Texas Motor Speedway
Sullivan collects $3,500 for SUPR victory at TMS
By Bryan WimberleyDirtonDirt.com correspondent
FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 27) — In finishing first Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway's dirt track, Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., posted a couple of career firsts. The 34-year-old polesitter won his first-ever Late Model race in Texas and he captured his first-ever victory on the O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing tour. | Notebook | Slideshow | Video
Sullivan, the first-year house car driver for GRT Race Cars, led all 40 laps and outran Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., for a victory in the sixth annual Texas World Dirt Track Championship, but not without feeling the heat from the Hall of Famer the last 10 laps.
“I knew Billy was back there. I could smell him," Sullivan said. "I saw him a couple times and I could hear him. I kind of knew if I could slow down and just hit my marks an just get off the corner that he couldn't make a pass. I just didn't want to overshoot the corner and make a mistake. I didn't want to lose the race because of me."
The fourth-starting Moyer got alongside Sullivan a few times and tried many different lines to run him down on the 4/10-mile track, but fell short at the checkered flag by four lengths.
Ray Moore of Haughton, La., advanced 15 positions to finish third and 20th-starting Jason Hughes of Westville, Okla., a standout in modified racing, finished fourth. Another strong mover, Kyle Cummings of Sibley, La., cracked the top five from his 14th starting position.
Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., last year's SUPR winner at TMS, ended up eighth after taking a provisional start.
Sullivan was glad to be starting on the pole against a stiff field of a challengers for an event that drew 55 Late Models.
"Any time you have this type of competition, it is way easier to start in the front and let them figure out how to pass you, instead of you pass them," Sullivan said. "If you are going to win these races, you have to qualify or do it in the heats and it panned out tonight for us."
Not that it was easy with Moyer dogging him late in the race.
“That was some drama,” Sullivan said. "I just tried not to give him an easy way around. If he was going to get around he was going to have to run high. I wasn't going to let him get under me. I just told myself to breathe, keep cool and hit your marks."
At the outset, Sullivan battled early with Bubba Mullins of West Monroe, La., who made his return to SUPR action. Sullivan built a comfortable lead before a lap-four caution for debris, and Mullins was shuffled back to fourth on the restart by Moyer and Cummings when another yellow appeared on lap five.
Sullivan and Moyer edged away from the field on the restart, holding a five-second lead on the field before Chris Holley slowed in turn two for a lap-18 caution with Sullivan leading Moyer, Moore, Hughes and Cummings. After a final caution when Mullins got out of shape and made contact with Kenny Merchant entering turn three,
Over the final 10 laps, Moyer stayed right with Sullivan, looking for a way into the lead. After following Sullivan, Moyer tried the opposite of Sullivan's groove the final five laps with Moyer appearing faster in turns three and four while Sullivan held his own in turns one and two.
Moyer pulled within a car length on lap 37 in turn three, but Sullivan never faltered. Moyer lost ground when he hit a rough patch in turn three, breaking his momentum and allowing Sullivan to edge away for a .633-second victory.
Notes: Sullivan's GRT Race Car has a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsorship from AFCO Racing Radiators, Triple A Diesel Service, JFR Graphics, Xtreme Suspension Tech and All Star Performance. ... Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap. ... The checkered flag fell on the 25-minute feature at 11:51 p.m. ... Front-row starter Bubba Mullins suffered nosepiece damage in his tangle with Kenny Merchant but returned to the track, finishing 13 laps down in 17th. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: David Ashley, Kurt Kile, Rusty Cummings (father of fifth-place finisher Kyle Cummings), Tom Earl III, Kelly Boen, Jon Kirby, Chris Brown, Billy Moyer Jr. and Jason Ingalls. ... The event drew 301 race car among three classes (120 limited modifieds, 126 modifieds, 55 Late Models) and TMS announced the event would be pushed back a weekend in 2011 on March 4-5. ... Bobby Malchus of Red Oak, Texas, won the modified feature and Tim Clonch of Quinlan, Texas, won the limited modified feature. Malchus also competed in Late Model action but failed to make the feature. ... SUPR competitors returned to Texas Motor Speedway for the U.S. National Dirt Track Championship on Sept. 16-18. .... Next up for SUPR is a March 20 event at Champion Park Speedway in Minden, La. (Additional story info provided by J.M. Hallas)
SUPR @ Texas Motor Speedway: (1) Jack Sullivan, (2) Billy Moyer, (3) Ray Moore, (4) Jason Hughes, (5) Kyle Cummings, (6) Jeff Chanler, (7) Kevin Sitton, (8) Rob Litton, (9) Howard Willis, (10) Gary Christian, (11) Kenny Merchant, (12) Allen Tippen, (13) Robbie Stuart, (14) David Breazeale, (15) Jon Mitchell, (16) Josh Danzy, (17) Bubba Mullins, (18) Chris Holley, (19) Patrick Daniel, (20) Wendell Wallace, (21) Dewaine Hottinger, (22) Lee Davis. Heat race winners (among 55 cars): Tippen, Holley, Wallace, Merchant, Davis. Consolation winners: Willis, Moore. Provisional starters: Litton, Christian.