Mike Marlar: What Contributed to his 22nd to 1st Run

Mike Marlar: What Contributed to his 22nd to 1st Run

For those who say you can’t pass in a dirt late model, Mike Marlar proved you wrong last Friday. From a 22nd starting spot, he won the World of Outlaws Late Models 50-lap feature at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Kentucky.

“It sure was thrilling,” Marlar, of Winfield, Tennessee, said. “It is uncommon to see that in super late model racing — it has only happened a handful of times in my entire career.”

Marlar believes he knows why passing has become rarer in dirt late model racing.

“With competition so close, it is not necessarily hard to pass,” said Marlar. “With the competition where it is, it is harder to be faster than the next guy.”

Likewise, Marlar feels he knows why he could pass at Ponderosa Speedway with the same level of competition at other World of Outlaws Late Models events.

“It was one of the few nights that a speedway did not prep the track before the feature,” Marlar said. “They prepped it once and we went from start to finish without any additional prep.”

The lack of prep throughout the night allowed Marlar and his team to set his car up for a run to the front during the feature.

“We got the car to be really good,” said Marlar. “The track was slow enough to make passes. We were able to pass everywhere.”

Many tracks work the track, to varying degrees, before the feature.

“The tracks don’t realize that they are hurting themselves when they do not use judgement in prepping the track,” Marlar said. “Adding water before the feature is a ritual that is not always needed. If you add water to the surface, it makes it so fast that drivers can’t pass.”

Without added water to the surface, the World of Outlaws Late Models saw several competitors move up through the field in addition to Marlar. Ryan Gustin advanced 15 positions; Dennis Erb Jr. and Dustin Linville moved up six.

“The moisture bled back into the track before the feature,” said Marlar. “It had a glossy, shiny look to it. It was slick across the middle, with a thin cushion on the wall.”

When it comes to track prep, Mike Marlar has one wish.

“I know the series and the tracks are doing their best [to prep tracks], but they are trying too hard,” Marlar said. “The drivers have the best input when it comes to the track surface, but no one asks us about it.”