Merchant spoons Gumbo win after Moore's demise
GREENVILLE, Miss. (Nov. 5-6) — Fourth-starting Kenny Merchant of West Monroe, La., raced to a $5,000 victory Saturday, capturing the fourth annual Gumbo Nationals on a chilly night at Greenville Speedway. Merchant held off a late charge by 17th-starting Dane Dacus of Lakeland, Tenn., for the victory in the unsanctioned event. | Slideshow
Last year's winner Ray Moore of Haughton, La., jumped into the early lead from outside the front row, but his race ended amid lapped traffic after eight laps when he ran into the rear of a slowing Stormy Derryberry, damaging his car's radiator and front end.
That left Merchant and polesitter Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., to duel for the lead, and Merchant took command and pulled away before Dacus flew toward the front, challenging Merchant in the high groove before falling short in the 40-lap feature.
Dacus settled for second with Sullivan third in his first trip to the Mississippi Delta oval. B.J. Robinson of Blanchard, La., was fourth in a Children Racing entry while 15th-starting Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., rounded out the top five in his Greenville debut. Moore was listed 20th in the 21-car rundown.
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, Cypress Bend Apartments, Bayou Fabricators, Henry's Auto Salvage and X-Treme Graphics. ... Merchant recorded his second straight victory; he won eight days early in the O'Reilly SUPR competition at Jones Motor Speedway in Chatham, La., outrunning Ray Moore. ... Heavy midweek rain left poor track conditions for Friday's action, but officials opted to run only time trials for the Super Late Models, setting up the lineup for Saturday's main event, when track conditions were better. ... Justin McRee of Woodstock, Ala., who finished 15th in the Super Late Model feature, rallied from 11th to win the Crate Late Model feature. ... Kyle Beard scratched from Saturday's action because of mechanical difficulties on Friday night. ... Temperatures dipped into the 30s both nights on a chilly Mississippi weekend. ... The six-division event drew more than 100 race cars overall, including 22 Super Late Models and 23 Crate Late Models. ... Bub McCool won the 2007 version of the event and Kyle Cummings won in '08.
Gumbo Nationals: (1) Kenny Merchant, (2) Dane Dacus, (3) Jack Sullivan, (4) B.J. Robinson, (5) Jesse Stovall, (6) Allen Tippen, (7) Bo Gordon, (8) Jon Mitchell, (9) Greg Fore, (10) Anthony Burroughs, (11) Josh Danzy, (12) Johnny Stokes, (13) Chad Washington, (14) Clay Fisher, (15) Justin McRee, (16) Greg Dreher, (17) Joseph Long, (18) Neil Baggett, (19) Hunter Carroll, (20) Ray Moore, (21) Stormy Derryberry. Scratched: Kyle Beard. Fast qualifier (among 22 cars): Sullivan, 14.256 seconds.