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Mike Marlar in victory lane at Golden Isles Speedway. (Heath Lawson photo)

Marlar Is Golden Isles Late Model Master

WAYNESVILLE, Ga. — Mike Marlar picked up his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season on Saturday night at Golden Isles Speedway. 

Marlar earned $20,000 out of the $80,000 purse to become the ninth different winner in the 13 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events this season.

Marlar led 48 of the 50 laps to earn his 22nd career win with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

The only other drivers to lead laps during the main event were Brandon Sheppard and Chris Madden who finished second and third to round out the podium. Brandon Overton was fourth with Jonathan Davenport rounding out the top five drivers.

“It was no walk in the park, there was a whole lot more to it than that. These guys are really tough, Shep [Sheppard] about had me passed at one end I guess, and I was lucky to get back by him. These are some of the best racers I feel like with the stiffest competition there are down here. I am happy to win against them that’s for sure,” said Marlar.

There was track prep work done before the feature after a caution-free High Limit Sprint Car feature won by Jacob Allen.

Marlar was asked about how it changed his strategy for the feature.

“It will mess with you a little bit you know, you made your changes, and you really don’t know what the track will do,” Marlar said. “I am glad they worked on it because it really needed it. I was just confident in my set-up. I kind of stayed where I planned on being before the track prep and it worked out really good. Winning a race at this level is basically a night of all good decisions on the track and off the track.”

Sheppard, who won his first heat race during Speedweeks earlier in the night battled with Marlar as the two went back-and-forth just past the halfway mark as Sheppard was credited with leading lap 28 before Marlar seized control of the top spot a lap later.

“It was a really fun race,” said the defending Dirt Track World Championship winner afterward. “It’s been an up-and-down Speedweeks for us for sure. We haven’t been able to race towards the front a whole race like that you know we’ve had to pass a bunch of cars during Speedweeks because we haven’t qualified good. Tonight, I feel like we turned that around. We won our first heat race of Speedweeks, so that’s really good. We qualified good and I think we ended Speedweeks on a really good note. We really wanted to win this one really bad, this place has been good to me over the years, but I have never got a win here.” 

Madden, who ran second to Ricky Thornton Jr. in one of the two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events at Golden Isles back in January took home the spot after leading the opening lap of the feature.

“Mikey’s [Marlar] raced a lot on this type of surface and Brandon’s [Sheppard] been in the South a lot since he’s been on the road starting back in the day when he raced for Mark Richards,” Madden said. “He’s raced here as much as I have. All-in-all we had a good night, we were just way too tight in the first 10 or 15 laps or so. I think we fell back to like fifth and then we come back up through there. We were just extremely tight to start with and we just couldn’t get it done there the first few laps.” 

The finish:

Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard, Chris Madden, Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport, Garrett Alberson, Hudson O’Neal, Daulton Wilson, Kyle Larson, Wil Herrington, Tim McCreadie, Devin Moran, Bobby Pierce, Garrett Smith, Benji Hicks, Blair Nothdurft, Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., Ross Robinson, Max Blair, Brenden Smith, Boom Briggs, Ricky Thornton Jr., Dillon McCowan, Kyle Bronson, Jimmy Owens, Drake Troutman, Bob Gardner.