RIPLEY, W. Va. — Mike Marlar stormed from the 24th and last starting position to win the 44th Annual Hillbilly 100 on Sunday Night at I-77 Raceway Park.
Marlar, who won the race in 2004, took the lead on lap 77 from Don O’Neal and pulled away for the $25,000 victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series sanctioned event.
Marlar made the race by a LOLMDS provisional, and did not know he was in the starting line-up until five minutes before the cars rolled out on the race track.
“I have to thank the Lord, it wasn’t a good day for us, we just found out we were in the race right before the grid rolled out on the race track,” said Marlar. “We bolted on the softest tire we could per the rules.”
O’Neal led the first 76 laps, most of it unchallenged until Ray Cook, Brian Birkhofer and Marlar caught up to O’Neal.
Marlar’s charge to the lead was dramatic as he passed Cook for second on lap 73. Marlar then quickly ran down O’Neal coming off of turn four as 77th lap was scored. Marlar had to wait through two cautions in the final 15 laps to take the victory.
“I have to thank my car owner Norman Bryson and Rocket Chassis; the car was just great, it moved around all over the place, I want thank all of my sponsors for their support,” Marlar said.
O’Neal finished second followed by Cook, Earl Pearson Jr. and Birkhofer.
In preliminary action, Doug Drown set the Red Buck Cigars Fast Time among the 52 entrants, with a lap of 14.087 seconds.
Mike Marlar, Don O’Neal, Ray Cook, Earl Pearson Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Jared Landers, Scott Bloomquist, Dale McDowell, Chris Garnes, Jimmy Owens, John Blankenship, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Steve Francis, Jared Hawkins, Dennis Erb Jr., Tim Dohm, Eric Wells, Jacob Hawkins, Freddie Carpenter, Doug Drown, Chuck Harper, Chris Carpenter, Tyler Reddick.