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By Meghan Diemel - All The Dirt! Racing News

In 1985, Jimmy and Chris Mars were two farm kids who enjoyed racing on the weekends. Flash forward more than 35 years later, and the relentless work ethic and determination they learned in the farm fields of Wisconsin is the backbone of their business, Mars Race Cars. During 2021, that spirit of perseverance was visible in victory lane once again, as clients in MB Customs from Mars Race Cars cleared nearly 700 wins across sanctioning bodies throughout the nation.

"It was really an unbelievable year in so many ways," reflected Jimmy. "We had drivers winning national championships, series titles, big end-of-the-year specials and several crown jewels across multiple series. I think we ended up with more than 200 Late Model wins, more than 360 Mod wins and just over 100 Midwest Mod/B Mod wins. And the win count doesn't include the many drivers who had their best season yet, between top five and top tens."

With the success comes additional pressure, but it's something he, Chris and the rest of the Mars Race Cars shop have come to embrace each fall, he acknowledged.

"We celebrate our clients' accomplishments and we're really happy to see them all have a year like they have had. Obviously we feel proud of what we've built here; we definitely try to build a family type atmosphere and a win for one is a win for all. But, we've already been heads down, back to the grind, preparing for 2022 for a couple months now," Jimmy explained.

While drivers were tearing it up on dirt tracks across the United States in their MB Customs, Jimmy, Chris, AJ Diemel and the rest of the crew at Mars Race Cars worked diligently on stepping up their research and development yet another notch in 2021. That meant more hours testing at various tracks in the region and more time spent developing innovative ideas to make MB Customs even better. Not only do they want to continually improve the product they offer clients each year, but this year they had the additional challenge of taking their chassis to the next level in the face of the increased cost of materials and supply chain problems that have plagued nearly every industry. They want to be able to offer the same high quality products clients have come to expect from Mars Race Cars, without passing the buck onto the racers.

"We grew up with that drive to always improve on whatever we were doing, whether it was farming or racing," said Jimmy. "So this year, like any year, even though we saw our clients hit a new record number of wins for the MB Customs brand, we aren't going to rest on that. And now with the increased costs, we see it as our responsibility to ensure the same quality, support and excellence drivers have come to expect, regardless of what's going on in the industry."

"We've been on the other side as a customer," added Diemel. "We fully understand as competitors ourselves what people expect out of the partnership between a client and the chassis builder. We've tried to add value to the chassis builder/client relationship and take great pride in being available to provide timely responses to any questions a client may have, whether it's during the build process or throughout his or her season."

When you buy an MB Customs race car then, whether it's a Late Model, Modified or Midwest Mod, it's not a one-way business transaction, added Chris.

"It's not just our livelihood, it's our passion," he said. "It doesn't matter if you buy a used car from Mars Race Cars, or a new chassis, we're answering questions and providing technical support until your last race of the season. When you call the shop, you will speak to the people who had direct involvement in the fabrication of your chassis. It's 36 years of chassis building for us this year and we're just as committed to dirt track racing now as we were back then."

>> Roller-Only, For Good Reason
After you purchase a new or used race car from Mars Race Cars, you leave with a car that is right where it needs to be to be in contention for a win when it's unloaded. Jimmy, Chris and AJ have made sure their nearly 100 years of combined racing experience are carried throughout the process of production and afterward. This is complemented by additional staff who have all had long-term involvement in motorsports and their own successes on the dirt tracks of the Midwest.

"We pay attention to every detail of every race car that leaves this shop," said Jimmy. "Even if you're buying a used car from us, it's been gone through thoroughly and leaves here ready to roll out and race. That's the least we can do for our customers who have entrusted us with the major component of their racing programs."

In addition to complete turn-key Late Models, Modifieds and B Modifieds, Mars Race Cars has a complete inventory of race parts; shock sales and service through CMD Race Shocks; complete rear end center (rebuild, straighten, etc.) specializing in Winters; complete rack & pinion rebuild center specializing in Sweet Mfg.; jig work; custom aluminum fabrication (tire carts, pit accessories, custom race car modifications, etc.); custom sheet metal fabrication (race car bodies, pit boxes, etc.); motor installation; custom tire grooving and siping; custom pipe bending; welding (TIG & MIG); and much more.

>> Wins, Titles, & Championships Across Sanctioning Bodies
The 2021 season for MB Customs clients started with big Modified series championships in Florida (UMP, Kevin "Buzzy" Adams) and Arizona (non-sanctioned, Rodney Sanders). Throughout the season, drivers won nearly 700 times across more than 20 states, three Canadian provinces, and multiple sanctioning bodies. By season's end, MB Customs was the chassis of choice for the USRA National Champion (Dustin Sorensen), the WISSOTA Late Model National Champion (Cole Searing), the USMTS Rookie of the Year (Brooks Strength), the WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series Champ (Darrell Nelson), and the WISSOTA Midwest Mod National Rookie of the Year (Jake Smith).

Additional season-long series titles were claimed by MB Customs clients Nick Anvelink (Dirt Kings Late Model Series), Dean Abbey (DFW Local Late Model Series), Triston Dycus (USRA American Racer Modified Series), Bo Day (Touring Outlaw Modified Series) and Drake Troutman (Renegade Mod and Late Model Tour).

And, if you were at any big money race throughout USRA or WISSOTA, chances were good you saw an MB Customs in victory lane. Multiple $10,000 USMTS victors, end-of-the-year specials and hallmark regional crown jewels were won by MB clients in 2021.

In WISSOTA country, Ashley Anderson collected wins at the Tanner Byholm Memorial, the Northern Nationals, and the Punky Manor Challenge of Champions, while fellow Mod wheelman Jody Bellefeuille was victorious during the Northern Nationals, the Minnesota Mod Nationals and the Border Battle. Sam Mars drove to his largest career payout during the Trackside Collectibles 40, while Jesse Glenz was victorious in the Late Models at the Tanner Byholm Memorial. The three-day Masters event at Cedar Lake was highlighted by Jimmy Mars winning the $10,000 Late Model prize and Diemel winning his first-ever USMTS Modified feature, while Jake Redetzke and Jake Timm were also feature winners during the weekend. Just two months later, MB Customs clients swept the USA Nationals local Late Model field, with Glenz and Anvelink taking one feature a piece.

MB Customs were in victory lane at both the Legendary 100 and WISSOTA 100, thanks to Diemel, Jimmy Mars and Daniel Bargender. Mars was also a winner during the Punky Manor Challenge of Champions and the Mahder Memorial in the Late Models, while Diemel added another John Seitz Memorial title to his list, the first three-time winner of the event, and won his second Red Clay Classic title, as well as the Tom Steuding Memorial (LM) and the Rumble at Red Cedar (Mod).

MB Customs pilots from northern WISSOTA land also made a mark during the 2021 season, as Travis Budisalovich won the Silver 1000 in the Late Models, as well as the AFCO Race of Champions at I-94 Speedway.

Darrell Nelson was the Modified victor during the Silver 1000, and won one of the Late Model features at the Labor Day Shootout in Hibbing, while Jay Kintner was also victorious in Late Model action at the Shootout.

In Wisconsin, Chris Oertel and Mike Widmann were winners during SK Speedway's Autumn Clash, while in South Dakota Chad Becker won the Autumn Classic at Casino Speedway and the huge $10,000-to-win show at Dakota State Fair Speedway.

"A lot of work has gone into ensuring our brand is not only successful, but that drivers feel supported at every step along the way,"explained Jimmy. "You let us know what you're planning for your race schedule, and we'll be here to ensure your car is not only built to the correct specifications, but is also the best of the best, wherever you race."

>> The Future for MB Customs Pilots with Mars Race Cars
Each season, the entire shop at Mars Race Cars is involved in trying to up their game for the following's season's line of MB Customs.

"There is no off-season now; we continue fine-tuning and testing throughout the winter, wherever our clients are racing," explained Jimmy. "We're working with them to make sure we're making the adjustments necessary to get them into victory lane - ahead of their competition."

"That benefits every racer," added Diemel, "even if your season doesn't start until May and you race one night a week. The time we put in the shop and across the nation in the winter months is a huge asset to everyone."

With more than 1,900 Late Model wins, 2,000 Modified victories and another 370 wins in the Midwest Mod/B Mod ranks since the brand's inception, MB Customs chassis are quality pieces at market level for cost, and the racer behind the wheel is making a solid investment in their race program for the price. Jimmy, Chris, AJ and the rest of the Mars Race Cars gang invite you to become a part of the Mars Race Cars and MB Customs success in 2022.

If you're ready to take the next step to take your racing program to the next level, call the Mars Race Cars shop at 715-235-4950, and take a look around to see what they've been up to!


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