Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – MENOMONIE, WI – The Badger state has been good to Mike Marlar in 2022.
After scoring a victory at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in May, the Winfield, TN driver backed it up with another Wisconsin victory Sunday at Red Cedar Speedway with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series.
Marlar, who started on the pole, lost the lead to Ricky Weiss in the first few laps before he found the cushion on a Lap 5 restart. That’s when he blasted past Weiss on the outside of Turn 2 and held on to earn his second Series win of 2022 and 10th overall.
The former World of Outlaws champion’s ability to search for the right line paid off in his quest for $10,000 at the Rumble at the Red Cedar.
“When I took off, my right rear tire didn’t fire like I wanted it to,” Marlar said. “It was kind of just not going very good. So, when that happened, I was just kind of no good for a few laps there, and then we had that caution, and I scrubbed it around under caution and felt it was gripping a little better.”
While Marlar led 35 laps, Ryan Gustin challenged him for the lead on multiple occasions.
The Marshalltown, IA driver chased Marlar for more than 20 laps, banging the rear of his car off the wall lap after lap in his hot pursuit, until something broke in the rear-end of his Rocket chassis.
Once Marlar saw “The Reaper” coming, he knew he had to be more aggressive out front.
“Ryan really does an awesome job running the cushion,” Marlar said. “He’s a fierce competitor, and he’s not afraid to put [the car] in tight spots.
“When I saw it was him on the [scoreboard] and that he was running second, it changed my attitude for sure. I was kind of not really taking it easy, but I was driving pretty conservatively until I saw what he was doing. And then I knew it was game on from here on out.”
Gustin finished 20th after dropping out with 12 laps to go. Even though he experienced heartbreak on Sunday, he was content knowing he had a car good enough to find Victory Lane.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Gustin said. “I was all over [Marlar] there, and [the track] was pretty top dominant, so there wasn’t really a whole lot I could do. We just got into lap traffic when that happened, and every time we got into lap traffic before that, the yellow would come out.
“I was really hoping to race that one out and maybe get to sliding each other and have a little fun. But I definitely think we had a shot at it, and it’s just bad luck, I guess.”
Weiss crossed the line second after leading the race’s first five laps. The Headingley, MB driver stated he was happy with his finish and didn’t feel comfortable racing on the cushion like Marlar and Gustin.
“[Marlar] and Gustin are just so good up there,” Weiss said. “It just doesn’t feel right for me to go bang that cushion. Would the car do it? Yeah, if you put one of them in it, they could probably do exactly what they did.
“But I’m real proud of [my crew]. The car was really good right through the middle and right through the slick. Take that brown away from the top, and I think we have a really good hot rod.”
Series points leader Dennis Erb Jr. finished third, his second podium finish this weekend. The Carpentersville, IL driver extended his points lead to 170 points over Max Blair, who finished sixth.
His patience early in the race paid off as he dove under Shane Clanton to grab the podium spot on the final lap.
“The car was getting good there, and I kind of had to survive a little bit,” Erb said. “Some of these guys from around here were running into you and running you into the tires. And it messed the front end up a little bit.
“Once we got back going, I was good, and we worked ourselves back up in there to get a third again.”
Clanton crossed the line fourth after charging from 13th to third in the first five laps. The Zebulon, GA driver found the outside line early but thought his tire choice might have hurt his chances at the win.
“I don’t know if we sealed a tire or what after that first little bit,” Clanton said. “We used a used tire from [Friday], and it just didn’t go after the first green flag. It was definitely a different race car after the tire sealed up or whatever.”
Jimmy Mars, from Menomonie, WI, rounded out the top five. The “Iceman” bounced back after a tough Qualifying run to start the night.
“We qualified bad and didn’t Heat Race that good even though we got a couple of spots,” Mars said. “In the Feature we were good and then me and Clanton got together when I was going for third there and if that didn’t happen, I don’t know what would’ve. I think we were pretty good out there.”
Mike Marlar has taken $60,000 in winnings from Wisconsin in World of Outlaws CASE Late Models competition this season. He’ll have a chance to add to that total next month, when another $50,000 is on the line with the World of Outlaws at Cedar Lake Speedway, Aug. 4-6 – live on DIRTVision.
UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models travel to Boone Speedway in Boone, IA for the Hawkeye 50 on Monday, July 25, with a $20,000 payday on the line.
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (40 Laps): 1. 157-Mike Marlar; 2. 7-Ricky Weiss; 3. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 4. 25-Shane Clanton; 5. 28M-Jimmy Mars; 6. 111V-Max Blair; 7. 81E-Tanner English; 8. 55C-Chad Mahder; 9. 21-Billy Moyer Sr; 10. B1-Brent Larson; 11. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 12. 1-Josh Richards; 13. 99B-Boom Briggs; 14. 28S-Sam Mars; 15. 49-Jake Timm; 16. 68-Mike Prochnow; 17. 85-John Kaanta; 18. 6M-Jeff Massingill; 19. 90-Lance Matthees; 20. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 21. 11G-James Giossi; 22. 29-Spencer Diercks; 23. 7X-Jesse Glenz Fox Factory Hard Charger: Jimmy Mars [+11]