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Daily Dirt 08/16/2022 14:30:59

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April 14
Volunteer Speedway,
Bulls Gap, TN
Sanction: Unsanctioned Supers (Kyle Larson Presents Late Model Challenge powered by Tezos) - $20,000
Information provided by: Robert Holman and track reports (last updated April 15, 10:38 am)
Marlar collects $20,000 in cruise at Volunteer
Kyle Larson Presents Late Model Challenge powered by Tezos
  1. Mike Marlar
  2. Jimmy Owens
  3. Scott Bloomquist
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Jonathan Davenport
  6. Dale McDowell
  7. Ross Bailes
  8. Hudson O'Neal
  9. Brandon Overton
  10. Ashton Winger
  11. Chris Madden
  12. Cory Hedgecock
  13. Carson Ferguson
  14. Sam Seawright
  15. Dakotah Knuckles
  16. Pierce McCarter
  17. Garrett Smith
  18. Josh Henry
  19. Michael Brown
  20. Brandon Williams
  21. Josh Rice
  22. Ricky Weiss
  23. Jensen Ford
  24. William Byron
  25. Camaron Marlar
presented by
Josh James/joshjamesartwork.com
Mike Marlar greets Volunteer's big crowd in victory lane.
What won the race: Mike Marlar commanded all 50 laps from the pole to win Kyle Larson's inaugural Late Model Challenge powered by Tezos at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. Marlar's 3.425-second victory over Jimmy Owens — his third of the season, first since Jan. 16 at Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park — paid $20,000.
Key notes: In his Dirt Late Model debut, NASCAR Cup driver William Byron used a provisional to finish 24th in 20 laps of action. ... Scott Bloomquist finished third for his fourth top-six finish in five races to start the season. ... Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, Calif., edged Jonathan Davenport for overall quick time with a lap of 13.079 seconds. ... Matt Henderson topped qualifying group one with a lap of 13.103 seconds. ... The Kyle Larson Presents Late Model Challenge powered by Tezos is Larson’s first foray into Late Model promotions. … Ahead of NASCAR Cup action at the nearby dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway, Larson hopes to renew a connection between NASCAR and Dirt Late Models with more Cup drivers in the division. … The total purse was $62,000 for the event. ... Former NASCAR driver and current Fox Sports analyst Clint Bowyer joined Ben Shelton and Dustin Jarrett behind the mic.
On the move: Scott Bloomquist from Mooresburg, Tenn., started sixth and finished third.
Winner's sponsors: Marlar’s Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Delk Equipment Sales, Rockets Convenience Plus, Tri-Rivers Enterprise (Mark and Kim Dotson), Auto Parts 4 Less, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Capital Capsigns, VP Racing Fuels, Stanley Best Heating & Aiar, Midwest Sheet Metal and Bilstein.
Current weather: Clear, 57°F
Car count: 42
Fast qualifier: Kyle Larson
Time: 13.079 seconds
Polesitter: Mike Marlar
Heat race winners: Mike Marlar, Jimmy Owens, Kyle Larson, Jonathan Davenport
Consolation race winners: Cory Hedgecock, Garrett Smith
Provisional starters: William Byron
Editor's note: Corrects winner’s engine builder.
From staff reports

BULLS GAP, Tenn. — Mike Marlar made sure to soak in Thursday’s lively scene at Volunteer Speedway, so after putting on the indomitable performance of The Kyle Larson Presents Late Model Challenge presented by Tezos, he sprung to the top of his winning No. 157 machine and lifted his arms toward the packed crowd.

The Winfield, Tenn., native couldn’t have pictured a better setting for his latest $20,000 victory, leading all 50 laps from the pole over a stout field and topped off by an all-Tennessee podium of Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist.

Larson, the promoter of the inaugural event that included his NASCAR Cup Series teammate William Byron, finished fourth and helped draw one of the largest crowds in the 4/10-mile oval’s history.

Marlar, who rebounded after wrecking a car two weeks ago at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, beamed with gratitude.

“Oh, man, it’s awesome to win here,” Marlar told FloRacing’s Dustin Jarrett in victory lane through a wide smile. “Got to finish in front of two of my heroes tonight. There’s not a day I couldn’t think of doing that, (beating) Scott and Jimmy.

“Yeah, my team really needed that. We had a really rough week up at Bristol a couple weeks ago. Could have won three of the four, or at least half of the four. Things just kept happening that took us out of it. We really needed that. My car owner (Ronnie Delk) just gives me all the right tools.”

The 44-year-old showcased all the working parts and pieces throughout Thursday’s event, which attracted 42 total Super Late Models, namely recent Bristol Dirt Nationals champion Chris Madden, Dale McDowell, Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport and Hudson O’Neal.

There seemed to be only two instances that tested Marlar en route to his third win of the season. The first unfolded on the initial start, where he jostled past polesitter Larson on the opening lap to win the battle for clean air. The second, meanwhile, came between laps 10 through 18 in which Marlar navigated traffic.

Marlar’s early one-second lead shrunk to a few lengths as Larson and Davenport closed in.

“I could hear them, but I could tell if they were cars in front of me that I was hearing. I know I wasn’t comfortable,” Marlar said. “I scrubbed off so much speed, and luckily the caution came out (on lap 18 for Ricky Weiss and Sam Seawright).”

Back-to-back cautions helped Marlar’s attack on lap 25 — the first for sixth-running Brandon Williams and the second when the yellow flag slipped from the possession of flagman Chris Tilley — but hurt Owens.

“I burned my right-rear tire trying to get around Larson and (Davenport) early,” Owens said. “We had a really, really good car. I hated to see that first caution come out. … We were plagued by those cautions. I felt like we were a little bit more maneuverable than those guys. It worked out, we had a good second-place run.”

The final 25 laps of the feature went green as Marlar beat Owens by 3.425 seconds.

Outside of Owens, Larson momentarily looked poised to dismantle Marlar. The NASCAR Cup Series champion captured quick time honors with a lap of 13.079 seconds but fell off the podium the last half of the main event.

Bloomquist, meanwhile, overtook a top-groove-happy Larson around the bottom side of the track to register his fourth top-six run five starts into the new season.

“We were really focused on our car trying to get it good on the bottom, just being real smooth, not overusing our tires,” Bloomquist said. “That one caution, we got a couple I thought, then we had to go back. All in all, we had a good run. Just glad to be back and feeling good. We could have run another 50 laps out there. My leg didn’t go numb and we’re excited about this season.”

Marlar, who’s now off to compete in Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dirt race at Bristol, affirmed Bloomquist’s strong start to 2022.

“It’s awesome to see Scott back racing,” Marlar said. “The sport isn’t the same without him. Glad he’s here tonight. Glad to see he ran good.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a good team that can travel all over the country. But when we come back to East Tennessee, I know it’s going to be a home run. … It’s good to have all these Tennessee boys up front. I’ve got a big weekend. It feels good to get off on the right foot.”

Feature lineup

Row 1: Marlar, Larson
Row 2: Owens, Davenport
Row 3: Bailes, Bloomquist
Row 4: Weiss, Seawright
Row 5: McDowell, Williams
Row 6: O’Neal, Overton
Row 7: Ferguson, Winger
Row 8: Henry, Madden
Row 9: Hedgecock, Smith
Row 10: Marlar, McCarter
Row 11: Brown, Knuckles
Row 12: Rice, Ford
Row 13: Byron
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