East Tennessee shines in the Arizona desert

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For the past several years the Dirt Late Model world has focused its attention on the desert of Arizona as the Wild West Shootout has become one of the events seen as an opening to each new racing season. This year was no different as dozens of teams converged on the FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, AZ for a series of six events spread out over an eight day period with the features paying between $5,000 and $13,000 to each winner.

East Tennessee racers and those with ties to the region made their presence known in a significant way while in Arizona between January 6th and 14th.

Here are some of the accomplishments of those with ties to the Volunteer State while in Arizona:

East Tennessee’s Mike Marlar won one feature race and the overall championship

Mike Marlar wins the Wild West Shootout championship: Winfield, Tenn. driver Mike Marlar and his Ronnie Delk-owned team made the most of their trip to the far west by scoring a top-5 finish in all but one of the six feature races held during the Wild West Shootout. That solid performance resulted in the overall championship and a $3,000 payout.

Marlar took the checkered flag ahead of the pack on one occasion during the mini-series when he earned a $5,000 payday for his feature victory in the fourth of the six races on January 12th. The 39-year-old racer collected $14,500 for his efforts in Arizona.

Vic Hill’s engines powered four of the six feature winners

Vic Hill Racing Engines powers four feature wins: Vic Hill himself did not race in the Wild West Shootout but his engines certainly made an impact on the proceedings in the Arizona desert. Two-thirds of the trips to victory lane at Arizona Speedway were powered by Hill’s engines.

Ricky Weiss scored a pair of $5,0000 wins on nights one and five of the mini-series with Vic Hill Racing Engines in his car while Minnesota’s Don Shaw also collected two $5,000 wins on the second and third nights of the festivities with the power plants built in Mosheim, Tenn. under the hood of his ride.

Ricky Weiss wins twice in Sweet-Bloomquist Race Cars: Ricky Weiss may be from Canada but his cars have a very definite east Tennessee flavor to them. Not only does the No. 7 machine use Vic Hill power but its chassis is a Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car built in Mooresburg, Tenn.

Weiss collected two checkered flags with the cars built based on the design of National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame member Scott Bloomquist and legendary chassis guru Randy Sweet. The Manitoba native could have scored three wins if not for an incident while racing for the lead with Bobby Pierce on the second night of the mini-series.

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