Defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Mike Marlar’s first attempt in an asphalt Super Late Model went up in a ball of fire during All American 400 qualifying Saturday afternoon at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
Marlar of Winfield, Tennessee went into turn three after pulling on the race track to begin qualifying when he backed the No. 157 into the outside wall, with the car catching on fire in the process. The car rolled down to the apron away from the blaze, and Marlar climbed out of his car and walked away from the scene.
“They gave us a lap to green so when we went around through there, I was just getting up to speed,” Marlar said of the wreck. “I wasn’t even up to speed and I went in there and I felt like it just bottomed out and lost the front tires and I tried to correct it. I guess when I got a hold of it, it snapped or whatever. We just don’t know much about the car and we were trying to figure it out as we go there. I guess it just bottomed out there and when it did, it chattered and I got loose and got into the wall backwards.”
While driving an asphalt Super Late Model may be a new venture for Marlar, he used his previous dirt racing experience to get out of the car safely. He talked about escaping the wrecked race car after it had come to a stop.
“It scared everybody to death but I’m alright. I was getting out of there, if it got to feeling too hot I was going to get faster with getting out of there,” he said. “With the HANS and everything it’s hard to get out of these cars, so somebody got a hold of my helmet wanting to help me out and they got me hung up worse. Luckily I’m alright, we can fix the car. It’s one of those things where I’ve wrecked a bunch of times.”
After showing vast improvements in speed during practice Saturday morning, the wreck will unfortunately end Marlar’s All American 400 weekend prematurely. He ultimately chalks up his weekend in Nashville as a learning experience in an unfamiliar world, one that he plans to return to with the possibility of more starts in NASCAR.
“We were in the show, all I had to do was go around there and take the green and make a lap,” he stated. “We really don’t know what we’re doing, we were here to try to figure it out in a different world and it bit me a little bit there.”
Sunday’s pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 will go live at 12:00 p.m. CT on Sunday for pre-race ceremonies, followed by the Big Machine Vodka Pro Late Model finale and the 35th All American 400. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket for Sunday’s races here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 / Kyler Hope