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Commentary- Five Late Model Moments from 2018 That I Won’t Forget

Norris Firecracker Win
Brian Mitchell Photo

 

Another year has come and gone in the Dirt Late Model World, and it’s left me with memories I won’t forget as it always does. There were great moments and seasons that were turned in by drivers that will be remembered forever throughout the year. So before the action starts up in Arizona kicking off the year that will be in 2019, it’s time to reflect back and give a tip of the cap to some drivers that gave us moments and performances that will be etched in the minds of fans for years to come. In no particular order please keep in mind.

Firstly, I won’t forget the rain that robbed a good many of us of so many marquee events. 2018 will be remembered as the year of the rain date. Mother Nature screwed our plans at several hot ticket events and ruined far too many weekly and regional shows for my liking. Let’s hope she gives us sunny skies in 2019. Now on to the racing we did get to enjoy.

Scott Bloomquist’s Dream 100 performance will stay with me forever perhaps for the circumstances that surrounded it more than the job on the track.  A drug test not taken, an injury sustained in a fall, and a race won with one good shoulder against the stiffest competition in the sport were all at work in the June classic. It was delivered with the typical flair for the dramatic, but no matter how you look at it; the win will go down in history as another example of his dominance when the green flag dropped. And, it served as another polarizing moment in a career full of them for the hall of famer.

Speaking of the Dream, it was a low point perhaps for Brandon Overton as he and owner Randy Weaver split around the same time as it was taking place after a first half of the year that did not produce the desired results. What I won’t forget, is the resilience Overton displayed in a second half that gave his fans wins to cheer about, including a $50,000 win in the Hilbilly 100 and plenty of regional hardware as well. 2019 could very well be a career defining year for Overton, and his talent, grit and determination in 2018 paved the way for the opportunities that should come his way.

Making a dream come true in 2018 was Michael Norris who gave many folks a moment they won’t forget when he bested the World of Outlaw Late Models at his home track in the Firecracker 100. It was a moment that I watched unfold before my very eyes and can honestly say that I have never heard the crowd so loud at the Sarver, PA speed plant in my years there. Nor have I ever seen a driver that was so emotionally overtaken in victory lane in what was a moment that had more than a few fans teary eyed. It was great to watch and experience.

One could call Ricky Weiss’s 2018 a breakout season. But for those who had been paying attention over the last few years, it was a season that looked like it was bound to happen sooner or later. Weiss managed a 25 win campaign that included some high profile victories, highlighted by a $50,000 payday in the North/South 100. He made history as the first Canadian to capture a crown jewel victory. He made believers of those that simply knew him as a good driver but never considered the possibility that he could become a great one.

Mike Marlar’s 2018 will be memorable for his championship with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Models. It was great to see him tour again and hit some places that he hadn’t been to in a while or at all for that matter. And he didn’t disappoint. Marlar was precision on display night in and night out as he managed one podium finish after another while winning his fair share of races as the same time. The end of the season saw him part ways with owner Ronnie Delk. These things happen in the sport regardless of the level of success sometimes. And it’s safe to say that Marlar will be a hot commodity this offseason. But no matter what happens, he will always have a championship season to remember and for fans that hadn’t had the opportunity to watch him very much over the years, it was a true delight.

And last but not least, Tim McCreadie turned in one of the most popular wins in recent memory at the World 100, celebrating with a Polish victory lap nonetheless as the cheers cascaded down from a full grandstand that was full of folks hoping he’d find a way to win. It was a storybook ending for a driver that has paid his dues in the sport and then some.

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