Mike Marlar is Perfect on Night #2 of the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals!

Mike Marlar wins on Night #2 of the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey's General Stores (Knoxville Raceway Photo)

Mike Marlar wins on Night #2 of the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores (Knoxville Raceway Photo)

by Bill Wright

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (September 15, 2017) – Winfield, Tennessee’s Mike Marlar became the second driver in as many years to attain a perfect “500” score Friday night on Night #2 of the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores. Marlar set quick time in his group, won his heat and took a late lead to win the feature after starting in row four. His sweep means that he will start on the pole for Saturday night’s $40,000 to win 100-lap championship event. Thursday’s winner, Josh Richards, also claimed a perfect 500 score in 2016.

Before a lap could be completed in the 25-lap feature, a chain reaction back in the pack meant the end of Don O’Neal’s evening. Earl Pearson Jr. and Tyler Bruening both went to the work area and restarted at the tail.

Tim McCreadie took the lead on lap one, but it was Brandon Sheppard who set sail, taking the point on lap two ahead of McCreadie, Jared Landers, Darrell Lanigan and Marlar. The top five stayed the same until a three-wide battle for third cleared with Marlar taking that position ahead of Lanigan and Landers.

Chris Simpson was also on the move early, passing Landers for fourth on the thirteenth lap. The leaders entered lapped traffic on lap 14, but that was brief. When Justin Feger slowed, Boom Briggs had nowhere to go, making contact and spinning in front of the leaders on the backstretch. Everyone was able to evade him.

Sheppard led the field back to green ahead of McCreadie, Marlan, Simpson and Landers at that point. Josh Richards entered the top five on lap 16. McCreadie stayed true to the bottom groove and took the lead from Sheppard after a brief battle on lap 18. At that point, Landers stopped with a flat tire.

With seven laps to go, McCreadie now led Sheppard, Marlar, Simpson and Richards. Marlar quickly moved into second and Richards followed into third. Marlar gained momentum on the high side and rode around McCreadie on lap 20. He sailed to victory ahead of McCreadie, Richards, Sheppard and Simpson. Jimmy Mars, Chase Junghans, Bobby Pierce, Lanigan and Gregg Satterlee rounded out the top ten.

Heats were worth the price of admission alone. Three of the six winners came from row four including Marlar, Richards and Lanigan. Hudson O’Neal, Sheppard and Junghans won the other heats. Dennis Erb Jr. won the C main, and Don O’Neal took the B.

The top 24 in points locked into Saturday night’s 100-lap championship event. Marlar will be joined in the front row by Jonathan Davenport. Richards, Sheppard, Don O’Neal and McCreadie will make up rows two and three.

“It was an awesome race there,” said Marlar. “When the caution came out when I went into third, it was an awesome race! Fortunately, I came out on top. If I hadn’t of, it was just an awesome race and a good show. We just had a good car tonight. My team is so awesome. We had a rough night last night, and those guys came through and helped us get things patched together.”

“You’re a sitting duck on restarts when you’re running around that bottom,” said McCreadie. “You have to slow down so much on that bottom to keep your right front in the traction. I just thought it was going to be Brandon, and then it was Marlar. Those guys know what they’re doing. We’ll work on our car for tomorrow and hopefully, get a little better.”

“The track was a lot slicker tonight,” said Richards. “We kind of let the car run to see what we had. We tried some stuff early in the night and it worked. Now I feel a bit on the free side. Mike and his guys did a good job. We’re going to have to be a tick better to keep up with him and some of the other cars. We had a good run, but I think we’ll be o.k. tomorrow.”

The 14th Annual Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores concludes Saturday night, September 16! For more information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com!

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Posted by on Sep 16 2017. Filed under Local Sports, Professional Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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