Late Caution Flag Helps Mars in ‘Wild West Tour’ Finale At Dakota State Fair Speedway

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

HURON, SD – July 10, 2010 – The lone caution flag of Saturday night’s ‘Great Plains 50’ came at just the right time for Jimmy Mars. 

Mars, 38, of Menomonie, Wis., was about to receive a challenge for the lead from Brady Smith and Darrell Lanigan when the yellow lights blinked on with three laps remaining, setting Mars free from lapped traffic and propelling him to victory in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Dakota State Fair Speedway.

The $10,000 triumph was Mars’s second on the four-race ‘Wild West Tour,’ which concluded with Saturday night’s rain-threatened program at DSFS. He also won on Thursday night in a dominant performance at his home state’s Superior Speedway.

“You have your peaks and valleys with this deal,” said Mars, who pushed his career WoO LMS win total to three. “The beginning of the season was absolutely terrible for us, but we’ve worked hard and got our deal back in synch. We’re just kind of on top of the peak right now and we’re gonna enjoy it.”

Mars, who started second, drove his Deppe Enterprises MB Customs car by polesitter Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for the lead on lap two and was never headed. He led by as much as a full straightaway until being run down in the closing laps by Solon Springs, Wis.’s Smith and Union, Ky.’s Lanigan.

Smith and Lanigan were directly behind Mars and ready to bid for the lead when Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa, stopped between turns one and two on lap 47, causing the only break in the fast-paced race’s action. Mars then easily glided away from the pack on the ensuing restart to reach the checkered flag first.

Lanigan, 40, overtook Smith for second on the restart but couldn’t catch Mars, leaving the 2008 WoO LMS champion with his fourth consecutive runner-up finish on the ‘Wild West Tour.’ He charged forward from the 11th starting spot to continue his profitable-but-frustrating run of second-best outings with his GottaRace.com Rocket car.

Francis also slipped by Smith on the final restart and finished third driving his crew chief Tim Logan’s Rocket car. Smith settled for fourth place after nearly guiding his Team Zero by Bloomquist mount from the 12th starting spot to the lead, and 18-year-old WoO LMS rookie Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., overtook Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., on the restart to place fifth in Dale Beitler’s Rocket car.

Mars said he didn’t know that Smith and Lanigan had run him down, but he felt he had some speed in reserve to turn them back. He proved that point when he ran away on the restart.

“I wasn’t pushing it as hard as I needed to,” Mars said of his late-race pace. “When you’re leading and trying to pass lapped cars, you can be kind of the sitting duck. I thought if I slowed down for that lapped car (on lap 47) it was gonna be tough for anybody to get a run on the outside, but I guess those guys got pretty close to me.

“I had a lot left in the car. When I was on open track I could really haul the mail, but if I would’ve heard them I could’ve stepped the wick up.

“The caution definitely helped us,” he added, “but we’ll take the win however we can get it. Whether I take it by an inch or a half a lap, it’s a win.”

Lanigan, meanwhile, was surprisingly upbeat after falling one position short of victory for the fourth night in a row. He was the first driver to make the four-tenths-mile track’s outside groove work, running high through the corners to march from eighth place to second in a 10-lap span from laps 25-35. Smith mirrored Lanigan’s moves and actually slipped by him for second on lap 46, but Lanigan regained the position on the final restart.

“For where we started we did pretty good to get where we did,” said Lanigan, who has one win this season. “I didn’t need that caution there at the end. They (Mars and Smith) had kinda got bunched up (behind the lapped cars) and I thought maybe I had something on the outside.

“Our car’s been good enough to win, but we’re falling short.”

Smith, 33, stood dejectedly in the pit area after seeing his hopes for a slump-busting victory evaporate with the late caution flag. He went from being in position to bid for the lead to losing traction off turn two on the restart and falling to fourth.

“I had just gotten to (Mars) the lap the caution came out,” said Smith, who last month dropped off the WoO LMS as a regular to regroup his self-owned team. “I was going to make my move the next lap, but I never got the chance.

“We were done after the caution. I used my stuff up really bad to get where I was, so my tires were totally bald. I just couldn’t grip the track anymore.”

Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, finished sixth after starting fourth and running in the top five for much of the distance. McCreadie’s attempt to pick up positions with an outside charge on the final restart caused him to fall to seventh at the finish. Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., finished eighth after running as high as fourth, defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., placed a quiet ninth and fifth-starter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., faded to 10th.

Richards ended the ‘Wild West Tour’ leading the WoO LMS points standings by 18 points over McCreadie and 46 over Lanigan.

Richards earned his third fast-time award of 2010 with a lap of 18.621 seconds during Ohlins Shocks Time Trials.

Heat winners were McCreadie, Birkhofer, Eckert and Francis. The B-Mains were captured by Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.

The WoO LMS is idle until kicking off the five-race Ohio-Pennsylvania Speedweek on Tues., July 27, at Central PA Speedway in Clearfield, Pa.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Great Plains 50’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (2) Jimmy Mars/50 $10,000
2. (11) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,600
3. (1) Steve Francis/50 $3,675
4. (12) Brady Smith/50 $2,500
5. (7) Austin Hubbard/50 $2,750
6. (4) Brian Birkhofer/50 $1,700
7. (3) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,000
8. (10) Shane Clanton/50 $1,800
9. (6) Josh Richards/50 $1,850
10. (5) Rick Eckert/50 $1,600
11. (9) Pat Doar/50 $1,550
12. (13) Chub Frank/50 $1,500
13. (17) Clint Smith/50 $1,500
14. (18) Tim Fuller/50 $1,400
15. (8) Russell King/48 $1,350
16. (24) Jill George/47 $800
17. (21) Larry Wight/47 $770
18. (16) Keith Foss/21 $750
19. (15) Eric Mass/19 $730
20. (22) Dustin Hapka/15 $700
21. (14) Brad Seng/12 $700
22. (19) Brian Diede/9 $700
23. (20) Lance Mathees/7 $700
24. (23) Brent Robinson/1 $1,225

* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses

Yellow Flags: 1 (Lap 47)
Lap Leaders: Francis (1); Mars (2-50)
Provisional Starters: Robinson, George
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Doar ($500)

Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 18.621
2. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 18.690
3. 90-Lance Mathees/Winona, MN 18.723
4. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 18.757
5. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 18.882
6. 12s-Brad Seng/Grand Forks, ND 18.933
7. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 18.933
8. 12H-Jason Hughes/Westfield, OK 18.936
9. 11-Pat Doar/New Richmond, WI 18.959
10. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 19.046
11. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 19.052
12. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 19.064
13. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 19.119
14. 15b-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, IA 19.125
15. 44M-Eric Mass/Rapid City, SD 19.313
16. 28-Jimmy Mars/Menomonie, WI 19.314
17. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 19.340
18. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 19.419
19. 18-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 19.432
20. 95-Keith Foss/Winona, MN 19.518
21. 1QT-Brian Diede/Huron, SD 19.582
22. 11c-Curt Gelling/Aberdeen, SD 19.582
23. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 19.698
24. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 19.782
25. 7-Chad Chenoweth/Huron, SD 19.869
26. 99L-Larry Wight/Baldwinsville, NY 19.907
27. 17J-John Winge/Ringgold, GA 19.986
28. 11M-Paul Mueller/Bismarck, ND 20.084
29. 57-Chad Williamson/Watertown, SD 20.093
30. 52x-David McDonald/Huron, SD 20.130
31. 20F-Jason Fritzsche/Huron, SD 20.166
32. 82-John Bey/Sturgis, SD 20.325
33. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 20.462
34. 9-Kent Arment/Aberdeen, SD 20.568

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McCreadie, Richards, Doar, Frank, Robinson, Diede, Chenoweth, Williamson, George

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Birkhofer, King, Clanton, Seng, C. Smith, Wight, McDonald, Gelling, Arment

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Eckert, Hubbard, Lanigan, Mass, Mathees, Hapka, Fritzsche, Winge

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Mars, B. Smith, Foss, Fuller, Hughes, Bey, Mueller

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): C. Smith, Diede, Wight, Gelling, McDonald, Arment, George, Williamson, Chenoweth (DNS) Robinson

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Fuller, Mathees, Hapka, Hughes, Mueller, Winge, Bey, Fritzsche

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): Clint Smith/Tim Fuller
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Pat Doar
Eibach Springs (one free spring): Jill George/Dustin Hapka
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Steve Francis
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Brent Robinson
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): Josh Richards
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Austin Hubbard
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): Brad Seng
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Clint Smith
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Tim Fuller
R2C Performance ($100 certificate): Steve Francis
STP ($50 cash award): Clint Smith
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Curt Gelling
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal):

2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of July 10 – 28 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Josh Richards 3732
2. Tim McCreadie 3714 (-18)
3. Darrell Lanigan 3686 (-46)
4. Steve Francis 3616 (-116)
5. Austin Hubbard 3538 (-194)
6. Shane Clanton 3520 (-212)
7. Rick Eckert 3474 (-258)
8. Tim Fuller 3468 (-264)
9. Chub Frank 3402 (-330)
10. Clint Smith 3316 (-416)
11. Russell King 3138 (-594)
12. Brent Robinson 2796 (-936)
13. Brady Smith 2786 (-946)
14. Jill George 2126 (-1606)
15. Brian Birkhofer 1566 (-2166)

FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.

To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.

LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.

To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.

Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected]

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and Chizmark Larson Insurance; in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance and Wrisco Aluminum.