nights was both the Mega Plumbing Of The Carolinas Number 39 Tim McCreadie and the Best Performance Motorsports 1T of Terbo Tyler Erb.

They would lead the field to the green flag for the Late Model Nationals at Knoxville.

As the field took off McCreadie would pull away from Erb by nearly a straightaway until lap traffic became a factor with only ten laps in the books. Terbo Tyler Erb would catch McCreadie quickly as McCreadie was stuck behind some of the slower cars. Erb would try to sling it to the outside but McCreadie still held the lead on the bottom. Just after crossing the stripe for lap 11, McCreadie would go back top side but Erb would make it three wide with a lap car to take the lead on lap 12.

Shortly after on lap 21, the caution flag would fly for the first time as Jonathan Davenport would have overheating issues that would sideline him for the rest of the event. On the restart, Erb would pull away and Mike Marlar in the 157 would blast by the 39 of McCreadie to take over second. Shortly after, McCreadie would gather it back in and take back over the runner up spot on lap 28 running the bottom lane.

Yellow flag would fly for the mandatory fuel pit stop where drivers could refuel their cars on lap 40. However coming down off turn 4 to pass the start/finish line for lap 40, Tyler Erb would slow and Tim McCreadie would inherit the lead after closing in on Terbo the last few laps. Erb however would have a broken rearend gear which would put him to the tail end of the field for the restart.

For the restart, the Winfield Warrior Mike Marlar got a huge run on the top side to take the lead on lap 41 away from McCreadie. While in lap traffic on lap 56, Marlar and McCreadie would race side by side by Marlar would continue to hold on to the lead. In clean air, Marlar would stretch it out over 1.4 seconds on lap 57. Ricky Weiss would use the middle to top side of the track to get by Earl Pearson Jr for third on lap 56. Terbo has turned up the wick. Started 19th on the restart and was up to 10th on lap 60.

Weiss would slip up off the bottom on lap 66 and Pearson would take back over third, this being 3.7 seconds back from the leader Mike Marlar. Tyler Erb continues his assault with lap 72 being up to position 7. Ricky Thornton Jr would bring out the yellow on lap 75 after running in 6th with a right front flat. Erb would now be scored sixth for the restart after being the fastest car on the track since the restart.

On the ensuing restart, Marlar would maintain control but Pearson would lose third to Weiss yet again as those two swap positions. Erb would scoot past Hudson O’Neal on the top side to take over the 5th spot. Pearson and Weiss side by side for quite a few laps after the restart as Marlar and McCreadie would pull away from the rest of the field. As he has done so many times before, McCreadie would close in on Marlar as they close in on lap traffic however Marlar would still be able to pull away. Marlar would slip up on the top and McCreadie would take over on lap 89 but Marlar once again puts his 157 on the top groove and takes over back the lead on lap 90 with McCreadie still in striking distance.

In the last ten laps, Marlar would keep his Tri-Rivers 157 even steven to win the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals for the third time in his career.

“Once I got the car out in clean air, the car was really good,” Mike Marlar said in Victory Lane. “Tim raced me hard but clean, he’s such a clean professional driver and he almost had me a couple times but our car was good in clean air.”

Tim McCreadie, the current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Point Leader, would finish second and extend the point lead over both O’Neal and Davenport.

“Hats off to my crew who worked hard the last few days,” McCreadie mentioned in Victory Lane. “I was a little too tight to run the middle of top but the car felt good on the bottom and we were quick down there.”

LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES LATE MODEL KNOXVILLE NATIONALS Unofficial Results (100 Laps) – MIKE MARLAR, Tim McCreadie, Ricky Weiss, Earl Pearson Jr, Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Josh Richards, Chris Simpson, Chad Simpson, Frank Heckenast Jr, Kyle Bronson, Shannon Babb, Ricky Thornton Jr, Chase Junghans, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Tyler Bruening, Kyle Strickler, Garrett Alberson, Kyle Hammer, Spencer Hughes, Tad Pospisil, Tony Jackson Jr, Charlie McKenna, Jonathan Davenport, Logan Martin, Ryan Gustin, Jeremiah Hurst, Jason Feger

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