COLUMBUS, Miss. — Mike Marlar overtook race leader Don O’Neal with nine laps to go to take the $20,000 to win Clash at the Mag presented by the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau on Saturday night at Magnolia Motor Speedway. Marlar’s first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season was hard earned as a caution with 12 laps to go set up a great finish.
Marlar, in his first weekend piloting a Bloomquist Race Car led to the checkers holding off O’Neal and John Blankenship for his fifth career LOLMDS victory. Point leader Jimmy Owens, who started 12th, came home in fourth followed by 17th-starting Randy Weaver.
“When I saw the caution come out, I got down in some dry dirt on the bottom of the track, and then I had to clean my tires off really good for the restart,” said Marlar. “It was good to have one more shot at it there at the end, I lined up beside Blankenship for the restart, and my car took off really well up top, and it only took us a few laps to get by O’Neal. They had an awesome race track here tonight, we have always enjoyed coming down here to Mississippi to race, and they have a lot of great fans here.
“I really wish Norman Bryson could’ve be here tonight! He is on a mission trip in Honduras. I am still getting used to this new car, it turns differently than what I am used to driving. I also want to thank the Lucas Oil Series for the tire rule this weekend, we’ve finally gotten used to it. It saved us a bunch of money to come down here.”
O’Neal looked like the car to beat all night as he withstood challenges from Marlar and Blankenship for the first half of the race. O’Neal who won this race last year was trying to end a streak of bad luck in the LOLMDS where he had not finished the last two events. The caution with 12 laps remaining while O’Neal had built up a good lead over Blankenship and Marlar set up a finish that O’Neal did not want to see.
“No we didn’t need that caution, our car was good all weekend, to run 100 laps here tonight, we thought tire wear was going to be a factor, but it was not, congrats to Mikey on the win, the way the last few weeks had went we needed a good finish and we got it,” said the driver of the Optima Batteries/MasterSbilt House Car Chevrolet.
In preliminary action, O’Neal set the overall time (Group A) amongst the 46 entrants, with a lap of 14.077 seconds. Steve Francis set the fastest time in Group B with a time of 14.223 seconds.
Mike Marlar, Don O’Neal, John Blankenship, Jimmy Owens, Randy Weaver, Billy Moyer, Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr., Chris Wall, Steve Francis, Dennis Erb Jr., Eric Cooley, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jack Sullivan, Scott Bloomquist, Bub McCool, Chad Thrash, Dillon Wood, Chris Brown, Brian Rickman, Jerry Lierly, David Breazeale, Rick Rickman, Earl Pearson Jr.