By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
In his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start, Mike Marlar almost upset the regulars at Eldora Speedway.
The dirt specialist spent much of the final stage inside the top-10. Marlar slung dirt in his No. 33 Smithbilt Homes Toyota Tundra with NASCAR regulars Chase Briscoe, Christian Eckes, Grant Enfinger, and Todd Gilliland. The 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Champion held his own with the regulars.
Marlar spent much of the final 30 laps battling Grant Enfinger. Slide job after slide job the two drivers traded positions back and forth. Marlar bounced off the wall, breaking Enfinger’s momentum. When the checkered flag for the Eldora Dirt Derby waved, the 41-year-old crossed the line in fourth.
The Reaume Brothers Racing driver was ecstatic about having the opportunity to ‘live the dream.’
“It was awesome. Every guy when he starts racing dreams to get to run a NASCAR race and to have my first one go this well is unbelievable. I would like to thank everyone, the Reaume Brothers, Smithbilt Homes. It was just an awesome race.”
The Winfield, TN native started mid-pack after he finished fifth in his heat race. Marlar didn’t break into the top-10 until the second stage of the 0.500-mile dirt track. He crept forward, avoiding several incidents including ‘the big one.’
Marlar’s fourth-place finish is the best finish for a dirt specialist since Bobby Pierce finished runner-up to Christopher Bell in 2015.
The run by Marlar is also the first top-five in the history of Reaume Brothers Racing. Team co-owner Josh Reaume had earned the organization’s previous best finish earlier this season with a sixth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. The top-five came in the team’s 51st start and in the flagship No. 33.