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Sunday February 5th, 2023 11:01PM

Marlar scores Saturday Wild West Shootout win at Vado

By Ben Shelton
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Mike Marlar bested the field of dirt Super Late Models on Saturday night to score the win in Wild West Shootout competition at New Mexico’s Vado Speedway Park.

The Winfield, Tennessee veteran outpaced Blairsville, Georgia’s Jonathan Davenport and NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson to win the penultimate race of the mini-series and pocket a $10,000 payday.

“Man, been a long week so far,” said Marlar, who is the defending event champion. “Happy to get a win there. It was fun racing.”

Marlar ran down and passed Davenport, the winner of the first three Wild West Shootout races, with 14 laps to go and then staved off a charge from Larson, who erased a 1.6-second deficit with four laps remaining to attempt a last-corner slide job coming to the checkered flag.

While Davenport, Larson and early contender Bobby Pierce committed to the uppermost part of the track most of the race, Marlar exploited a groove two lanes off the very top that no driver could seemingly duplicate.

“I saw (Larson) on the board, and I figured he was running the cushion, so I was trying to make my entry wide enough down here,” Marlar said. “I was really way better through the middle. I just wanted to make my entry wide enough down here. I don’t know if I was hurting him or not. I knew he was coming. I was trying to stay as high as I could. He was definitely better off the cushion.”

Larson, who started 11th, made his way to fifth with 12 lap to go when a caution for 14th-running Billy Moyer gave him a shot at the win. As Pierce threw a slide job on Davenport into turn one on the restart to briefly regain second, Larson one-upped them both by finding a window of opportunity around the bottom.

“I was hoping we would get a caution there when we did,” Larson said. “I kind of figured Bobby would throw a slider or something into one on the restart, and if I plugged the bottom a couple laps, maybe things would work out. And it did.”

Larson officially dispatched Pierce for second with seven laps to go, as Pierce lost control of his mount in the midst of the tense battle for second through turns three and four.

“I was able to show my nose at the right time and he got over the cushion in four to get to second,” Larson said. “I put together some good laps. Made one mistake as soon as I got to second in three and four, and lost like a straightaway on (Marlar). I had to plug away trying to get back to him.”

The Wild West Shootout closes out on Sunday, January 15. For more information, visit VadoSpeedwayPark.com.

  • Associated Categories: NASCAR News, Other Motorsports
  • Associated Tags: motorsports, Auto Racing, Dirt Track, Stock Car, Short Track, Dirt Late Model
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