Marlar's victory lifts him to No. 15 in Top 25
Coming off his first victory of the season, Mike Marlar was the biggest mover in this week’s DirtonDirt.com’s Top 25 power rankings as the Winfield, Tenn., rising to No. 15 in the poll presented by JRi Shocks.
Marlar, who overtook Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., with nine laps remaining at Magnolia Motor Speedway’s Lucas Oil Series-sanctioned Clash at the Mag, gained eight spots in the poll by virtue of his $20,000 payday, his first victory since a two-win weekend in November.
There was otherwise little movement in the rankings with World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., holding the No. 1 spot he’s held all but one week this regular season. Richards received 14 of 22 first-place votes while No. 2 Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who finished fourth at Magnolia, received seven first-place votes.
The only other driver receiving a first-place vote was Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., whose UMP DIRTcar Summernationals victory at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway was his sixth of the season. Erb holds the No. 5 spot behind steadfast Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. (No. 3) and Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga. (No. 4).
Returning to the poll was Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., who holds the No. 23 spot after back-to-back Southern All Star victories at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn., and Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn.
After restricting poll voting to staffers the previous two seasons, DirtonDirt.com invited more than 30 media members and drivers along with track, series and manufacturer representatives to vote in 2013’s rankings. Twenty-two submitted ballots this week. Weekly polls continue through mid-November.
1. Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.
Comment: Idle in mid-June as WoO points leader gets ready to tackle four races before Lernerville’s Firecracker 100 weekend. Series points: 1st (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 1st (nc)
2. Jimmy Owens, Newport, Tenn.
Comment: Lucas Oil Series points leader picks his way from 12th to fourth in Clash at Mag won by his buddy Mike Marlar. Series points: 1st (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 2nd (nc)
3. Darrell Lanigan, Union, Ky.
Comment: Preparing for busy stretch of World of Outlaws race, Lanigan helps crew chief Jason Jameson on successful stretch. Series points: 3rd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 3rd (nc)
4. Shane Clanton, Zebulon, Ga.
Comment: Four-time WoO winner takes a break while winding up for busy stretch on national tour in New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania. Series points: 2nd (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 4th (nc)
5. Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, Ill.
Comment: Drops by Brownstown to capture UMP DIRTcar Summernationals opener en route to Magnolia, where he’s 11th. Series points: 5th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 5th (nc)
6. Don O’Neal, Martinsville, Ind.
Comment: Leads 91 laps in Lucas Oil’s Clash at the Mag before Mike Marlar overtakes him on a late-race restart. Series points: 3rd (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 6th (+1)
7. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, Tenn.
Comment: After finishing back in the pack at Magnolia, has a public frontstretch scrape with home-state driver Bub McCool. Series points: 7th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 7th (-1)
8. John Blankenship, Williamson, W.Va.
Comment: Third-place finish at Magnolia gives him his fourth top-three run in last five Lucas Oil Series races. Series points: 2nd (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 9th (+1)
9. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.
Comment: Gets ready for busy WoO stretch on some ovals where he’s turned plenty of laps in big-block modifieds. Series points: 6th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 8th (-1)
10. Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
Comment: Grabs UMP DIRTcar Summernationals victor at Cedar Lake followed by seven-cylinder, third-place finish at Wilmot. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 11th (+1)
11. Steve Francis, Ashland, Ky.
Comment: Finishes 10th in Lucas Oil’s Clash at the Mag; makes guest appearance in Jason Smith’s car at Brownstown. Series points: 4th (Lucas Oil). Last week's ranking: 10th (-1)
12. Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, Ga.
Comment: After falling short at Beckley, he’ll take on Lucas Oil foes in tripleheader action at Swainsboro, Cherokee and Wythe. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 12th (nc)
13. Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.
Comment: Advances five spots at Magnolia Motor Speedway for sixth-place run in Lucas Oil’s Clash at the Mag. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 13th (nc)
14. Rick Eckert, York, Pa.
Comment: After another victory in Paul Crowl’s Rocket at Winchester Speedway, Eckert returns to busy WoO slate. Series points: 4th (World of Outlaws). Last week's ranking: 14th (nc)
15. Mike Marlar, Winfield, Tenn.
Comment: Debuts Bloomquist Race Car with $20,000 victory at Magnolia for his first victory of the season. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 23rd (+8)
16. Steve Casebolt, Richmond, Ind.
Comment: Posts a pair of top-five finishes in Tennessee at Volunteer and Smoky Mountain with the Southern All Stars. Series points: 1st (Spring Nationals). Last week’s ranking: 15th (-1)
17. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, Ga.
Comment: After finishing second at Volunteer’s Scott Sexton Memorial, oil filter woes knock him out at Smoky Mountain. Series points: None. Last week's ranking: 16th (-1)
18. Brady Smith, Solon Springs, Wis.
Comment: Backstretch contact with Brandon Sheppard knocks him out of top five in Summernationals action at Cedar Lake. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 17th (-1)
19. Eddie Carrier Jr., Salt Rock, W.Va.
Comment: Finishes 13th at Clash at the Mag; hasn’t scored Lucas Oil top-five finish since his April 21 victory at WVMS. Series points: 9th (Lucas Oil). Last week’s ranking: 19th (nc)
20. Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, Wis.
Comment: Can’t capitalize on fast time in Summernationals stop at Cedar Lake after spinning early in main event. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 18th (-2)
21. Chris Simpson, Oxford, Iowa
Comment: Not a factor in Summernationals starts at Cedar Lake, Wilmot; he’ll rejoin the tour at Tri-City, Fairbury. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 20th (-1)
22. Doug Drown, Wooster, Ohio
Comment: Scores $4,000 Icon Tour victory at Wayne County, heads on a vacation on a good note before a July return. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 25th (+3)
23. Chris Madden, Gray Court, S.C.
Comment: Sweeps Southern All Star weekend in Tennessee at Volunteer and Smoky Mountain to double season victory total. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: Unranked
24. Matt Miller, Whitehouse, Ohio
Comment: Rick Delong Racing takes break after successful Dream XIX; Barney Oldfield Race up next at Oakshade. Series points: None. Last week’s ranking: 21st (-3)
25. Casey Roberts, Toccoa, Ga.
Comment: He’ll carry his recent success into Lucas Oil Series action this weekend at Swainsboro, Cherokee and Wythe. Series points: 1st (Ultimate). Last week’s ranking: 24th (-1)
Dropped out: Earl Pearson Jr.
Editor’s note: The top 25 drivers are determined by a points system with 25 points for a first-place vote, 24 points for a second-place vote and so on through a single point for a 25th-place vote. The voting panel is made up of media members, drivers, and track, series and manufacturer representatives.