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Legit Speedway Park

Arizona's Whitwell tops West Plain foes

July 2, 2011, 5:19 am
From series reports
Car owner Steve Rushin (left) joins R.C. Whitwell in victory lane. (Ron Mitchell)
Car owner Steve Rushin (left) joins R.C. Whitwell in victory lane. (Ron Mitchell)

WEST PLAINS, Mo. (July 1) — Racing to victory from outside the front row, Arizona invader R.C. Whitwell raced to his first touring Late Model victory outside his home state Friday at West Plains Motor Speedway.

Whitwell, piloting a Rushin Motorsports car based in Poplar Bluff, Mo., earned $2,500 for the victory co-sanctioned by the MARS DIRTcar Series and Comp Cams Super Dirt Series. | Slideshow

Whitwell started alongside polesitter Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., in the 25-lapper, and Wallace took control at the outset and appeared to have things going his way.

But Whitwell held the second spot and began gaining ground on the slick surface at West Plains, reeling in the lead and making the winning pass on the 15th lap. He never looked back in racing to the checkers while Wallace settled for second.

Five-time MARS champion Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., was third followed by Stacy Taylor of Jacksonville, Ark., and Johnny Virden of Russellville, Ark.

Brad Looney of Republic, Mo., entered the event on a three-race MARS winning streak, but he wasn't a factor in starting and finishing 13th.

Notes: Whitwell's GRT Race Car is sponsored by Rushin Towing and Swafford's Service. ... The Tucson driver's previous touring victories came on the Arizona-based Total Seal Late Model Dirt Racing Series, both in the 2009 season and both at USA Raceway in his hometown. ... Whitwell had a Crate Late Model victory the previous weekend at Black River Race Park in Poplar Bluff, Mo. ... Raymond Merrill finished 16th in Wendell Wallace's backup car. ... Eric Turner was 15th in Brandon McCormick's backup. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Brandon McCormick, Darrell Mooneyham and Justin Asplin. ... MARS and Comp Cams drivers continue the Firecracker Shootout weekend at West Plains on Saturday before heading to Monett (Mo.) Speedway for a $3,000-to-win event on Sunday.

Firecracker Shootout: (1) R.C. Whitwell, (2) Wendell Wallace, (3) Terry Phillips, (4) Stacy Taylor, (5) Johnny Virden, (6) Justin Wells, (7) Kyle Beard, (8) Jeff Floyd, (9) Jeremy Payne, (10) Brandon Smith, (11) Todd Hall, (12) Bill Frye, (13) Brad Looney, (14) Jon Kirby, (15) Eric Turner, (16) Raymond Merrill, (17) Jon Mitchell, (18) Tony Jackson Jr., (19) Dewaine Hottinger, (20) Dane Dacus, (21) Ian Samuels, (22) Jesse Stovall. Heat race winners (among 28 cars): Turner, Phillips, Wallace, Whitwell. Consolation winners: Dacus, Hall. Provisional starters: Mitchell, Jackson, Samuels, Stovall.

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