NEW RICHMOND, WI – With two of the sport’s hottest drivers behind him in Thursday’s main event at Cedar Lake Speedway, Jimmy Mars expected one if not both of his challengers to attempt to charge by him in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series race.

That never happened. Instead, Mars of Menomonie, Wis., led every lap of the 40-lap event in his Deppe Enterprises-sponsored MB Customs Race Car, topping Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., for a $6,000 victory on the opening night of Cedar Lake’s USA Nationals weekend.

“Overall it was good,” said Mars, who started from the pole and maintained a slight advantage over Lanigan for the entire distance of the caution-free race. “We’ve got a pretty good hot rod, but the guys that were behind me, you just wonder if they’re going to light the fuse and take off. But we were able to hold them off.”

The 42-year-old Mars claimed his second WoO LMS victory of the season in beating Lanigan, the two-time series champion and current points leader, to the finish by 0.477 seconds. Owens, who has combined with Lanigan to claim the lion’s share of this year’s Dirt Late Model national touring events, charged from 10th to take third late in the race but wasn’t close enough to the two leaders to make a serious bid for the win. Former WoO LMS champion Rick Eckert of York, Pa., was fourth with Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., rounding out the top five.

Along with earning his second WoO LMS victory of the season, the opening night triumph also gave Mars a boost of momentum heading into the 27th annual USA Nationals the rest of the weekend. Mars, a two-time winner of Cedar Lake’s crown jewel event, will now look for some good fortune as the $50,000-to-win event kicks off with preliminary action on Fridayleading into Saturday’s 100-lap main event.

“This whole thing, you still need a lot of luck,” said Mars, who last won the USA Nationals in 2009. “I always got luck, I just don’t have a whole lot of good luck. We’ll just see what happens tomorrow night. We take it one step at time.”

Lanigan, who leads the WoO LMS with 11 victories this season, pressured Mars for much of the distance, especially as the two leaders raced through slower traffic in the second half of the race. Although he never found a way to take his Gotta Race-sponsored Club 29 Race Car around Mars, he too has an eye toward a potential big payday on Saturday.

“We had a great race car. We started fifth, but just couldn’t get by him,” said Lanigan, who won the USA Nationals in 2012. “I think the track conditions will be pretty similar on Saturday, so we should be able to take this package and tweak on it a little bit and be good.”

Owens, who drives a Mike Reese-owned Club 29 car designed by Lanigan, was one of the fastest cars on the racetrack as he charged from his 10th starting spot to third by lap 30. But without a caution, he wasn’t able to catch Mars and Lanigan and had to settle for a third-place finish and some extra momentum for the remainder of the weekend.

“I was looking forward (to a caution) as soon as we got into third there,” said Owens, who’s gunning for his first USA Nationals trophy. “I don’t know if a caution would’ve helped us or not, but we had a really good car to get to where we were.

“We worked on some stuff and qualified with a different deal. Maybe we learned a few things for qualifying and the heat race tomorrow, but for the most part I think we’ve got a decent feature race setup for Saturday.”

Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa., recorded his best career Cedar Lake finish with a sixth-place performance while former WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., took seventh. Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., was eighth with five-time USA Nationals winner Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., rounding out the top 10.

Outside polesitter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., was never a factor after nearly spinning on the race’s opening lap. He faded back to 12th at the finish.

The USA Nationals continues Friday with WoO LMS time trials, heat races and a dash for heat race winners. B-Mains on Saturday will finalize the lineup for the night’s 100-lap feature.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Fans can also follow the WoO LMS on Twitter at Twitter.com/WoOLateModels and Facebook at Facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws .

Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series at Cedar Lake Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (1) Jimmy Mars/40 $6,000

2. (5) Darrell Lanigan/40 $3,700

3. (10) Jimmy Owens/40 $2,000

4. (7) Rick Eckert/40 $2,400

5. (3) Don O’Neal/40 $2,000

6. (4) Gregg Satterlee/40 $1,550

7. (9) Steve Francis/40 $1,400

8. (13) Jason Feger/40 $1,250

9. (6) Billy Moyer/40 $1,250

10. (15) Shannon Babb/40 $1,100

11. (19) Jonathan Davenport/40 $900

12. (2) Brian Shirley/40 $850

13. (8) Bobby Pierce/40 $850

14. (14) A.J. Diemel/40 $775

15. (23) Scott Bloomquist/40 $900

16. (22) Brian Birkhofer/40 $700

17. (12) Billy Moyer Jr./40 $660

18. (11) Brady Smith/40 $690

19. (17) Tim McCreadie/40 $1,270

20. (18) Frank Heckenast Jr./40 $1,350

21. (20) Morgan Bagley/40 $1,150

22. (21) Wendell Wallace/39 $600

23. (25) Eric Wells/39 $1,150

24. (28) Clint Smith/39 $660

25. (26) Chub Frank/39 $1,150

26. (27) Shane Clanton/39 $660

27. (24) Jordan Yaggy/19 $600

28. (16) Chad Simpson/6 $600

Earnings include

Winners Circle

program and cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 10 Mins., 50 Secs.

Margin of Victory: 0.477 Secs.

Yellow Flags: 0

Lap Leaders: Mars (1-40)

Provisional Starters: Wells, Frank, Clanton, C. Smith

WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: O’Neal ($500)

Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

Group A

1. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, Ky., 13.739

2. 28-Jimmy Mars/Menomonie, Wis., 13.781

3. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, Ark., 13.843

4. 25f-Jason Feger/Bloomington, Ill., 13.937

5. 32-Bobby Pierce/Oakwood, Ill., 13.964

6. 18b-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, Ill., 13.967

7. 1-Rick Eckert/York, Pa., 13.975

8. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, Ky., 14.012

9. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, Ky., 14.051

10. 6-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, Ga., 14.108

11. 28-Dennis Erb Jr./Carpentersville, Ill., 14.134

12. 14m-Morgan Bagley/Longview, Texas, 14.154

13. B5-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, Ill., 14.184

14. 58-A.J. Diemel/Elk Mound, Wis., 14.240

15. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, Ga., 14.242

16. 15B-Brian Birkhofer/Muscatine, Iowa, 14.249

17. 99B-Boom Briggs/Bear Lake, Pa., 14.291

18. 90-Lance Matthees/Winona, Minn., 14.303

19. IOU1-Brent Larson/Lake Elmo, Minn., 14.382

20. 4-Garrett Alberson/Las Cruces, N.M., 14.570

21. 20D-Doug Drown/Wooster, Ohio, 14.606

22. 15A-Nick Anvelink/Navarino, Wis., 14.712

23. 21F-Todd Frank/Montrose, Iowa, 14.780

24. 15E-Caley Emerson/Grand Rapids, Minn., 14.903

25. 27-Justin Hirt/Tigerton, Wis., 14.916

26. 8-Gregg Hill/Evelith, Minn., 15.637

Group B

1. 25s-Chad Simpson/Mt. Vernon, Iowa, 14.006

2. 81-Brian Shirley/Chatham, Ill., 14.049

3. 5-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, Ind., 14.100

4. 22-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, Pa., 14.121

5. 1w-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, Ark., 14.173

6. 99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr./Frankfort, Ill., 14.198

7. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, Tenn., 14.296

8. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, Wis., 14.322

9. 21jr-Billy Moyer Jr./Batesville, Ark., 14.354

10. 25z-Mason Zeigler/Chalk Hill, Pa., 14.386

11. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, N.Y., 14.424

12. 77-Jordan Yaggy/Rochester, Minn., 14.447

13. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, Tenn., 14.552

14. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, Pa., 14.582

15. 5B-Brandon Overton/Appling, Ga., 14.586

16. 1j-Davey Johnson/Latrobe, Pa., 14.586

17. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, N.Y., 14.619

18. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, Ga., 14.628

19. 33x-Adam Hensel/Baldwyn, Wis., 14.693

20. 28p-Jeff Provenzino/Hibbing, Minn., 14.721

21. 32s-Chris Simpson/Oxford, Iowa, 14.793

22. 23-John Blankenship/Williamson, W.Va., 14.803

23. 6D-Travis Dickes/Madison, Neb., 14.809

24. 9t-Tim Isenberg/Marshfield, Wis., 14.998

25. 1b-Doug Blashe/Marion, Wis., 15.094

26. 18c-Chase Junghans/Manhattan, Neb., 15.142

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Lanigan, Eckert, Feger, Davenport, Birkhofer, Larson, Sheppard, Anvelink, Hirt.

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Mars, Pierce, Diemel, Erb, Alberson, Wells, Briggs, Hill, T. Frank.

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Moyer, Francis, Babb, Bagley, Clanton, Matthees, Drown. Scratch: Emerson, Polonoski.

Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Satterlee, Owens, Chad Simpson, Zeigler, Bloomquist, Blankenship, Johnson, Hensel, Blashe.

Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Shirley, B. Smith, McCreadie, Wallace, Junghans, Dickes, C. Frank, Fuller, Provenzino.

Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): O’Neal, Moyer Jr., Heckenast, Yaggy, Simpson, C. Smith, Overton, Isenberg.

B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Davenport, Birkhofer, Erb, Larson, Anvelink, Wells, Sheppard, Briggs, Hirt, Hill, T.Frank, Alberson.

B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Bagley, Bloomquist, Zeigler, Blankenship, Clanton, Hensel, Matthees, Blashe, Drown, Johnson, Emerson, Polonoski.

B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Wallace, Yaggy, Chris Simpson, Junghans, Dickes, C.Frank, C.Smith, Overton, Fuller, Isenberg, Provenzino

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):

Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Shannon Babb

Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Jimmy Owens

MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Darrell Lanigan

Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Jimmy Mars

Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Darrell Lanigan

STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Darrell Lanigan

Penske Racing Shocks ($50 to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist

Roush-Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert

JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Gregg Satterlee

Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Gregg Satterlee

American Racing Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Gregg Satterlee

VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Jason Feger

Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Shannon Babb

Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Billy Moyer

Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Bobby Pierce

JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Bobby Pierce

Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley

Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Brady Smith

JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Scott Bloomquist

Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Brian Birkhofer

Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie

Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie

Mobil 1 (20% off gift certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Frank Heckenast Jr.

JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Frank Heckenast Jr.

Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Morgan Bagley

MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith

Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Jimmy Mars

Reliable Painting award (one free tire): Chase Junghans

2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of July 31 – 25 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. Darrell Lanigan 3,606

2. Rick Eckert 3,378 (-228)

3. Tim McCreadie 3,328 (-278)

4. Morgan Bagley 3,232 (-374)

5. Chub Frank 3,192 (-414)

6. Eric Wells 3,148 (-458)

7. Shane Clanton 3,122 (-484)

8. Frank Heckenast Jr. 3,078 (-528)

9. Clint Smith 2,954 (-652)

10. Chase Junghans 2,902 (-704)

11. Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs 2,788 (-818)

12. Tim Fuller 1,976 (-1,630)

WoO PR & Photo

Hot Drivers, No Problem for Mars in Opening Night of USA Natls