Merchant catches Moore for Greenville victory
By Bryan WimberleyDirtonDirt.com correspondent
GREENVILLE, Miss. (June 13) — Winning his third race in the last four series events, reigning champion Kenny Merchant of West Monroe, La., chased down race-long leader Ray Moore of Shreveport, La., at Greenville Speedway and took the lead with two laps remaining for an O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing tour victory. Merchant earned $2,500 for his series-leading 47th career victory and first at Greenville.
The front-row starting Moore, looking for his first series victory of the season was four lengths behind in second in the 50-lapper. Chris Hall of Holden, La., rallied from 12th to finish third while 10th-starting Kevin Sitton of Baytown, Texas., and Robbie Stuart of Deridder, La., rounded out the top five as the last driver on the lead lap in a race slowed by a single caution.
Moore took the lead from the outset with Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., holding the runner-up spot in the early going. Merchant dropped Litton to second on the 10th lap and began his chase of the frontrunning Moore, who was already working lapped traffic.
Trey Williams of Winnsboro, La., spun in turn two to bring out the lone yellow on the 19th lap, and Moore was still out front when Litton and hometown driver Greg Fore tangled exiting turn two in an incident that cleared up without the use of the caution flag.
Merchant turned up the heat on Moore in the closing stages, making his winning move on the 48th lap and taking the checkered flag.
Notes: Merchant's Trak-Star Chassis has a Wall 2 Wall engine ans sponsorship from J.D. Caver, Bayou Fabricators, J&J Motorsports and Cypress Bend Apartments. ... Merchant reversed the order of a memorial SUPR event from July 19, 2008, when Moore won and Merchant rallied after causing a caution to finish second. ... Third-place finisher Chris Wall, who headed to Mississippi after rain spoiled his plans at the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Talladega (Ala.) Short Track, had brake problems in hot laps but made repairs. ... Kyle Cummings of Minden, La., dropped out of the second heat with mechanical problems, but the team fixed the car and he transferred through a consolation races; he rallied from 18th to finish eighth in the feature. ... SUPR points leader Allen Tippen of Minden was 16th. ... Doug Showah of Indianola, Miss., the Greenville Speedway Late Model points leader, was 12th in the main event. ... Drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Josh Danzy, Wayne Skinner, Chad Washington, Brock Williams. ... The checkered flag fell on the 20-minute main event at 11:13 p.m. ... Greenville is scheduled to host the Mississippi State Championship Challenge on June 20. ... Next up for O'Reilly SUPR competitors is June 19-20 action at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark.
O'Reilly SUPR @ Greenville: (1) Kenny Merchant, (2) Ray Moore, (3) Chris Wall, (4) Kevin Sitton, (5) Robbie Stuart, (6) Rob Litton, (7) Lee Davis, (8) Kyle Cummings, (9) Anthony Burroughs, (10) Jon Mitchell, (11) Ross Camponova, (12) Doug Showah, (13) Jeff Chanler, (14) Gary Christian, (15) Bo Gordon, (16) Allen Tippen, (17) Mark Tice, (18) Trey Williams, (19) Greg Fore, (20) Eric Neal, (21) Chris Holley, (22) Clay Fisher. Heat race winners (among 26 cars): Moore, Stuart, Merchant, Litton. Consolation winner: Mitchell. Provisional starters: Neal, T. Williams.