Martin, Mars share 2007 Duel in the Desert spotlight at the dirt track

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eddie Martin of Amarillo, Texas and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., scored 40-lap feature victories tonight at the dirt track at Las Vegas Motor’s annual Duel in the Desert.

Martin started the 40-lap, $5,000-to-win IMCA Modified feature from the second position and took the lead from polesitter and early leader Kellen Chadwick on lap 10. Martin survived seven restarts necessitated by caution periods and also one serious challenge for the lead. Canadian Steve Arpin started 11th and charged through the pack, taking second place on lap 19. Arpin chased down leader Martin on lap 23 and the pair raced side-by-side until a lapped car – running in the middle of the groove – spoiled the battle.

Martin dove low and actually made contact with the lapped car in Turn 1 as Arpin drove high up the track. It was Martin’s lucky day as his car did not sustain any serious damage and he retained the lead. Not so fortunate was Arpin: his excursion into the marbles in Turn 2 dropped him back to seventh as he struggled to maintain control of the car and David Murray and Johnny Saathoff – among others – passed him on the inside.

Martin won, followed by Murray and Saathoff. Arpin was forced to settle for seventh place.

“This feels great,” said Martin. “This is a real prestigious event. I’m just tickled to death to have our name on the (winner’s) list. Some great racers have won this thing in the past.”

Martin was asked about the ordeal with the lapped car that nearly cost him the lead.

“I didn’t see the flagman give him the (passing) flag, so when I went under him, he cut down and I got him with my right-front tire.”

Andy Obertello started the 40-lap, $5,000-to-win Late Model race from the pole position and was flanked by Mars as the field took the opening green flag. Mars, clearly the fastest car in the field, took the lead in Turn 2 on lap 1 and led every lap to win the feature, followed by Kelly Boen of Henderson, Colo., and Kevin Wright of Rock Springs, Wyo. The victory was Mars’ third at the LVMS half-mile dirt oval in 2007.

“I love it – it’s been a good season for us,” said Mars. “It’s a pleasure to come out here – a good time – and I can’t say enough about the way the car worked. The thing was just awesome. I was babying my tires because I wanted to make sure we had enough rubber at the end, but the last few laps I just opened ‘er up.”

The evening’s four 12-lap Late Model Last-Chance Races were won by: Billy Griffin, Chris Shannon, Trevor Glaser and Dean Moore.

The six 15-lap IMCA Modified Last-Chance Races were won by Mike Villanueva, Chris Alcorn, Sherman Barnett, George Fronsman, Mark Zorn and Jeremy Payne.

The first Late Model Dash was won by Andy Obertello; the second was won by Jimmy Mars.

The 15-lap Modified Wild West Shootout was won by Jeep Berry of Myton, Utah.

Racing continues at the dirt track at LVMS on Sunday afternoon with the inaugural Day After The Duel for Bombers, Mini-Stocks, Legends Cars and Super Stocks.

40-lap IMCA Modified feature: 1. Eddie Martin, 2. David Murray Jr., 3. Johnny Saathoff, 4. Alan Sharpsteen, 5. Conner Pullen, 6. Jeep Berry, 7. Steve Arpin, 8. Mike Hansen, 9. Mark Zorn, 10. Ryan McDaniel, 11. Kellen Chadwick, 12. Chris Alcorn, 13. Robby Haines, 14. George Fronsman, 15. Chad Dolan, 16. Gary Dutton, 17. Reese Coffee, 18. Matt Brack, 19. Mike Villanueva, 20. Jay Goosman, 21. Brad Pounds, 22. Paul Stone, 23. Bobby Hogge, 24. Richard Papenhausen, 25. Will Brack, 26. Joe Antonetti, 27. Jeremy Payne, 28. Sherman Barnett.

40-lap Dirt Late Model feature: 1. Jimmy Mars, 2. Kelly Boen, 3. Kevin Wright, 4. John Anderson, 5. Bobby Hogge, 6. Greg Brooks, 7. Trevor Glaser, 8. Darren Coffell, 9. Chris Shannon, 10. Billy Griffin, 11. Kellen Chadwick, 12. Raymond Barrow, 13. Jeep Berry, 14. Jim Zaremski, 15. Jim Whisler, 16. Andy Obertello, 17. Devin Crockett, 18. Hank Berry, 19. Brad Pounds, 20. Lonnie Parker Jr., 21. John Duty, 22. Zack Forster, 23. Dean Moore, 24. Marty Harvie, 25. Kevin Wright, 26. Dustin Jenks, 27. Rob Mayea, 28. Mike Marlar.