NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — With his big victory Saturday at Cedar Lake Speedway, Pat Doar now has a checkered flag at his hometown track for each of his years on earth.
Winning his 55th feature at the 3/8-mile oval, the 55-year-old Doar outdueled fellow graybeard Lance Matthees early, turned back second-half challenges from Jimmy Mars, then stymied a last-ditch charge from Darrell Nelson for a $10,000 victory in the 20th annual Masters finale.
“It’s pretty cool,” the reigning track champion said in victory lane. “Pretty much you just gotta worry about (Mars). He’s been tough to beat. And Darrell (Nelson) has been fast. I didn’t know if I was supposed to stay up on the top. But I’m comfortable up there.”
Nelson and Mars took their last best shots at Doar on a restart with five laps remaining, but the lanky Doar was standing tall in victory lane after steering his red No. 11 smoothly on the high side.
Mars, the Menomonie, Wis., driver who chased Doar in second much of the 50-lapper, regained the bridesmaid spot from Nelson, the Hermantown, Minn., driver who came alive late to grab second place on the final restart and briefly edged ahead of Doar exiting turn two on lap 46.
Behind Nelson, Chad Mahder of Eau Claire, Wis., advanced seven positions to finish fourth and Nick Anvelink of Navarino, Wis., rounded out the top five.
Matthees, of Winona, Minn., jumped into the lead from outside the front row and led 20 laps before Doar grabbed the point with an inside move on the frontstretch.
Doar, who posted third- and 13th-place finishes in the weekend’s other two feature events, got banged around a bit on Friday night but was in the right spot at the right time Saturday evening.
“I got enough dents last night. We just really, my (crew) over there, they worked hard on the car getting it fixed up,” Doar said in victory lane. “We found some setup I like a month ago, obviously. The car’s been good, the track was nice … when they get their (farm) implement stuff out here, it gets me a little nervous. But it turned out pretty good tonight, I gotta admit. I give ‘em a hard time.”
Starting outside the front row, Matthees got the jump on Mars at the outset as the frontrunners set a blistering pace with Doar right in the mix. Doar stole the second spot from Mars amid track, setting up a lengthy duel up front with Matthees and Doar frequently running side-by-side.
With Matthees running up high, Doar moved a car width lower and made the winning pass on lap 21 at the flagstand, with Mars quickly dropping Matthees to the third spot.
Matthees never contended again as Doar led comfortably at halfway before Mars began turning up the heat, moving to the inside to challenge just past the halfway point.
A caution on lap 33 for Steve Laursen reset the field, and Mars went back to work on the leading Doar while Nelson moved into the second spot. The top two pulled far ahead of Nelson with Doar keeping Mars in check. Behind them, Anvelink moved into the four spot and Matthees fell further out of contention.
A caution with five laps remaining set up the final dash to the checkers and Nelson took advantage. With Doar on the high side and Mars down low, Nelson took the middle lane and briefly nosed out front at the top of the frontstretch. While Nelson made up ground in the corners, Doar’s high-side momentum always carried him back into the lead, and he edged away late for the victory while Mars regained second from Nelson after the white flag.
“I think the cautions came out and helped me because my tires were kind of getting cooked off,” Doar said, “and after the caution, my car was stuck to the track a lot better, so it helped.”
Notes: Doar notched his fourth victory of the season overall. He previously won at Cedar Lake on May 4, the night after a victory at Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie, Wis.; he also won a June 2 Wollak Construction WISSOTA Challenge Series event at Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D. … In the Masters finale, Rick Hanestad of Boyceville, Wis., rallied from the eighth row to finish sixth. His son Buddy Hanestad started third and ran in the top five into the second half of the race before posting a 17th-place finish. … Eighteen drivers were running at the finish. … Mars won Thursday’s $3,000 feature for NASCAR-sanctioned Late Models while John Kaanta earned $5,000 in a Saturday afternoon makeup race. Rain halted Friday’s feature after five laps, pushing the race’s completion to the following day.