Pike County Speedway
Wall fights off Merchant for SUPR victory at Pike
MAGNOLIA, Miss. (April 25) — Chris Wall of Holden, La., barely held off Kenny Merchant of West Monroe, La., at Pike County Speedway for a Saturday victory on the O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing tour. With lapped traffic hampering Wall in the late stages of the 50-lapper, Merchant pulled within a half-length of Wall, just falling short at the checkered flag.
Wall notched his second O'Reilly SUPR victory of the season and his third win overall in his last four starts, earning $2,500. The fourth-starting Merchant, looking for his first series victory at Pike County since 2004, was second with front-row starter Allen Tippen of Minden, La., right in the mix in finishing third. Three-time series champion David Ashley of Zachary, La., and 2007 champ Ray Moore of Shreveport, La., rounded out the top five at the 3/8-mile southern Mississippi oval.
Merchant's last-ditch attempt to overtake Wall wasn't his only challenge. Wall was leading on lap 12 when he tangled with a lapped car as Merchant swept around the outside to take the lead. A caution appeared for the spinning lapped car and official scorers restored Wall to the lead for the restart.
The lap-12 restart set up the wildest wreck of the night when Donald Watson spun exiting turn four, collecting Marlon Wild, whose car flipped for the second time in two months. Kevin Watts and Gary Scott Christian were also involved in the melee. Only Christian was able to return to the race, but he only ran a few laps before parking his car.
Notes: Wall pilots a MasterSbilt Race Car with a Wall 2 Wall Performance Engine and sponsorship from C&M Gator Farm, Gator Trax Boats and GVS Racing. ... Wall has used a spec-engine combination most of his Late Model career, but he opted for an open-competition engine at Pike County. ... His only previous SUPR victories with an open-competition engine came in 2006 at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway. ... Pike County drew 25 SUPR Late Models and 101 race cars overall in its first race of the season. ... Next up on the O'Reilly SUPR circuit is a May 2 event at ArkLaTex Speedway in Vivian, La.
O'Reilly SUPR @ Pike County: (1) Chris Wall, (2) Kenny Merchant, (3) Allen Tippen, (4) David Ashley, (5) Ray Moore, (6) Kevin Sitton, (7) Kennith Crowe, (8) Rob Litton, (9) Howard Willis, (10) Elizabeth Halpin Smith, (11) Keith Miller, (12) Jeff Chanler, (13) Devane Hillman, (14) Corie Herberger, (15) Edmond Jenkins, (16) Eric Neal, (17) Gary Scott Christian, (18) Donald Watson, (19) Marlon Wild, (20) Kevin Watts, (21) Bub McCool. Heat race winners (among 25 cars): Wall, Tippen, Watson, Ashley. Consolation winner: Hillman.