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Mike Martin Works His Magic at Wichita!

Mike Martin reached victory lane in Round Three of the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars "Freedom Tour" at 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS, on Friday night. (TWC Photo)

Mike Martin reached victory lane in Round Three of the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars “Freedom Tour” at 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS, on Friday night. (TWC Photo)

From Lonnie Wheatley

Wichita, KS — (August 15, 2014) — It had been much too long for his taste. But Yuma, Arizona native Mike Martin finally broke back into victory lane by wiring the field in Friday night’s 30-lap USAC Southwest USAC Southwest Sprint Cars “Freedom Tour” main event atop the 3/8-mile 81 Speedway.

It wasn’t’ all that easy though, as the “The Magic Man” had to fight for it all the way in the PPM No. 16 Maxim, fending off early challenges from Thursday night Freedom Tour winner Brady Bacon before sealing the $2,500 winner’s deal ahead of Harli White, who rallied from 13th, with USAC Southwest Sprint Car points leader R.J. Johnson rounding out the podium in third.

“It’s been too long, it just feels good to win again and especially out on the road in front of so many great fans, it just makes it fun to race out here,” Martin commented in victory lane.

Martin originally started the feature from the second row inside, but moved to the pole when pole starter Forrest Sutherland looped it in the opening corner.

With Bacon moving up from seventh to fifth accordingly, the Broken Arrow, OK, shoe was on Martin’s tail within a couple of laps of the green flag flying, with Martin, Bacon and 2013 Freedom Tour winner at 81 Speedway Rick Ziehl all working the lower portion of the track in the battle for the lead.

That trio didn’t have it to themselves though in the early going though. After slipping back from his front row outside starting position, Joe Wood, Jr., worked the top side of the track to rejoin the mix for lead after Colby Copeland’s nasty ride off the turn one banking after five laps, only to slide too high off of turn four soon after while challenging Bacon for second.

Another violent ride by Zach Chappell off the turn one banking slowed the proceeding after 14 laps, with the Talala, OK, racer walking away apparently unscathed

From there, Martin maintained command as Harli White worked past Bacon and Ziehl over the final half of the race to take runner-up honors. Current USAC Southwest Sprint Cars point leader R.J. Johnson made a late advance to fourth with Bacon rounding out the top five.

Josh Pelkey crossed the stripe sixth, with Charles Davis, Jr., Jeremy Campell, Don Droud, Jr., and Tye Mihocko completing the top ten.

Ziehl, Sutherland and Hodges topped heat race action for the 24-car field with Davis, Jr., winning the “B” Main.

The Second Annual USAC Southwest Sprint Cars “Freedom Tour” wraps up Saturday night at Dodge City Raceway Park.

The Vitals:

Series: USAC Southwest Sprint Cars Freedom Tour Round Three

Track: 81 Speedway (Wichita, KS)

Car Count: 24

Heat Races (10 Laps – Top 16 in Passing Points to “A” Main):

Heat 1: 1. 41w-Rick Ziehl (2), 2. 12-Josh Pelkey (1), 3. 99-Brady Bacon (5), 4. 17w-Harli White (4), 5. 11c-Michael Curtis (4), 6. 1x-Don Droud, Jr. (6), 7. 20-Shon Deskins (7), 8. 11w-Wyatt Burks (8).

Heat 2: 1. 85-Forrest Sutherland (1), 2. 16-Mike Martin (4), 3. 03-Joe Wood, Jr. (6), 4. 77m-R.J. Johnson (7), 5. 5-Tye Mihocko (2), 6. 74-Colby Copeland (3), 7. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (5), 8. 2j-Zach Blurton (8).

Heat 3: 1. 74x-Josh Hodges (3), 2. 7-Shannon McQueen (8), 3. 09-Josh Stephens (2), 4. 10c-Jeremy Campbell (4), 5. 04-Brad Graham (7), 6. 95-Gavin Stout (1), 7. 50z-Zach Chappell (5), 8. 22-Koby Barksdale (6).

B Main (12 Laps – Top 4 Advance):

B Main: 1. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (4), 2. 74-Colby Copeland (1), 3. 11w-Wyatt Burks (6), 4. 50z-Zach Chappell (5), 5. 2j-Zach Blurton (7), 6. 5x-Koby Barksdale (8), 7. 95-Gavin Stout (3), 8. 20-Shon Deskins (2).

A Main (30 Laps):

A Main: 1. 16-Mike Martin (3), 2. 17w-Harli White (13), 3. 77m-R.J. Johnson (8), 4. 41w-Rick Ziehl (4), 5. 99-Brady Bacon (7), 6. 12-Josh Pelkey (9), 7. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (17), 8. 10c-Jeremy Campbell (12), 9. 1x-Don Droud, Jr. (16), 10. 5-Tye Mihocko (15), 11. 74x-Josh Hodges (5), 12. 11c-Michael Curtis (14), 13. 7-Shannon McQueen (6), 14. 09-Josh Stephens (10), 15. 11w-Wyatt Burks (19), 16. 03-Joe Wood, Jr. (2), 17. 04-Brad Graham (11), 18. 50z-Zach Chappell (20), 19. 74-Colby Copeland (18), 20. 85-Forrest Sutherland (1).

Lap Leaders: Mike Martin 1-30.