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Mike Marlar surprises official at Ransomville with kind gesture

Mike Marlar knew he wanted to do something special for World of Outlaws Late Model Series race announcer Rick Eshelman after hearing of the recent death of Eshelman's girlfriend Sandy Holt. That moment came in Victory Lane Friday evening at Ransomville Speedway.

Following Marlar's triumph in Friday's Late Model 50 at Ransomville, Marlar surprised Eshelman by giving him the $10,000 winner's check that was earned for Friday's victory. It proved to be a very moving gesture.

Marlar, of Winfield, Tenn., passed Brandon Sheppard of  New Berlin, Ill., with 10 laps remaining to secure the win. Friday's event was the first at Ransomville for the traveling World of Outlaws Late Models in the last 13 years. Holt also was WOO series scorer.

"I'd like to give my check to Rick Eshelman tonight," Marlar said. "I don't know if anyone has ever done that. But he just lost his long-time girlfriend, and he has been a special guy in racing. When I heard the news about Sandy, I wanted to do something nice for Rick, so here's my chance. I appreciate you supporting us and doing everything you do. You're a really awesome guy."

Marlar had a banner evening right from the start Friday by breaking the existing Ransomville Outlaws Late Model track record, posting a 15.740 second lap in time trials, shattering the standard of 17.432 set in 2005 by Billy Moyer. Eighteen of the 19 cars that took time Friday ran quicker than Moyer's time. Honestly it took me awhile to figure out the race track," Marlar said. "It kind of had some dirty spots and it took me about 15-20 laps to figure out what I was doing wrong. Once I got that cleared up, this thing came to life. Fun race and I'm glad I got by those guys."


In the official's tower at Ransomville Friday, newly appointed Joe Kubiniec was performing his duties as race director of the Ransomville race division portion of the program. Kubiniec assumed his new duties just a few weeks ago. He has driven Modifieds and Sprint Cars for several years but has taken a temporary hiatus from driving this season to concentrate on his new assignment. He has been learning the role of race director from long-time area race official John Nelson.

Kubiniec is using his experience and knowledge from the perspective of a veteran driver to translate into his new role in the official's tower. Part of Kubiniec's role is communicating different messages to the drivers during a race via a one-way radio.

"First of all I've not quite hung up my helmet just yet, but I was able to bring that side of the track to this side of the track," Kubiniec said. "I've been in many different divisions and I wanted to bring my experience here and try to help these drivers see what's going on from up here and have a better feel for getting around the race track.

"I had no idea that it's that hectic up in the tower," Kubiniec said. "You got a lot of different noises from the scorers, from the announcers and without a headset on you can't help these guys. That's the biggest thing I've noticed. John's done a good job helping me to learn. Last week he wasn't here, so I basically felt that I graduated. I was on my own so I can now get it done. I still have to learn, not so much about communication from a driver's perspective, but rather trying to maintain communication with the track officials about things that are going on around the race track, not just on the race track."

Nelson gave a positive endorsement of Kubiniec.

"Joe's doing a really nice job in a short period of time, and it's nice to have a driver come up and come over to the dark side of officiating," Nelson said. "Honestly, he needed a little bit of help with race control but he's picked it up quick. The drivers here seem to be happy."

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