BAKER, La. (April 26) - It may have been over five years since he last visited Baton Rouge Raceway, but it had been nearly 13 years since Jon Mitchell of Texarkana, Tex., sat in Victory Lane at the 3/8-mile track.
Mitchell changed that on Saturday night, racing from the third starting spot to capture the 40-lap the P&W Sales Southern United Professional Racing Series feature. He earned a $2,000 payday for his sixth career SUPR win and his first in 11 months.
Mitchell coupled patience with a rocketship machine, sailing past Tyler Erb of Magnolia, Tex., for the lead on lap 22. He went on to triumph by roughly eight seconds.
The polesitting Erb, who eventually settled for second, led on two different occasions, once at the outset and the other when heartbreak fell on Jeff Chanler of Minden, La., who slammed the backstretch wall while leading in the early stages of the feature.
Chanler seemed to be the class of the field before taking spray from a lapped car, leaving him on two wheels and into the outside, concrete wall. Chanler was okay after the lick, but damages to his No. 11c were deemed too much to continue, retiring him on the hook.
Defending series' champ Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., clawed and scratched his way to a podium finish of third.
Fresh off a plane from a Walt Disney World vacation in Orlando, Fla., Robbie Stuart of DeRidder, La., had a solid fourth-place run (from the 10th starting position) and 2005 SUPR Rookie of the Year, Patrik Daniel of Wills Point, Tex., made a worthwhile seven-hour pull to Baton Rouge to round out the top five.
Notes: The 27-minute feature, which ended at 10:50 p.m., was slowed by three cautions with 13 cars finishing on the lead lap. … Mitchell's victory was his first on the SUPR circuit since May 18, 2013, at Southern Oklahoma Speedway. ... The top-10 hard charger of the feature was three-time SUPR champion David Ashley Jr of Zachary, La., whose seven victories are currently tied with Ronnie Poche for most series wins at Baton Rouge Raceway. Ashley climbed from the 13th starting position to finish seventh. … Rick Duke Jr of Pineville, La., also had a good top-10 run, climbing from 16th to ninth. … Local racer Jason Polite of Zachary, La., threw an engine rod in hot laps in his No. 82 car, scratching him early from the evening's program. … Teenage driver Brandon Hightower of Deville, La., suffered a similar fate with engine woes nixing him from the feature after he transferred in through the consolation race. … The second SUPR event of the season came seven weeks after Morgan Bagley won at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. ... The tour made its 83rd visit to Baton Rouge, its de facto home track. ... The postponed event was originally scheduled for April 12. ... The P&W Sales SUPR Dirt Late Models hit the road next weekend to Greenville (Miss.) Speedway in Mississippi for a May 3 event on the gumbo.