SARVER, Pa. — Jimmy Mars turned the fifth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com into a personal joy ride on Saturday night, romping to his second career triumph in the crown-jewel World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Lernerville Speedway.
Driving the same MB Customs car that he steered to the checkered flag in the 2009 edition of the summer-starting spectacular, Mars navigated forward from the seventh starting spot to grab the lead from 2007 Firecracker 100 winner Scott Bloomquist on lap 45 and never looked back. He cruised around the four-tenths-mile oval to post a commanding 4.434-second margin of victory over Bloomquist.
Mars, 39, pocketed $30,050 as he became the first repeat winner of the Firecracker 100. His latest success, however, came in much less dramatic fashion than in ’09 when he pitted early to change a cut tire and rallied to snatch the lead from Darrell Lanigan in the final laps.
“This route (to victory) went a little bit smoother,” said Mars, who registered his fourth career win on the WoO LMS. “Usually it seems like all of my bigger wins have been kind of an uphill battle, but tonight went pretty good. Once we were able to get up to the front and kind of run the line that I wanted to, everything was just awesome.”
The 46-year-old Bloomquist, who started third and led laps 31-44, ran roughly a straightaway behind Mars throughout the 53-lap stretch of green-flag racing that closed the race. He was clearly second-best — unable to keep his self-built Team Zero mount close to Mars, but also never in danger of losing the runner-up spot.
WoO LMS -eader Rick Eckert, who started from the pole position and led laps 1-30, finished a distant third, 14.715 seconds behind Mars and over 10 seconds in arrears of Bloomquist. It was a career-best placing in the Firecracker 100 for Eckert, who put a $7,650 cap on a weekend that also included runner-up finishes in both 30-lap WoO LMS preliminary A-Mains.
Two-time defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards, also recorded a career-high finish in the Firecracker 100, using a late-race surge to take fourth in his father Mark’s Rocket Chassis house car.
Steve Shaver completed the top five in the K&L Rumley Rocket car.
Mars’ relentless march to the front was complete when he ducked underneath Bloomquist off turn two and surged into the lead on lap 45.
“Once my (hard-compound) tires started to get a little bit of heat in them they started working,” said Mars, whose last WoO LMS win came on July 10, 2010, at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D. “(Bloomquist) kind of left the bottom open so we got in the lead and it worked out.”
Jimmy Mars, Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert, Josh Richards, Steve Shaver, Tim McCreadie, Tim Fuller, Dale McDowell, Dan Stone, Shane Clanton, Chub Frank, Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan, Austin Hubbard, Pat Doar, Mike Marlar, Jared Miley, Clint Smith, Tyler Reddick, Vic Coffey, Jared Hawkins, John Lobb, Ron Davies, Dave Hess, Jr., Rick Briggs, Bub McCool, Gregg Satterlee, Brady Smith.