Champion Park Speedway
Merchant continues Champion Park domination
By Bryan WimberleyDirtonDirt.com correspondent
HAUGHTON, La. (Aug. 14) — Polesitter Kenny Merchant of West Monroe, La., continued his dominance at Champion Park Speedway on Saturday by grabbing his fifth victory of the last six series events held at the quarter-mile oval. Merchant earned $2,500 for leading all 40 laps, taking the checkers six seconds ahead of 15th-starting hometown driver Ray Moore in the O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing event. | Slideshow
Merchant debuted a new all-black No. c28 in notching his fourth straight victory at Champion Park while Moore edged Chris Holley of Dayton, Texas, for the second spot. A pair of Minden, La., drivers — Allen Tippen and Jeff Chanler rounded out the top five.
"I don't know what I have found here," the 39-year-old Merchant said of his Champion Park success. "We used to say we hated coming over here because we always struggled and get in wrecks for whatever reason. Now it's like we broke over the hump and won one finally. Now you hate to say it or sound cocky, but it's almost like you can't lose one."
Merchant got the jump on Holley at the outset as the frontrunners pulled away from the third-running Chanler early in the race. Merchant began lapping slower cars by lap 11 and was stretching his lead on Holley when a caution for Timothy Culp bunched the field on lap 14.
The 40-lapper stayed green the rest of the way and Holley began to struggle after losing his brakes about halfway through the race. As Merchant built a comfortable lead, his only concern was traffic as Holley contended with Tippen, Chanler and Ronny Adams in a battle for second.
Moore's charge began in earnest as he broke into the top five late in the race, then took fourth from Chanler on lap 32. His high-side momentum helped Moore take third from Tippen and he set his sights on Holley in the final three laps.
With Merchant cruising out front, Holley tried his best to hold off Moore's challenge, but Moore's high side move exiting turn four coming to the checkered flags gave him second place.
Notes: Merchant's Trak-Star race car is powered by Wall 2 Wall Performance Engines and sponsored by J.D. Caver & Company, J&J Motorsports, Bayou Fabricators, Henry's Auto Salvage, Cypress Bend Apartments and Xtreme Graphics. ... Merchant planned on saving the new black car for the Aug. 20-21 Comp Cams Topless 100 at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway, but he went ahead with it at Champion Park because he doesn't have an open-competition engine to run the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event in Arkansas. ... Merchant's 56th career SUPR victory leads the series. ... Merchant's victory also places him in a tie with David Ashley for the most SUPR victories at Champion Park at five (all Merchant's victory have come in a 15-month span). ... Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap. ... Entrants included modified standout Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas; Odie Green of Fouke, Ark. (who last won in the SUPR series in April 2002); area modified driver Brett Frazier (making his Late Model debut; and local driver Troy Berdan. ... Drivers failing to make the feature: Alex Ashley, Jay Brunson, Wesley Chanler, John Ewell, Paul Joyner, Jon Mitchell, Eric Neal, Darin Patrick, Chad Patterson and Robbie Starnes. ... Kevin Sitton of Baytown, Texas, advanced from his 17th starting spot to finish seventh. ... David Ashley of Zachary, La., broke an axle in hot laps, but made repairs to take a provisional in the feature. He started 22nd and finished 12th. ... SUPR competitors take a weekend off before heading to the half-mile Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, on Aug. 28.
O'Reilly SUPR @ Champion Park: (1) Kenny Merchant, (2) Ray Moore, (3) Chris Holley, (4) Allen Tippen, (5) Jeff Chanler, (6) Ronny Adams, (7) Kevin Sitton, (8) Rob Litton, (9) Jody Prince, (10) Kyle Cummings, (11) Odie Green, (12) David Ashley, (13) Lee Davis, (14) B.J. Robinson, (15) Morgan Bagley, (16) Josh Danzy, (17) Timothy Culp, (18) Troy Berdan, (19) Mark Andrews, (20) Brett Frazier, (21) Charlie Morrow, (22) Jim Bryant. Heat race winners (among 32 cars): Adams, Holley, J. Chanler, Merchant. Consolation winners: Sitton, Frazier. Provisional starters: D. Ashley, Danzy.
Correction: Fixes Frazier's first name.