Marriott cool under pressure in breakout USMTS triumph

Not only did Hunter Marriott score his initial USMTS victory Friday night at the Ark-La-Tex Speedway, but he did it by fending off two of the most skilled drivers familiar with Gene Boyter’s high-banked speed palace in Vivian, La.

In 14 USMTS main events held here over the past decade, Chris Henigan has two wins and Cade Dillard owns a series-best three, including the last two prior to this weekend, but neither had the goods to get by Marriott in the closing laps as the 27-year-old from Brookfield, Mo., claimed the $3,000 top prize with a wire-to-wire effort.

From the outside of the front row, Marriott distanced himself from the pack right away and picked his way through lapped traffic flawlessly to maintain his advantage while Dillard and Henigan were inching their way forward.

The race’s first caution on lap 29 bunched the field and Dillard threatened Marriott on several occasions over the next eight laps before the yellow flag waved for a second and final time with just three laps remaining.

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