Auto racing: Mars captures Silver 1000 Late Model title Thursday night in Proctor
Few drivers have been as successful in so limited recent Twin Ports appearances as the Wisconsin stalwart.
PROCTOR — Jimmy Mars returned to a place he loves, the Twin Ports, and does what the driver from Menomonie, Wisconsin, does best.
Mars held off another driver with a similar pedigree, Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wisconsin, to win the 40-lap Late Model feature at the 50th annual Silver 1000 Thursday, Sept. 1, at Halvor Lines Speedway in Superior.
Mars started the grand finale in the second starting position, with Kevin Eder on the pole, but with Doar in the third spot, not to mention hard chargers Kyle Peterlin, Jeff Massingill and Trent Follmer, that’s like holding off a pack of hungry wolves with fresh meat dangling from your pockets.
Eder wound up sixth, with Peterlin, Massingill and Follmer finishing third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Massingill was the best starter in that latter group, in the eighth spot on the green starting grid, so those drivers were moving on up.
For Mars, it was his third Silver 1000 Late Model victory, joining his last victory, in 2017, and his first, way back in 1992, when he was living in Elk Mound, Wisconsin.
Thirty years later … how cool is that?
Speaking of a pack of racing dogs, Justin Froemming of Garfield, Minn., held off the most prolific dirt-track racer in Wissota in Shane Sabraski of Rice, Minnesota, and Darrell Nelson of Hermantown to win the 30-lap Modified feature.
Mars earned all of $6,000 for the Late Model win; Froemming $3,000-plus on a night that started in the 80s and ended in the 70s, unseasonably warm temperatures for Duluth in September. The race was part of the Wissota Late Model Challenge Series.
Froemming started in the fourth spot for the Modified feature, Sabraski on the pole. That doesn’t happen very often. Overtaking that guy, Sabraski, is no small chore, especially when Sabraski starts on the pole. Usually, that's called, good night.
Nelson, meanwhile, started 12th before turning in an epic run. Nobody has won more Silvers than the “Hermantown Hammer,” with 11 in all, three in Late Models and a crazy eight in Modifieds, including last year.
Jack Rivord — a Superior High School senior football player — was fourth. Rivord, despite being a rookie in the class, is in the top 10 in Wissota national points. Bob Broking of Grand Rapids rounded out the top five as Northland drivers certainly proved their mettle.
Don’t let Rivord’s uncanny first-year prowess fool you. He’s the exception, not the rule. The Silver 1000 isn’t for beginners. Two classes, that’s it.
There were 51 Late Models on the night and 37 Modifieds in a race that’s considered not just the granddaddy of Northland invitationals, but the kickoff, and for good reason.
Only one other Late Model dirt-track event has a longer continous history at the same facility than the Silver 1000, the World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, beginning in 1971, two years prior to the Silver (Eldora is now owned by NASCAR Cup champion and team owner Tony Stewart).
Mars, Doar, etc., those are considered among the best dirt trackers from the Upper Midwest. Common names around here, despite not being weekly regulars. And then you had Modified driver Zeke McKenzie … listed address? Claypool, Indiana.
So goes something like the old saying ... If you start it, and keep it going, and do it right, they will come.