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Eldora Speedway

Notes: Testing hinders Mars in World 100 prelim

September 6, 2013, 12:25 pm
By Joshua Joiner
DirtonDirt.com staff writer
Jimmy Mars heads for a heat race victory Thursday at Eldora. (thesportswire.net)
Jimmy Mars heads for a heat race victory Thursday at Eldora. (thesportswire.net)

ROSSBURG, Ohio (Sept. 5) — Jimmy Mars was in prime position to end his season-long winless streak with the pole starting spot in one of Thursday’s twin World 100 preliminary features at Eldora Speedway. But even with a long-awaited victory in his grasp, Mars kept the big picture in mind.

Instead of using a setup that he knew would make his No. 28 race car fast for Thursday’s 25-lap main event, Mars used Thursday’s race to try some setup changes he hoped would make his car better for Saturday’s $46,000-to-win World 100 main event. | Complete World 100 coverage

It didn’t work. Mars quickly faded from the front row, dropping out of the top drive before pulling to the pit area midway through the race.

“We just wanted to try something tonight that we’ve been thinking of doing,” said Mars, the veteran driver and chassis builder who’s chasing his first World 100 victory. “It just wasn’t the right decision, at least not for the tires we were on. I know we’ll be fine. We just made a change that we probably shouldn’t have. The car was fine in the heat, and it should’ve just got left alone.”

Mars was hoping to find something that would help his car performance in the closing laps of Saturday’s 100-lapper. He knows late-race situations is an area in needs to improve, especially after leadings 41 laps at the Eldora’s Dream in June only to fade to sixth late in the race.

“I was looking at what my car would be for the last 20 or 30 laps of the feature,” Mars said. “Looking at what happened at the Dream there, I just wanted to try something I thought might make us better for the last 20 or 30 laps. I’m glad I did it tonight. It was something we thought was gonna be better, but it definitely was not better.”

While the setup change didn’t improve his car’s performance as he had hoped, there was still plenty of value in trying it. He knows he won’t be tempted to try it again come Saturday night.

“It could’ve went either way,” Mars said. “We could’ve been over here celebrating and knowing we found something on the car. But instead we at least found out something that didn’t work, so that helps too.”

Solid run for Weiss

Ricky Weiss’ trip to Eldora is quickly surpassing all of his expectations. After finishing sixth in his Eldora debut at Sept. 1’s Sunoco ALMS-sanctioned WIX Filters Baltes Classic, the 24-year-old Canadian racer carried his momentum into the World 100 weekend with a solid showing in Thursday’s preliminary action.

Weiss of Winnipeg, Manitoba, posted the third fastest time among 112 qualifiers in Thursday’s first round of World 100 qualifying and followed it up with a third-place finish to make the feature lineup of one of the night’s twin preliminary features.

“I can’t complain,” Weiss said. “We didn’t really expect to qualify that well and didn’t expect to make (the feature) out of our heat. But we made it straight into the feature, so it was a good night.

“That’s huge compared to what we thought we’d do. We thought we’d just come out here and get some experience. It’s definitely working out well for us.”

Along with finding some success in his first trip to Eldora, Weiss is also fining he enjoys racing at the famed half-mile oval.

“I like the place. It’s a one-of-a-kind place, and nothing compares to this back home.” Weiss said. “Last weekend was hammer-down, tractioned-up and high speeds. Now it’s slowed down a little bit. So we’ve got quite a bit of experience on it already I feel like.”

Weiss will look to continue his solid Eldora trip with another strong performance during Friday’s second night of prelims before taking aim at making his first-ever crown jewel feature start in Saturday’s main event.

“To come down here and make the World 100, it be huge,” Weiss said. “It’d be a highlight of my career. That’s what we’re planning on, so hopefully we can get it done.”

Miller’s still confident

After going 2-for-2 in preliminary races at Eldora’s Dream in June, a fifth-place finish in Thursday’s World 100 preliminary feature may have seemed like a bit of a letdown for Matt Miller. But the of Whitehouse, Ohio, driver wasn’t disappointed with his performance.

“I think we had a car to win,” said Miller, who won his heat race and started fourth in the feature. “On the start, we just all got parked in the outside lane. The whole inside went and by the time we got by him, the track took rubber and there just wasn’t much passing.”

Miller, who was running second before mechanical issues knocked him from contention late in in the 100-lap Dream feature, is still confident he’s capable of redeeming himself in Saturday’s World 100 main event.

“Once we cleared there, on the watch we were about four-tenths (of a second) faster than the leader. The car was good; the track just took rubber too quick and we couldn’t go anywhere. We’re still in really good shape.”

Correction: Clarified Jimmy Mars is looking for his first World 100 victory.

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