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Marlar wins RCS World of Outlaws feature

Aaron Holtan (#2) leads a line of A-Mods drivers around the Bullring at River Cities Speedway during a heat race Friday night. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald1 / 5
(From left) Mark Dobmeier, Brendan Mullen and Jack Croaker fight for a lead while drifting around a corner at River Cities Speedway in Friday's NOSA Sprint heat races. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald2 / 5
World of Outlaws Late Model driver Rick Eckert hurtles around a corner at River Cities Speedway on Friday night. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 5
Ricky Weiss (#7) has a strong lead on fellow Manitoban Late Models driver Bill Mooney during Friday's heat races at River Cities Speedway. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
PB&J Racing driver Robert Bladow cruises past the audience grandstand during the Late Models heat race Friday night at River Cities Speedway. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald5 / 5

Mike Marlar already had the record for the fastest lap turned at River Cities Speedway by a late model driver.

On Friday night, he added another feat at the Bullring: a feature win.

Marlar, who entered the night tied for the points lead in the World of Outlaw Late Model series, earned his fourth victory of the season to pull into the points lead alone.

Marlar started on the outside of Row 2 and eventually took the lead by passing Manitoba's Ricky Weiss on Turn 2 of the 21st lap.

He pulled away after that to win the 50-lap feature.

"That's a cool deal winning at these places up here," said Marlar, whose best lap was 12.403. "It's awesome. They are awesome race tracks. I don't think I've worked that hard in a race car in years. It was an awesome race and now we have the points lead, so that's cool."

Last year, Marlar turned a lap of 11.321, setting the track's record for a late model.

"This northern racing up here is awesome," Marlar said. "I had a good car there. It was a handful to drive, but the thing that made it hard to drive is what helped me win."

Weiss said Thursday that he was hoping for a "solid top five" in the feature, which seemed a bit ambitious considering no local driver has finished better than eighth against the World of Outlaws Late Model race at the Bullring in the last decade.

But the Headingley, Man., driver did just that.

He led the feature for the first 21 laps and finished fourth. He turned a best lap of 12.380.

Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks finished sixth.

Brandon Sheppard finished second, Devin Moran was third and last year's RCS World of Outlaw Late Model feature winner Shane Clanton took fifth.

Chris Madden, who entered the night tied with Marlar in points, finished 15th.

The sprint feature uncharacteristically ran first among the classes Friday night.

Despite the early start time, it was the regular finish.

Mark Dobmeier won his sixth River Cities Speedway feature this summer, topping second-place Thomas Kennedy, third-place Wade Nygaard, fourth-place Nick Omdahl and fifth-place Austin Pierce in the 25-lap event.

Nygaard started on the pole and held a comfortable lead until he hit lapped traffic in the seventh lap. Then, Dobmeier started to close in.

He eventually made his move past Nygaard on the front straight-away on the ninth lap. Dobmeier, who started third, squeezed his car between Nygaard and a lapped car to steal the lead.

During the handful of restarts, nobody threatened Dobmeier.

In the A Modifieds feature, Dustin Strand easily won a green-to-checkered 20-lap feature.

Strand started on the outside of the front row, quickly grabbed the lead and navigated lapped traffic to easily win over second-place Ward Imrie and third-place Dale Kraling, who was the hard-charger after starting 12th.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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