Jimmy Mars Claims Honors in Pair of Coastal Georgia Dirt Late Model Events "Iceman Invades Florida Speedweeks Hoping to Thaw the Competition at East Bay & Volusia" (Elk Mound, WI --February 4, 2002) Jimmy Mars Racing successfully began the ...
Jimmy Mars Claims Honors in Pair of Coastal Georgia Dirt Late Model Events
"Iceman Invades Florida Speedweeks Hoping to Thaw the Competition at East Bay & Volusia"
(Elk Mound, WI --February 4, 2002) Jimmy Mars Racing successfully began the team's 2002 season of dirt late model action this past weekend with two outings, each yielding top-ten runs. Mars' consistency enabled Jimmy to win the combined points award for the pair of coastal Georgia events held at Savannah, GA on Friday night and Brunswick, GA on Saturday afternoon. The promoters of the two races offered a special bonus award for cumulative performance during the weekend and when the dust settled it was Jimmy Mars picking up the award and added cash before making tracks to Tampa, Florida for this week's annual WinterNationals at East Bay Raceway (See www.eastbayraceway.com for information).
On Friday night, Mars took the team's MasterSbilt prepared Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a third place run at Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah, GA. Then on Saturday the 'Iceman', as Mars is known by dirt racing fans nationwide, scored another top-ten finish by completing the season-opening United Dirt Track Racing Association (UDTRA) event at Brunswick, Georgia's Golden Isles Speedway with a sixth place finish. Mars qualified the Jimmy Mars Racing entry tenth fastest among the 41 entries on hand for the Brunswick, GA UDTRA event with an average lap speed of 127.602 mph or 17.633 seconds around the five-eighths mile dirt surface (See www.udtra.com for event results).
Mars is coming off of a breakout year as he scored 3 UDTRA sanctioned wins last season and completed the 2001 UDTRA national championship season with an eighth place standing in the season long title points chase. Mars' 2001 UDTRA wins came at Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, TN), Texas Motor Speedway (Ft.Worth, TX) and Green Valley Speedway (Gadsden, AL). The talented driver/team owner is looking to improve on last year's performance with increased win totals on and off of the UDTRA tour. Mars is a former champion of the $100,000 to win dirt late model 'Dream' event at Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH) and captured over $42,000 by winning the 'Topless 100" at Batesville, AR in 1999. In addition to his prowess on America's dirt racing ovals, Mars was also named the NASCAR/RE-MAX Challenge Series Rookie of the Year in 1998. Mars will attempt the full UDTRA schedule in 2002 as well as regional events in WISSOTA action and major big money events across the nation.
Mars and company's trek to Florida's annual SpeedWeeks should provide added successes for the young Elk Mound, WI native. Prior visits to both East Bay Raceway (Tampa, FL) and Volusia County Speedway (Daytona Beach, FL) have yielded wins for Jimmy Mars. These weeks' events at East Bay Raceway are sanctioned by both UDTRA and the Renegade DirtCar Series and Mars will be in the hunt each night.
Jimmy Mars Racing has started the 2002 campaign without the luxury of a primary sponsor for the first time in several seasons, but that fact won't slow down the hard charger who is focused on the business of running up front in this week's activities. The recently announced decision by Parker Stores to not sponsor Mars efforts in 2002 may turn out to be a catalyst for Mars rather than a setback. "We've known about their (Parker Stores) decision for a while now, but there just was no need to dwell on the issue and we've been extremely busy readying our cars for this season", comments Mars. "Although several key individuals within the corporate structure of the Parker Hannifan Company did hold onto hope for an alternate solution which would have kept Parker Stores onboard in some role we still have a tremendous amount of respect for Parker Stores and their involvement with our racing team during the past several years. They are good people and have tremendous reach within the industrial world," continued Mars. "John Strand and others within their organization have been behind us in a big way during the past few years and we are just awfully proud that we have enjoyed a strong, positive relationship in making contributions to the marketing efforts of their products and distributors."
When asked whether or not the sponsorship issue would affect his plans for 2002, Mars beamed his patented smile and noted, "Don't forget that Parker Stores was one of the first large corporations to get involved in dirt late model racing. Their decision is just a fact of business life and a continued sign of the economic change of plans by many corporations. We remain committed to our team objectives and have a lot of help from the Masters family at MasterSbilt Chassis," Mars continue. "We have to concentrate on the business at hand as we also continue our efforts to secure sponsorship from a winning organization. Right now we need to focus on winning races and giving a company more reason to come aboard with us for the remainder of the season."
This week's agenda at East Bay Raceway provides a challenge within itself with the number of competitors from across the country who will be vying for starting positions just to get in the show each night in Tampa, Mars points out, "The battle at East Bay's WinterNationals is in making the show. Once you are in, it is a track that is conducive to passing so you can definitely make your way through the field. But making it through the preliminaries can take its toll on a team, especially when you consider that three of this week's events during the WinterNationals are Renegade Stars series sanctioned races and we will not have any provisionals in those races."
The nightly action at East Bay Raceway will see as many as 100 drivers attempt to make the feature event each night of the week. The six nights of racing at East Bay culminates with Friday night's $30,000 to win Renegade DirtCar Racing Series event and another $25,000 to the winner of Saturday night's UDTRA feature. Following this week in Tampa, Jimmy will move on to Daytona Beach and the annual Speedweeks portion of dirt late model action at Volusia Speedway Park. Aside from previous SpeedWeeks wins in Florida, Mars has posted a number of fine showings during recent years at each track, East Bay Raceway and Volusia County Speedway.
"It's a special time of the year for us and we really hope to shine in Florida," Mars concludes. "You have got to race into these shows down here. Every night you are lining up against a hundred or so other teams just to get in the show, but I'm ready for the challenge. A couple of good runs down there can really help our efforts to procure new sponsorship."