Mike Marlar Claims O'Reilly Battle of the Bluegrass Series Bluegrass 50 at Bardstown

Discussion in 'NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series' started by jdearing, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. jdearing

    jdearing Administrator Staff Member

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    BARDSTOWN, KY (09/22/2007) - The 2007 O'Reilly Battle of the Bluegrass Series presented by Arizona Sport Shirts season came to a close on Saturday night at Bluegrass Speedway as Mike Marlar brought his mount to the stripe first in the 9th Annual Bluegrass 50. In addition to Marlar taking home his third Series win of the season, Victor Lee was crowned the 2007 O'Reilly Battle of the Bluegrass Series Champion while Jason Keltner brought home the 2007 Cruise with the Champions Rookie of the Year honors.

    Mike Marlar and Victor Lee brought a solid field of competitors to the green with Marlar taking the early point as an intense battle for the runner-up position raged as Michael England and Jason Keltner pressured Victor Lee. Behind them, Joey Daniels, Terry English and Brian Barber dueled for fifth. England slid his mount past Lee at the end of the first circuit followed by Keltner just a few circuits later.

    By lap 5 Marlar had motored away from the field while the battle for second intensified when Keltner slid the nose of his mount to the inside of England. While the two young guns continued to dance for the second spot an exciting battle for the fifth spot found Barber, Daniels and Dustin Neat going door-to-door. As trio kept slicing and dicing each other, it allowed John Gill to begin closing on the battle. The crowd's heads began to turn on lap 8 when Design 500 B-Main 1 runner-up Scott James, who started 19th, went side-by-side with Terry English, trying to work his way into the top ten.

    While Marlar continued to blister the track with a torrid pace, James continued marching through the field on his way to the front as he passed Terry English one circuit later moving him into tenth. Marlar's lead would be aborted on lap 11 when the first caution of the night waved over the Bluegrass Speedway high-banks for John Gill who had looped his mount in turn two. When the race resumed, Marlar once again jumped to the point but not without Michael England taking a peak to his inside. As the pair danced off into turn three, Jason Keltner showed the pair his nose, however, Marlar rode the rim and be began pulling away from the raging battle for second.

    As laps began slipping away, Marlar and England began distancing themselves from the rest of the competitors. Behind them, the battle intensified for the third spot when Brian Barber and Dustin Neat closed the gap on Jason Keltner and began to apply pressure while the trio raced side-by-side every lap changing positions numerous times. Scott James continued his march to the front as he cleared Brad Neat on lap twenty and set his sight on Joey Daniel. After clearing Daniel on lap 22, it took James only six circuits to work his way around Lee and crack into the top five. James' run would be halted one circuit later when Dustin Neat slowed bringing out the caution

    As Marlar brought the field back to the green, James wasted no time moving his way around Barber for the number four spot and passing Keltner one lap later to move into third. Just as James began reeling in England in second position on lap thirty, the third caution of the night waved when Brad Neat cut a tire down on the backchute. After the caution, as the field raced back into turn one, the caution waved once again when Tyrel Todd looped his mount.

    With the field ready for a 19 lap shootout, the crowd was excited to see if James could continue his rally to the front. Back under green James tried to muscle his way around England for the runner-up spot with a run on the high side. In back of them, Barber moved his way past Keltner on lap 38. Just when Barber thought he had solidified, Keltner moved back around him but not before Barber once again motored past Keltner on lap 42 allowing Justin Ratliff to close on Keltner. Keltner found himself in another hot battle when Ratliff showed Keltner his nose and the as the pair of Cruise with the Champions Rookie of the Year winners were side-by-side in every corner.

    While Barber, Keltner and Ratliff continued to do battle, Mike Marlar had set his mount on cruise and checked out on the field. Just when everyone thought James had run out of steam, he began closing the gap on England again on lap 47. On lap 48, James slid his mount to the inside of England in turn three. As the pair danced into turn one on the final lap, James once again showed England his nose. England powered ahead, closing the door down the backchute but not before James would take one last ditch effort dive to his inside in turn three. England would slam the door at the line to take home the runner-up spot to Mike Marlar.

    Mike Marlar picked up $5,000 for his efforts in the 9th Annual Bluegrass 50. The 'Winfield Warrior' drives an Estes powered Rayburn GTO owned by Mary Lu and the late Owen "Junior" Stephens which carries sponsorship from the S&B Cattle Company, Stephens Trucking, Fleming Auto Parts, Crumps Lawn & Garden, Dyer's Top Rods, Doyle Fertilizer, Advance Racing Suspensions, and Wayne Bowen Racing Supply.

    The "Slick Rock Express" Michael England picked up the second position in his Pro Power Bloomquist Grand Prix sponsored by Young's Oil, D&D Dairy, Simpson Machine and Fabrication and VP Fuels. The "Silver Shark" Scott James came home third in his Jay Dickens powered Rocket GTO. Following him to the strip was Brian Barber and Justin Ratliff making up the top five. Rounding out the top ten was Jason Keltner, Whitney McQueary, Victor Lee, Brad Neat and Jeff Watson.

    "I have to thank CJ Rayburn for such great racecars," Marlar said in victory lane after doing a reverse victory lap in memory of late car owner Owen Stephens. "I would also like to thank the lord for letting us have some wins this season and also thank my crew. Without them, it wouldn't be possible to be here."

    With 39 entries on hand at the David and Anita Ferrell promoted Bluegrass Speedway, Scott James set fast time in Racin' Optic Time Trials with a lap of 15.376. Arizona Sport Shirts heat wins went to Mike Marlar, Joey Daniels, Michael England and Victor Lee. The pair of Design 500 B-Main wins went to Whitney McQueary and Jordan Bland.

    The 2007 O'Reilly Battle of the Bluegrass season came to a close this Saturday with Victor Lee taking home the Series points championship. Jason Keltner was also honored in post-race activities as the 2007 Cruise with the Champions Rookie of the Year.

    For more information on the O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass DirtCar Series, check us out on the web at www.battleofthebluegrass.com or call the Series office at (859) 433-5707.

    Race Summary
    O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series presented by Arizona Sport Shirts
    Bluegrass Speedway - Bardstown, KY
    September 22, 2007

    Arizona Sport Shirts Heat #1 - Mike Marlar, Jason Keltner, Brad Neat, Justin Ratliff, Whitney McQueary, Tyrel Todd, Scotty Earl, Eric Wells, Scott James, Duke Mounce

    Arizona Sport Shirts Heat #2 - Joey Daniels, Terry English, John Gill, Jeff Watson, Scott Graham, John Mason, Tommy Carlton, Tim Tungate, Marty O'Neal, John Blankenship

    Arizona Sport Shirts Heat #3 - Michael England, Brian Barber, Brad Neat, Chris Combs, Eddie Carrier, Jr., Dusty Carver, Bryant Woodcock, Jr., Jerry Rutherford, Bobby Wolter, Jr., Jason Smith (DNS)

    Arizona Sport Shirts Heat #4 - Victor Lee, Aaron Hatton, David Webb, Johnny Wheeler, Jordan Bland, Mike Jewell, Jason Dunn, Tanner English, Joey Jones

    Design 500 B-Main #1 - McQueary, James, Todd, Wells, Earl, Blankenship, O'Neal, Tungate, Carlton, Graham, Mason, Mounce (DNS)

    Design 500 B-Main #2 - Bland, Carrier, Jr., Carver, Dunn, Tanner English, Rutherford, Jones, Woodcock, Jewell, Wolter (DNS), Smith (DNS)

    Bluegrass 50 - Marlar, England, James, Barber, Ratliff, Keltner, McQueary, Lee, B.Neat, Watson, D. Neat, Combs, Todd, Webb, Daniels, Tungate, Wheeler, Bland, Carlton, English, Hatton, Gill, Carrier, Jr.

    Race Statistics
    Entries: 39
    Lap Leaders: Mike Marlar (1-50)

    Cautions: 4
    PPM Performance Products Hard Charger Of The Race: Scott James (19th to 3rd)

    Cruise With The Champions Rookie Of The Race: Jason Keltner

    2007 O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Winners

    Florence Speedway (April 13th) - Michael England
    Twin Cities Raceway Park (April 20th) - Rick Aukland
    Brownstown Speedway (April 21st) - Don O'Neal
    Ponderosa Speedway (April 27th) - Aaron Hatton
    Bluegrass Speedway (April 28th) - Mike Marlar
    Tazewell Speedway (May 12th) - Jimmy Owens
    Portsmouth Raceway Park (May 27th) - Audie Swartz
    Bluegrass Speedway (May 28th) - Don O'Neal
    Richmond Raceway (May 29th) - Greg Johnson
    Lake Cumberland Speedway (May 31st) - Josh McGuire
    Ponderosa Speedway (June 1st) - Brad Neat

    Bluegrass Speedway (June 16th) - Mike Jewell

    Brownstown Speedway (June 23rd) - Rohn Moon

    201 Speedway (June 30th) - Justin Rattliff

    Florence Speedway (July 11th) - Scott James

    Ponderosa Speedway (July 13th) - Aaron Hatton

    Bluegrass Speedway (July 14th) - Steve Francis

    Richmond Raceway (July 21st) - Tim Tungate

    Ponderosa Speedway (August 24th) - Mike Marlar

    201 Speedway (September 1st) - Paul Harris

    Richmond Raceway (September 15th) - Tyrel Todd

    Bluegrass Speedway (September 22nd) - Mike Marlar

    2007 O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series Sponsors

    O'Reilly Auto Parts - Title Sponsor and "Official Auto Parts Retailer of the O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series"

    Arizona Sport Shirts - Presenting Sponsor and "Official Souvenir Manufacturer & Vendor of the O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series"

    Sunoco Race Fuels - "Official Race Fuel of the O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series"

    2007 O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series Supporters Include: O'Reilly Auto Parts, Arizona Sport Shirts, Sunoco Race Fuels, DART Machinery, Drive Smart Kentucky, Hoosier Race Tires, American Race Tires, PPM Performance Products, Bazell Fuels, Cruise With the Champions, Wayne Bowen Racing Supply, Racing Optics, Design 500, Trailer Parts & Sales, Honda of Prestonsburg, Bullock Race Engines, CJ Rayburn Race Cars, Bert Transmissions, Double H Race Fab, DT52 Photos, and Real Wheels

    - Jesse Howard - O'Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series (jhoward@battleofthebluegrass.com

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