LOOKING BACK: Mars Is A Firecracker

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Jimmy Mars (28), shown here in 2018, earned his first World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory in 2009 during the Firecracker 100. (Jim Denhamer photo)

SPEED SPORT has been reporting on and covering motorsports happenings from all over the world for 85 years, so we thought it would be fun to take a look back in the archives to see what happened 10, 25 and 50 years ago each week.

So check out what SPEED SPORT was covering 10, 25 and 50 years ago this week in Looking Back!

10 Years Ago (July 1, 2009): Jimmy Mars picked a great time to earn his first World of Outlaws Late Model Series triumph when he bested a stacked field to win the Firecracker 100 at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway. After a scrap with another driver sent him to the pits with a flat tire on lap 27, Mars stormed back through the field to earn a massive $140,000 payday. He passed Darrell Lanigan on lap 94 and led the remainder of the 100-lap distance.

Other Happenings: Mother Nature helped Joey Logano earn his first NASCAR Cup Series triumph at New Hampshire Motor Speedway; Stevie Smith won twice en route to capturing the Ohio Speedweek crown; Solid work in the pits allowed Scott Dixon to win the IRL IndyCar Series event at Richmond Int’l Raceway; It was revealed that the promoter of The Milwaukee Mile owed fees to both NASCAR and the Indy Racing League.

25 Years Ago (June 29, 1994): Al Unser Jr. continued Team Penske’s domination of the PPG Indy Car World Series with a victory at Portland Int’l Raceway. The victory, Penske’s sixth-straight in Indy Car competition, saw Penske cars sweep the top-three positions in the Budweiser/G.I. Joe 200 in front of 70,000 spectators at the Oregon track. Unser led 96 of 102 laps en route to the dominant victory.

Other Happenings: Butch Miller swept past Leighton Reese en route to victory in the Pontiac Excitement 300 for the AC-Delco Challenge Series at Brainerd Int’l Raceway; Steve Kinser scored a trio of victories in a busy week for the World of Outlaws; Terry Labonte took top honors in Busch Grand National action at Watkins Glen Int’l; Scott Kalitta secured the Top Fuel trophy during the NHRA Western Auto Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

50 Years Ago (July 2, 1969): David Pearson decimated the NASCAR Grand National Series field en route to a dominant victory in the North State 200 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C. Pearson led 182 of 200 laps and finished three laps ahead of his closest pursuer – Richard Petty – when the checkered flag waved. Only 10 of the 24 starters were running at the finish.

Other Happenings: Mario Andretti, driving the Chevrolet STP Special, was the overall winner of the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb. The race was run as part of the USAC National Championship; Pete Hamilton won the NASCAR Grand Touring event at Augusta Speedway; Benny Parsons won the 200-lap ARCA event at Ohio’s Dayton Speedway.