A heavily damaged race car and a stout field of competitors could not keep Mike Marlar from Winfield, Tenn. from claiming the win in the 21st Annual Premier Ford Magnolia State 100 on Saturday night at Columbus Speedway.
More than 180 entries, including 71 Super Late Models, were on hand in four divisions for the annual event.
In the Super Late Model division, two-time event champion Shane Clanton from Locust Grove, Ga., started on the front row alongside Four Corners driver David Breazeale. At the green flag, Clanton bolted to the lead with Breazeale and Steve Francis, Mike Marlar, Bub McCool and Billy Moyer in tow.
During the early stages of the event, Clanton maintained the lead, but by lap 10 he had caught the back markers as Breazeale and Francis closed in on the leader. Six laps later, the Clanton and Breazeale began a heated battle for the lead as Breazeale used a slide job to take the lead on lap 16. Marlar followed him to grab second with Clanton slipping to third briefly. Clanton quickly moved back to second and as the field entered turns three and Clanton staged his own slide job for the lead. That sent Breazeale into the turn four wall ending his night.
Reverting to the previously completed lap, Marlar was awarded the lead, Clanton, Francis, Clint Smith and Bub McCool made up the balance of the top five.
Marlar maintained a comfortable lead for the next 13 laps before disaster struck for the leaders as the lap car of Tommy Kerr slammed into the turn at four wall collecting Marlar and Clanton. Marlar was reinstated to the lead, but with half of his spoiler missing his chances at winning looked slim.
Despite the heavy damage on his entry, Marlar held off a late race charge from Steve Francis and Shane Clanton to claim the $25,010 win.
After Francis saw his night end with four laps remaining, Clanton went on to finish second with Billy Moyer, Chris Madden (started 21st), Terry English, Rick Rickman, Ethan Hunter, Kyle Beard (started 26th), Dewaine Hottinger (started 24th) and Jesse Stovall rounding out the top 10.
In the $2,500 to win, NeSmith Crate Late Model feature Cliff Williams and Jeremy Shaw started on the front row for the 25-lap feature The duo battled for the lead before Williams edged away late in the race to claim the big win.
Shaw, Mike Boland, Eric Cooley and Chris Ragan completing the top five.
Forty-three entries were on hand in the NeSmith Crate Late Model division.
The $1,000 to win, Street Stock division drew of 46 competitors, and the 20 lap-feature was one of the best races of the weekend as the drivers battled three and four wide around the 1/3-mile high banks. Tony Silvestri powered from outside the front row to take the win. The victory did not come easy as late race pressure from Tracy Pickering, Mike Ladner and Trey Bright kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
The Open Wheel Modified division was in action on Saturday night only as a $700 top prize was on the line for a field of 22 Open Wheel Modifieds. After winning their heat races, Mike Ladner and Luke Riddle started on the front row for the 20-lap feature. Ladner jumped to the lead at the outset of the race as Riddle slipped back a few spots on the start.
Ladner went on to lead the entire feature with Randy King, Jeff Wells Jr., Blake Koenigsberger and Mitchell Cauley rounding out the top five.
Full results for all divisions can be found at www.Columbus-Speedway.net .
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