Magnolia Motor Speedway
Owens outlasts Marlar for $15,000 at Magnolia
COLUMBUS, Miss. (Oct. 27) — Adding even more luster to his already impressive season, Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., led every lap of Saturday night’s Southern Belle Cotton Pickin’ 100 main event at Magnolia Motor Speedway, turning back a pair of challengers late in the race to earn $15,000 for his first victory in the unsanctioned special event.
The pole-starting Owens dominated much of the 100-lapper, but was tracked down by Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., as the leaders raced through heavy lapped traffic with just under 10 laps remaining. But Owens successfully navigated the slower traffic and pulled away from his challengers in the closing laps to earn his ninth overall victory of the season. | Prelims | Video
“Our Bloomquist car was really good tonight. I was maneuverable,” said Owens, whose victory came one week after wrapping up his second consecutive Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship with a $50,000 victory in the prestigious Dirt Track World Championship. “I could run high, I could run low. We’d get to lapped traffic and I could get through traffic really good.
“I just kept moving around the track because I knew (Marlar and Moyer) were moving around and swapping positions. I knew the track had to be pretty racy, but I didn’t know where I needed to be on the track. Where I felt the worse I was actually the fastest.”
Moyer, a three-time Cotton Pickin’ 100 winner, scored the runner-up finish while Marlar settled for third after a flat left-front tire suffered from contact with an infield U-tire with two laps remaining caused him to fade just as he was catching Owens in the final laps. Scott Bloomquist of Moorseburg, Tenn., suffered a flat tire early in the race, but rallied back to finish fourth ahead of Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.
Moyer trailed Owens for the majority of the race, but often faded a few car lengths behind the leader. He close on Owens multiple times in traffic but never could get a run strong enough to make the pass.
“We could close him on him there a couple times. The track was in great shape and was fun to run on. We just needed to be a little bit better,” Moyer said. “Jimmy’s had a heck of a year. To stay within a couple car lengths of him is pretty good right now.”
The 11th-starting Marlar raced through the field to get to third midway through the race, but struggled to get around Moyer for second as the two drivers battle well back of Owens throughout the second half of the race.
After both drivers closed in on Owens around lap 90, Marlar finally cleared Moyer for good a couple laps later and appeared to have car capable of challenging Owens in the final laps. But Marlar’s bid to win was abrubtly ended when he entered turn one too low on lap 99, making contact with the tire used to mark the infield and limping to a third-place finish.
“Jimmy could get off the corner better, and I was making up ground getting in. But I just nicked that tire,” Marlar said. “Jimmy and Billy are two of the best guys in racing. It’s an honor to get to race with them.”
Notes: Owens drives a Mike Reece-owned Bloomquist Race Car with a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsorship from Reece Monument, Gantte Appraisals, Red Line Oil, FK Rod End and Sunoco Race Fuels. … The victory was Owens’ fourth of the season in a 100-lap race. … Among the race’s cautions was a mid-race tangle between Dane Dacus and Billy Moyer Jr. … Prelims for the event were held Friday night with fast qualifier Klint Byars lowering the track record. … Recent race winners Jonathan Davenport (2011) and Brian Birkhofer (2010) were not at the event. … Fifty-two Crate Late Models competed in a $3,000-to-win undercard event with Riley Hickman scoring the victory.
Southern Belle Cotton Pickin’ 100: (1) Jimmy Owens, (2) Billy Moyer, (3) Mike Marlar, (4) Scott Bloomquist, (5) Don O’Neal, (6) Shane Clanton, (7) Billy Moyer Jr., (8) Randy Weaver, (9) Eric Wells, (10) Dennis Erb Jr., (11) Klint Byars, (12) Jack Sullivan, (13) Ross Camponovo, (14) Robert Baker, (15) David Gentry, (16) Eric Cooley, (17) Dane Dacus, (18) Morgan Bagley, (19) Kent Robinson, (20) Chad Thrash, (21) Bub McCool, (22) Chris Wall, (23) David Breazeale, (24) Rick Rickman, (25) Scott Dedwylder, (26) Clint Smith. Fast qualifier (among 63 cars): Byars, 13.093 seconds. Heat race winners: Owens, Moyer, O’Neal, Weaver, Bagley, Robinson. Consolation race winners: Cooley, Dacus, Moyer Jr.