Baton Rouge Raceway
Wall grabs SUPR victory at Baton Rouge
By Bryan WimberleyDirtonDirt.com correspondent
BAKER, La. (April 18) — Chris Wall of Springfield, La., didn't disappoint Saturday in a rare return trip to his home track, rolling to a flag-to-flag victory on the O'Reilly Auto Parts Southern United Professional Racing tour. Wall pocketed $2,500 for the 50-lap victory at Baton Rouge Raceway, winning for his second straight visit to the quarter-mile oval — the last in April 2010. | SUPR notebook
Although Wall dominated most of the race, his victory over runner-up Chris Holley of Dayton, Texas, came in a seven-lap dash to the checkers that included an accident that occurred after the leader took the white flag. Holley had a final shot for a surprise victory on the final restart, but right-rear tire wear limited how far he could push his car at the finish.
Holley crossed the line second ahead of Kennith Crowe of Port Allen, Ala., while SUPR points leader Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, and Allen Tippen of Minden, La., rounded out the top five.
Wall took the point at the outset, leading Crowe, Holley, Tippen and Late Model rookie Steven Whiteaker Jr. and building a two-second advantage in front of a cheering hometown crowd. Showing muscle early, Wall powered to nearly a straightaway lead as he entered lapped traffic after eight laps.
Drivers spread out on lap 10, trying to find their best racing lines. Crowe made up some ground on Wall, as Wall battled in the low groove through traffic. Once Wall negotiated traffic, it was right back to a commanding lead at lap 18.
Things heated up behind the leaders as Tippen and Bagley battled for fourth on lap 20. The first yellow flew on lap 21 when Nicholas Brown of Hodge, La., slowed.
Wall edged away on the restart and held a straightaway lead on Holley at the halfway mark. The second caution appeared when Whiteaker spun in turn two on lap 32.
Wall resumed his lead on the restart while Bagley challenge Crowe for third. Marlon Wild of Springfield, La., was on the move into sixth and reigning series champion Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., had cracked the top 10, recovering from his pre-race penalty of starting near the tail.
With 10 laps remaining, Wall was on cruise control with a five-second lead, but Whiteaker's turn-four spin brought out a lap-43 yellow.
With tire wear an issue as many frontrunners had low or flattened tires, Wall edged away again on the restart and had a comfortable lead at the white flag. But exiting turn four coming to the white, Wild spun in front of Litton to trigger a final yellow that flew along with the checkers.
Tempers briefly flared between Wild and Litton as Wild's No. 48 sat near the bottom of turn four. Officials were quickly on the scene to defuse the situation as the crowd stood and applauded Wall's return and victory.
Notes: Wall's MasterSbilt Race Car is powered by Wall 2 Wall Performance Engines and sponsored by Appliance Zone.com, C&M Gator Farm, Gator Trax Boats, X-Treme Graphics, Stuckey Enterprises Racing and Lucas Oil. ... The victory was Wall's 12th in the series, elevating him into the top 10 on the all-time SUPR win list. ... The victory was also Wall's fifth in the series at Baton Rouge Raceway, placing him only behind David Ashley, Ronnie Poche, Doug Ingalls and Kenny Merchant. ... The green flag dropped on the feature at 11:15 p.m.; the race was slowed by four cautions and 10 drivers finished on the lead lap. ... Rob Litton started 17th and rallied to finish sixth; he was scheduled to start seventh but was penalized for arriving late to the starting grid. Kevin Sitton and Robbie Stuart were penalized likewise. ... Morgan Bagley increased his SUPR points lead by 27 over Timothy Culp. ... Culp recovered from a heat race accident to finish ninth in the main event. In his prelim, Culp's car was T-boned after spinning in turn two and suffered mostly sheetmetal damage. .... Allen Tippen's top-five run came just four days after becoming a father for the fourth time. Tippen and girlfriend Jennifer Clements had an 8-pound, 15-ounce girl — Cammie Lynne. ... Modified ace Steven Whiteaker Jr. of Corpus Christi, Texas, made his Late Model debut, driving a Gary Rollo-owned No. 17 car. He dropped out after a lap-43 caution. Whiteaker was a modified winner last fall on the undercard of SUPR's event at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. ... The seven-division program drew 85 race cars overall. ... After taking Easter weekend off, SUPR competitors return to action with an April 29-30 doubleheader at USA Speedway in Sterlington, La., and I-30 Speedway near Little Rock, Ark.
SUPR @ Baton Rouge: (1) Chris Wall, (2) Chris Holley, (3) Kennith Crowe, (4) Morgan Bagley, (5) Allen Tippen, (6) Rob Litton, (7) Robbie Starnes, (8) Donald Watson, (9) Timothy Culp, (10) Marlon Wild, (11) Kevin Sitton, (12) Jason Polite, (13) Steven Whiteaker Jr, (14) Kevin Watts, (15) Robbie Stuart, (16) Joey Credidio, (17) Eric Neal, (18) Corie Herberger, (19) Nicholas Brown, (20) Derek Perkins. Heat race winners (among 20 cars): Crowe, Wall, Holley.
Correction: Fixes that race ended with simultaneous yellow and checkered flags.