Mike Marlar celebrates a victory honoring his racing hero.
What won the race: Taking command when Nick Hoffman slipped over the frontstretch banking on the ninth lap, fourth-starting Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., led the rest of Friday’s 40-lap C.J. Rayburn Memorial at Brownstown Speedway for a $10,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory. In winning a race honoring his racing hero, Marlar repelled a midrace challenge from Hoffman in the caution-free affair for his third series victory of the season and 19th of his career. Series points leader Ricky Thornton Jr., who started alongside Marlar on the second row, pressured the winner late before settling for second, 0.802 of a second behind while Hoffman faded to fifth.
Quotable: "I'm trying to keep it together," Marlar began his victory lane interview, tears in his eyes and his voice cracking. "I had my neck on a swivel there. It was that type of race. So I was moving around and honestly putting the blocks on 'em. I'm ashamed to say that, but I really wanted to win this race for C.J. Rayburn so bad and for my team and my car owner Ronnie Delk. It's been an emotional week all around and I'm glad to win it."
Key notes: Hall of Fame chassis builder C.J. Rayburn, who died Jan. 1, 2022, helped Mike Marlar get his start in Late Models and through much of his career. ... Polesitter Brandon Overton, whose own racing hero Ed Basey died earlier in the day in Evans, Ga., slipped back to finish sixth. ... Nick Hoffman led the first eight laps from outside the front row then challenged Mike Marlar again at halfway and at lap 25, pulling alongisde on two occasions. He ended up fifth and blew a right-rear tire taking the checkers. ... The feature ended just before 11 p.m. as the track surface was reworked before the main event. ... Lucas Oil action continues at Brownstown with Saturday's $30,000-to-win Jackson 100, the richest purse in race history.
On the move: Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., started 18th and finished 11th.
Winner's sponsors: Marlar’s Longhorn Chassis is sponsored by Delk Equipment, Petroff Towing, Tri-Rivers Enterprise (Mark and Kim Dotson), Can-Am Auto Salvage, Auato Parts 4 Less, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Capital Capsigns, VP Racing Fuels, Stanley Best Heating & Air, Midwest Sheet Metal and Bilstein.
Points chase: After Brownstown Friday: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (7,555); 2. Hudson O’Neal (7,150); 3. Jonathan Davenport (6,885); 4. Brandon Overton (6,770); 5. Tim McCreadie (6,655); 6. Devin Moran (6,645); 7. Daulton Wilson (6,130); 8. Tyler Erb (5,965); 9. Max Blair (5,675); 10. Earl Pearson Jr. (5,635).
Current weather: Clear, 64°F
Car count: 45
Fast qualifier: Brandon Overton
Time: 13.465 seconds
Polesitter: Brandon Overton
Heat race winners: Brandon Overton, Ricky Thornton Jr., Nick Hoffman, Mike Marlar
Consolation race winners: James Rice, Hudson O'Neal
Provisional starters: Tyler Erb, Boom Briggs, Skyller Lewis, Devin Gilpin
Next series race: September 23, Brownstown Speedway (Brownstown, IN) $30,000