Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Odds-on favorite Mars captures Vegas opener
By Kevin KovacDIRTcar Racing
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Nov. 20) — Track dominator Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., topped opening night of the inaugural Silver State DIRTcar Championships, capturing Friday’s 20-lap preliminary feature at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. | Notebook | Slideshow
Mars, 37, continued to shine when he visits the half-mile oval outside Sin City, winning for the fifth time in seven starts since 2007. He blasted out of the fourth starting to pass Dean Moore of Grand Junction, Colo., for the lead on lap one and never looked back in the first-ever topless Dirt Late Model event at LVMS.
Driving his own Deppe Enterprises-sponsored MB Customs Chassis for the first time at LVMS, Mars maintained an advantage of about a half-straightaway over his nearest pursuer for much of the caution-free event. He pocketed $1,000 for his 18th overall victory of a spectacular 2009 season during which he became the first Dirt Late Model driver in history to win three $50,000 crown-jewel races in a single campaign.
“It’s been an awesome year and we’re just trying to finish it up by having some fun out here in Vegas,” said Mars, who scored his previous victories at Las Vegas driving Jess Anderson’s Wyoming-based car. “We tried some different things and had a pretty good car, but I wasn’t as good in (turns) three and four and I should be. We gotta do a little scratching for tomorrow night.”
Mars crossed the finish line comfortably ahead of runner-up Chris Shannon of Merced, Calif., who slipped by Trevor Glaser of Tangent, Ore., on the final circuit. Glaser, who recently returned to action from a serious early-season arm injury, controlled second from lap four until being surprised by the 2008 Western Allstars DIRTcar Late Model Series champion rounding turns three and four for the last time.
Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif., finished fourth, earning the final automatic transfer spot into Saturday night’s 50-lap Silver State DIRTcar Championships feature. The top-four finishers in Friday’s A-Main will join Saturday night’s four heat winners in a dash to determine the first eight starting spots in the $5,000-to-win headliner.
Brad Pounds of Bakersfield, Calif., advanced from the eighth starting spot to complete the top five.
Rounding out the top 10 was Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., who started 14th; John Duty of Portland, Ore.; Eddie Kirchoff of Gillette, Wyo.; 2009 Northwest I-5 DIRTcar Late Model Tour champion Jeremy Shank of Salem, Ore.; and Andy Obertello of Hollister, Calif.
A solid field of 45 dirt Late Models were signed in for the rare full-fendered show at LVMS. Drivers on hand hailed from seven different, states with California (23 entrants) claiming the most representatives.
Heat winners were Moore, Glaser, Hogge and Mars, while the B-Mains were captured by 2009 UMP DIRTcar Southwest Region champion Lonnie Parker Jr. of Phoenix, Ariz., and Doar.
Silver State DIRTcar Championships opener: (1) Jimmy Mars, (2) Chris Shannon, (3) Trevor Glaser, (4) Bobby Hogge IV, (5) Brad Pounds, (6) Pat Doar, (7) John Duty, (8) Eddie Kirchoff, (9) Jeremy Shank, (10) Andy Obertello, (11) Dean Moore, (12) Zack Forster, (13) Jason Papich, (14) Clay Daly, (15) Mike Kirby, (16) Rob Mayea, (17) Nick Bartels, (18) Lonnie Parker Jr., (19) Mark Carrell, (20) Terry Phillips. Fast qualifier (among 45 cars): Shannon, 18.281 seconds. Heat race winners: Moore, Glaser, Hogge, Mars. Consolation winners: Parker, Doar.