Here are several observations made while taking in ‘The Hangover’ at 411 Motor Speedway on January 1st.
Mike Marlar in a Rayburn: Winfield, Tennessee driver Mike Marlar showed up at 411 Motor Speedway on New Year’s Day to compete in ‘The Hangover’. While his appearance was not necessarily a surprise, the fact that he wasn’t in his familiar No. 157 machine likely was to many observers.
For the past couple of seasons, Marlar has driven a Rocket Chassis owned by Ronnie Delk and has had great success in that ride. He won two $10,000 events last season(WoO Late Models at Tazewell & Ultimate Supers at Ponderosa) as well as collecting four other trophies.
But on this day at least, he was in the CJ Rayburn house car. Marlar has driven Rayburn cars before during his career, but this appearance was not indicative of a change to that brand of chassis. Instead, Marlar revealed that his Delk team will make the move away from Rocket to Longhorn Chassis’ as he competes in selected special events throughout 2015.
Marlar won his heat race in the temporary ride but had to settle for a 17th place finish after dropping out early with mechanical issues.
Brad Hall in a holding pattern right now: Brad Hall leads two lives in the dirt racing world. He drives and he works alongside his father Gary at the Tazewell Speedway. For now, his future in the sport is in a bit of a holding pattern(story to come within the next couple of weeks).
But on Thursday, the part-time racer was on the track in a car he literally purchased on the internet with an engine that had been used by National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame member Ronnie Johnson at the Eldora Speedway back in 1996.
Hall failed to make the feature in the No. 47.
Good starts turn sour for locals: Things were looking pretty good for the local guys in the initial stages of ‘The Hangover’ at the 411 Motor Speedway on New Year’s Day. Unfortunately for fans of those familiar faces, things didn’t end nearly as well as might have.
Cory Hedgecock had the crowd buzzing at the beginning of the day when the Loudon driver established a new track record in qualifying by turning a lap of 13.028 seconds around the 3/8 mile track. After a redraw and then a dash race, he started the feature from the 4th spot.
However, it didn’t take Hedgecock long to work his way into 2nd place and he threatened eventual winner Donald McIntosh until his Brucebilt Rocket suffered a flat left rear tire on lap 13. He did not return to the track after that misfortune and settled for a 12th place result.
“Man, it was fast while it was out there,” Hedgecock declared of his car after the race.
Ryan King was another local competitor who appeared to have things going his way in the early going. The Seymour driver qualified within the top-4 then finished 3rd in the dash race. The No. 30 car ran solidly inside the top-5 until he pulled off track near the halfway point.
“The track got rough and I was afraid I was going to wreck this thing or tear something up if I stayed out there any longer,” King said after finishing 11th.
Pierce McCarter drives former Jimmy Owens Club 29: Another local driver who showed strength throughout the event was Pierce McCarter. The Gatlinburg driver won the second heat race of the day to start the feature from the 6th spot. Even a late race spin did not deter him from posting a solid 4th place finish.
Perhaps the most significant thing about McCarter’s run was that he was piloting a Club 29 car that had been used by Jimmy Owens last season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Brownstown track champion competes in ‘The Hangover’: It doesn’t sound so odd to hear that a driver from Seymour competed on a track located in Seymour until it is considered that the driver is from Seymour, Ind. and the track is in Seymour, Tenn.
Jeremy Hines is the reigning Super Late Model track champion at the famed Brownstown Speedway in Indiana. And the driver raised more than a few eyebrows by not only making the trek to Tennessee on New Year’s Day but also by running up front.
Hines made the main event in his No. 5H machine by finishing 2nd in the first of two last chance B-main races. He then worked his way forward and ran as high as 3rd until misfortune struck on the last lap.
Mechanical troubles slowed his car and forced the driver to coast across the finish line in 5th place.
Eight states were represented at 411: Not only was it notable that 47 Late Models signed in for competition on Thursday afternoon, but it was also worth mentioning that those drivers hailed from eight different states.
Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana were all listed as home states among the drivers who were in attendance.
Attendance was tremendous: Perhaps most noteworthy of all was the fact that attendance was outstanding. The grandstands were virtually full and the pit area was crowded on a cold and dreary day.