Jimmy Mars

Jimmy Mars at the 10th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Caseys General Stores at the Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa on Sept. 27, 2013

Joey Millard, thesportswire.net

With his third place podium finish in an Open Wheel Modified Friday, Oct. 20 at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City during the 9th Annual ‘Fall Festival,’ Jimmy Mars capped off a strong 2017 campaign.

Mars entered 53 different events this year — primarily in his familiar #28 MB Customs Super Late Model — and was able to drive to victory lane on five occasions. In addition, Mars accumulated 27 Top Five performances throughout his season and 37 Top Ten efforts.

His 2017 season finale finish wasn’t nearly the best thing that happened to the Menomonie native over the weekend, however, as it was announced Saturday, Oct. 21 that Mars will be a Class of 2018 inductee into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. Next year’s induction ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11 during the ‘North/South 100’ weekend at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky, which is the home of the Hall of Fame.

“It is truly a great honor to be inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame and I have to thank the committee that voted me in,” commented Mars via telephone. “I also have to thank my wife and kids, my parents, and my brother and long-time crew chief Chris (Mars), along with everyone that has ever supported my racing program, sponsored the car, or helped turn a wrench on it. Racing is definitely a team sport and I couldn’t have ever come close to reaching a level to be inducted into the Hall of Fame if it wasn’t for the help and support of a lot of people. Being inducted hasn’t totally set in yet, but that will be a very special day next August—that’s for sure!”

Mars has been winning races since he first jumped behind the wheel of a race car in 1985, but he burst onto the national scene in 1997 when he emerged victorious in the ‘Dream’ at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio to pocket the hefty $100,000 top prize in one of the most unforgettable races in Dirt Late Model history.

He has been a prolific winner in crown jewel and other mega-events including the 1996 ‘USA Nationals’ at Cedar Lake Speedway, the 2000 and 2007 ‘Topless 100’ at Batesville (AR) Motor Speedway, the 2008 ‘National 100’ at East Alabama Motor Speedway, and the 2009 and 2011 ‘Firecracker 100’ at Lernerville (PA) Speedway.

In 2009, Mars also became only the second driver ever to win three races paying at least $50,000 in a single season by capturing victories in the ‘USA Nationals’ at Cedar Lake Speedway, the ‘North/South 100’ at Florence (KY) Speedway, and the ‘Dirt Track World Championship’ at Lawrenceburg (IN) Speedway.

The popular driver known as “The Iceman” was a fixture on the ultra-competitive Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series (also known as UDTRA and Xtreme later in its existence) during the early 2000s and racked up 12 career feature wins, along with finishing inside of the top five in series points in 2002, 2003, and 2004 where he was the series runner-up.

To this date, Mars has also amassed eight career World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series victories, seven career UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals triumphs, and three career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series wins. Over the last handful of years, operating Mars Race Cars — which produces high quality Dirt Late Model and Open Wheel Modified chassis to clients across the country — has kept him and his brother Chris very busy and off the road full time, but their Mars Racing team has remained a serious threat to win each time they hit the racetrack.

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Dunn County News reporter

Laura covers local/prep sports as well as school-related and general news in Dunn County. She joined The Dunn County News in October 2016. She can be contacted directly at laura.giammattei@lee.net or (715) 279-6721.

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