The Ultimate Heart of America Series sanctioned the 33rd annual running of the Paul Butterball Woolridge Memorial on Saturday night at Kentucky’s Richmond Raceway. At the end of the evening it was Mike Marlar who left the track as the winner of this race for the fourth time in his career. The Winfield, TN driver earned $20,059 for his efforts.
Ross Bailes was fastest in Friday night’s Group A qualifying session with a time of 14.362 seconds around the clay oval to beat out Jason Jameson, Brandon Fouts and Ricky Weiss.
Tyler Carpenter was quickest on Group B time-trials with a lap of 14.655 seconds topping Zack Dohm, Mike Marlar and Joe Godsey.
Ross Bailes would start the main event from the pole by virtue of his triumph in the first heat race on Friday beating out Brandon Fouts, Jason Ratliff and Scott James while Mike Marlar would start the feature from the outside of the front row following his victory in the second preliminary over Tyler Carpenter, Jared Bailey and Tyrel Todd.
Ricky Weiss was victorious in the third heat as he topped Victor Lee, Jason Jameson and Dustin Linville just before Zack Dohm took the fourth and final heat ahead of Joe Godsey, Jason Barrett and Joe Mayabb.
Derek Fisher bested Chris Shannon and Connor Meade in the first B-main then Justin Shaw outran Dennis Roberson and Tommy Turner in the second B-main.
At the start of the 59-lap feature it was Bailes who dashed to the lead with Marlar, Weiss, Carpenter and Dohm right behind. But Bailes’ early lead would prove to be short lived as Marlar fought his way by to assume the top spot on the second circuit.
By lap 6 Marlar looked as if he might pull away from the field but a yellow flag on lap 7 erased the advantage he had built up. Shortly after the restart Weiss found himself losing positions as Carpenter moved by for third then Dohm took fourth from the Canadian racer.
A series of cautions between laps 12 and 19 saw Marlar continue to show the way on each restart while Bailes and Carpenter exchanged the second position on multiple occasions. However, Carpenter’s race would take a downward turn on lap 19 when he himself brought out a caution flag as his No. 28 machine spun from third place on lap 19.
As the race approached its middle stages Bailes offered challenges to Marlar by charging hard into the first turn on the outside and pulling up as far as the lead car’s quarter panel but was never able to get further alongside than that. Eventually Marlar would pull away from the battle and by lap 33 enjoyed a lead of almost a full straightaway.
From that point, the race was for second and it proved to be quite a battle. Weiss moved in to challenge Bailes. On lap 37 the two combatants found themselves in a three-wide tussle as the took on each other while also moving around a slower car. Weiss would eventually seize control of the spot.
But in the end, it was Marlar who would drive away and maintain control of the race until he sailed under the checkered flag for the win.
Feature Finish: 1. Mike Marlar, 2. Ricky Weiss, 3. Zack Dohm, 4. Ross Bailes, 5. Scott James, 6. Victor Lee, 7. Dustin Linville, 8. Tyler Carpenter, 9. Brandon Fouts, 10. Justin Ratliff, 11. Derek Fisher, 12. Tyrell Todd, 13. Dennis Roberson, 14. Connor Meade, 15. Justin Shaw, 16. Chris Shannon, 17. Jared Bailey, 18. Mikah Reams, 19. Tommy Carlton, 20. Tommy Turner, 21. Joe Mayabb, 22. Jason Jameson, 23. Jason Barrett, 24. Joe Godsey
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