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NGK Spark Plug Shoot-out@ TMS Dirt Track

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Since someone prematurely............never mind. I guess I'll post this in this section :


NGK Spark Plug Shoot-Out @ Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track 4/16/05

By J M Hallas


Fort Worth, Tx., In a change from past years, Texas Motor Speedway’s 4/10 dirt track hosted the SUPR Late Models during NASCAR weekend. Sixty-four drivers, from nine states signed in the chance at the $10,000 first place prize in the 50 lap A-main event. Numerous past SUPR Champions, this years points leader David Ashley, and NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, Kenny Schrader headlined the field of cars, with drivers from as far away as California vying for the 22 starting spots.



It would be easy to jump right in start right in with the recap from the A-main, but the eventual took a side trip enroute to making the field. Former SUPR Champion, Kenny Merchant had trouble getting hooked up in the heat, and found himself on the outside looking in, after the top twelve in the nights passing points filled the top half of the field.


Merchant found himself relegated the first Last Chance Qualifier, along with last years SUPR Champion, Rob Litton and current points leader, David Ashley setting up a race that would look more like a feature, with all the talent running for only two transfer spots.


Merchant jumped out quickly as the green flew on the 15 lap event. Ashley tried to dive inside Duke Whiseant, but lost ground falling to fourth after getting passed by Eric Johnson. Kyle Taylor brought out the yellow on lap 3 when he got into the back stretch wall. Ashley picked up a big push on the restart, allowing Litton to move into the fourth spot, as Merchant began to check out.


Johnson brought the caution out again quickly, when he spun on lap 4. Back under green, Merchant was still on his mission, while Litton was trying to make headway. Litton, looked inside Whiseant in turns 1-2 and completed the pass for second on lap 6.


At halfway the top five were Merchant, Litton, Whiseant, Bubba Mullins and Ashley in the top 5. Patrick Daniel moved into the top five when Whiseant pulled off on the same lap. Mullins chances to make the transfer ended on lap 10 as he broke and rolled to a stop.


On the restart, Ashley and Litton were door to door for second, but Ashley slid high letting Daniel get by for third. As the white flag waved, Merchant and Litton had built a good lead as the cruised on the checkers and pick up their spots in the A-main.


First Last Chance (15 laps): 1. Merchant, 2. Litton, 3. Daniel, 4. Ashley, 5. E. Johnson, 6. Ewell, 7. Goodwin, 8. Mullins, 9. Whiseant, 10. K. Taylor, 11. Horn.



The second LCQ saw Charles Randolph II get the early lead, but was being pressured by Robbie Starnes. The duo began to inch away from the four car fight between Lee Davis, Jim Bryant, Ray Moore and Ken Schrader. Jon Wallace brought out the yellow hankie when he stopped along the back stretch.


Randolph, Starnes and Davis got away on the restart, while Schrader worked into fourth passing Bryant on lap 4. The caution was back out on lap 5 for a spin by Mike Rucker. Starnes took a shot on the low side as green came back out, but fell back in line. At the mid point it was Randolph, Starnes, Davis, Schrader and Bryant in the front five spots.


Starnes continued to try to get down in the corners but was unable to get fully underneath Randolph. Even as the lead duet battled, they were able to put distance on Davis who had a gap back to Schrader in fourth. Davis found a different line in the final laps and was reeling in the leaders as the white flag was shown, but never able to mount a serious challenge as Randolph and Starnes moved on to the A-main.


Second Last Chance (15 laps): 1. Randolph, 2. Starnes, 3. Davis, 4. Schrader, 5. Bryant, 6. Lorenz, 7. Moore, 8. Halpin-Smith, 9. Mahan, 10. J. Wallace, 11. Russell, 12. Rucker


LCQ #3 had Jason Ingalls grab the lead early, pressured by Gary Stolba. J. Ingalls then began to creep ahead of Stolba, Kenneth Crowe and Trey Beene. Caution came out on lap 5 when John Sliney spun due to a flat left rear tire. Crowe slid high on the restart and fell back as Stolba began to put the heat on J. Ingalls.


Coming to the crossed flags, Stolba got inside J. Ingalls coming out of turn 2 and beat the young Ingalls to the line, followed by Beene, Chad Broach and Crowe. Crowe worked back around Broach for fourth. Stolba was first across the finish line for the win, and J. Ingalls got the other transfer.


Third Last Chance (10 laps): 1. Stolba, 2. J. Ingalls, 3. Beene, 4. Crowe, 5. B. Williams, 6. Broach, 7. Stuart, 8. Watson, 9. Grubbs, 10. Cooper, 11. Sliney, 12. Blair.


The final LCQ saw veteran, Donald Watson get sideways on green and stack up the field. The next attempt was just rolling when Mike Brown brought his ride to a halt on track. The third attempt, wasn’t a charm, as Michael Coleman and Stacy Veuleman spun and collected Rusty Cummings. Finally the race got under way with Jeff Chandler getting the point, but Shawn Brassfield and Jerry Bell got together and shed a few body parts on the track.


The race was shortened to 12 laps and restarted single file giving Brown the lead and Jon Mitchell getting past Chandler for second. Coleman and Chandler were side by side for third on lap 3 when Mitchell slid high giving them the chance to catch up in the scrap for the final transfer spot.


At halfway it was Brown, Mitchell, Chandler, Randy Timms and Jody Prince rounding out the top five. Brown and Mitchell then started to run door to door for the lead on lap 7, and were still side by side on lap 8 when Timms added to the scorers nightmare, putting himself in third as three cars numbered with 5's ran in the top spots.


Mitchell wrestled the point away from Brown on lap 9, while Cummings charged his way to third passing Timms on lap 10. Coleman spun on the final lap, but it was Cummings still on the move as he snagged the last transfer spot from Brown on the last lap, while Mitchell was taking the checkers.


Fourth Last Chance (12 laps): 1. J. Mitchell, 2. Cummings, 3. Brown, 4. Chandler, 5. Prince, 6. Brassfield, 7. Veuleman, 8. Mitchum, 9. Coleman, 10. Bell, 11. Ambern, 12. Couch, 13. Hottinger.


Merchant Masters Shoot-out for 10K Payday


The 50 lap SUPR A-main was led to green by Wendall Wallace and Ronnie Adams, with Ashley and Moore getting last row provisionals. Before the green flag even waved, Cummings had something break putting him on the trailer early. Neither Tippen or Davis were able to make the call as alternates, so only 21 cars took the green.


Wallace was first into turn 1, with a three wide battle for second, and four abreast in the pack. March’s Texas World Dirt Track Championship, Saturday night winner, Kelly Boen did a half spin and nearly got tagged as the pack scattered on lap 1. Jeff Taylor got by Adams for second, but the man on the move was Merchant, as he snared fourth on lap 3 from his thirteenth starting spot.


The yellow waved on that lap for a spin by Garrett Durrett who had a flat right rear. Merchant used the restart to take over third from Adams, while K. Taylor was turning up the heat on Wallace. Keith Craft and Adams ran side by side for fourth on lap 5. J. Ingalls, using what he learned from his Last Chance race, was also on a tear after starting nineteenth when he moved into fifth.


Craft cleared Adams on lap 7 for the position as they ran three wide for seventh. It was then three wide for the lead as Merchant caught Wallace and J. Taylor on lap 10. Merchant and J. Taylor were still side by side on lap 11, as J. Ingalls grabbed fourth, and Boen worked his way back into the top ten. Merchant then got along side Wallace and took over the top spot on lap 13.


Merchant quickly got away from the pack, but was into heavy traffic on lap 15 going three waide through lap cars. Wallace slid up in lap traffic and knocked the nose off his ride and slowed on the track. To bring out a yellow. Merchant got a great restart as he used lap cars as his buffer. Taylor finally broke clear of traffic on lap 20, while J. Ingalls was still hung up.


Just before the crossed flags were shown, Starnes, Boen and Ashley raced three wide for sixth. At the mid point Merchant held nearly a full straightaway lead over J. Taylor, J. Ingalls, Craft and Adams, followed by Ashley and Boen who both came from the back. Adams got past Craft on lap 28, trailed by Ashley on lap 29, leaving Craft and Boen door to door for sixth.


Merchant was back into heavy lap traffic on lap 32, as Boen got back by Ashley, this time for fifth. Craft, who had been fading brought out a yellow on lap 33 as he rolled to a stop with a flat. Merchant again got off to good lead on the restart, while Boen tried to get by Adams. This gave Ashley the chance to get inside Boen.


Merchant was motoring away from J. Taylor on lap 35, who had a five car gap back to J. Ingalls. Boen, who held off Ashley again gave Adams a challenge finally making the pass stick on lap 37. The lurking Ashley then crept in on Adams, looking low on lap 39. With ten to go, Merchant had rebuilt his margin to a full straight over J. Taylor and J. Ingalls, who started to pressure J. Taylor on lap 42.


Merchant lost his huge advantage on lap 43 when Drake rolled to a stop with a flat. The top three were nose to tail as the green waved again. J. Taylor took a shot at Merchant on the high side, giving J. Ingalls a hole on the bottom. J. Ingalls dove inside and took over second on lap 44, while Boen was trying the high groove.


Merchant started to inch away from J. Ingalls with five laps remaining, as Boen was still trying to get by J. Taylor, using the high side in turns 1-2 and low through 3-4. As the white flag waved, Merchant was cruising away from J. Ingalls, and the war raged on between J. Taylor and Boen. As the checkers flew it was Merchant taking the win in his JD Carver/Cliburn Trucking, Ford powered, Masterbilt Chassis.


“I want to thank Texas Motor Speedway for putting on a race like this,” Merchant said about the richest race in O’Reilly SUPR Late Model Series’ 16-year history. “I love racing at the Dirt Track. We have run well before here, just never made it to Victory Lane. We even use NGK spark plugs in our car!”


SUPR Feature (50 laps):

Pos/Car #/Driver/Start/Hometown/Payout

1. C28 Kenny Merchant, (13) W. Monroe, LA, $10,000;

2. 12 Jason Ingalls, (19) Longview, TX, $5,000;

3. 5T Jeff Taylor, (4) Cave City, AR, $3,500;

4. 07 Kelly Boen, (6) Henderson, CO, $2,750;

5. 14 David Ashley, (21) Zachary, LA, $2,500;

6. 1A Ronny Adams, (2) Greenwood, LA, $2,250;

7. 4B Robbie Starnes, (18) Baytown, TX, $2,000;

8. 75 Patrick Daniel, (11) Wills Points, LA, $1,750;

9. 66 Bill Frye, (8) Greenbrier, AR, $1,500;

10. 93 Ray Moore, (20) Shreveport, LA, $1,250;

11. 33 Gary Stolba, (15) Willow Springs, MO, $1,000;

12. 8c Keith Craft, (9) Arkadelphia, AR, $900;

13. 6x Rob Litton, (17) Alexandria, LA, $800;

14. 87 Tim Crawley, (5) Mabelville, AR, $700;

15. 88 Wendall Wallace, (1) Batesville, AR, $700;

16. 5 Jon Mitchell, (16) Greenbrier, AR, $700;

17. 11x Steve Drake, (12) San Luis Obispo, CA, $700;

18. 9R Charles Randolph II, (14) Muskogee, OK, $700;

19. 28 Doug Ingalls, (10) Longview, TX, $700;

20. 8 Skip O’Neal, (3) Red Oak, TX, $700;

21. 58c Garrett Durrett, (7) Simsboro, LA, $700.

B1 Rusty Cummings—DNS


Lap Leaders: 1-12 Wallace, 13-50 Merchant.


First Heat (10 laps): 1. Jeff Taylor, Cave City, AR; 2. Steve Drake, San Luis Obispo, CA; 3. Doug Ingalls, Longview, TX; 4. Duke Whiseant, Texarkana, TX; 5. Randy Timms, Oklahoma City, OK 6. Robbie Stuart, DeRidder, LA; 7. Dewaine Hottinger, Russellville, AR; 8. Jack Ambern, Arp, TX; 9. Jerry Bell, Rowlett, TX; 10. Donald Watson, Baton Rouge, LA; 11. Kyle Taylor, Longview, AR.


Second Heat (10 laps): 1. Kelly Boen, Henderson, CO; 2. Jason Ingalls, Longview, TX; 3. Robbie Starnes, Baytown, TX; 4. Jon Mitchell, Greenbrier, AR; 5. Gary Stolba, Willow Springs, MO; 6. Stacy Veuleman, Zwolle, LA; 7. Jay Blair, Angie, LA; 8. Phillip Cooper, Lafayette, LA; 9. Michael Grubbs, Plano, TX; 10. Rusty Cummings, Minden, LA; 11. Tom Lorenz, Balch Springs, TX.


Third Heat (10 laps): 1. Garrett Durrett, Simsboro, LA; 2. Wendall Wallace, Batesville, AR; 3. Shawn Brassfield, Ada, OK; 4. Trey Beene, Bossier City, LA; 5. Randy Timms, Oklahoma City, OK; 6. Jody Prince, Sibley, LA; 7. Danny Mahan, Vidor, TX; 8. Bob Ewell, Forney, TX; 9. Jimmy Goodwin, Rowlett, TX; 10. Allen Tippen, Minden, LA; 11. Raymond Merrill, Sallisaw, OK.


Fourth Heat (10 laps): 1. Bill Frye, Greenbrier, AR; 2. Skip O’Neal, Red Oak, TX; 3. Ronnie Adams, Greenwood, LA; 4. Jim Bryant, Natechitoches, LA; 5. Bubba Mullins, W. Monroe, LA; 6. Rob Litton, Alexandria, LA; 7. Jimmy Gaylor, Luthersville, GA; 8. Delbert Smith, Wichita, KS; 9. Jerry Horn, Athens, TX; 10. Jon Wallace, Weatherford, TX; 11. Brad Couch, Bossier City, LA.


Fifth Heat (10 laps): 1. Keith Craft, Arkadelphia, AR; 2. Tim Crawley, Mabelville, AR; 3. Charles Randolph II, Muskogee, OK; 4. Kenny Merchant, W. Monroe, LA; 5. Ray Moore, Shreveport, LA; 6. Eric Johnson, Watsonville, CA; 7. Elizabeth Harpin-Smith, French Settlement, TX; 8. Chad Broach, Broken Bow, OK; 9. Jerry Russell, Shreveport, LA; 10. John Sliney, Colleyville, TX.


Sixth Heat (10 laps): 1. Patrick Daniel, Wills Points, LA; 2. Jeff Chandler, Minden, LA; 3. David Ashley, Zachary, LA; 4. Lee Davis, Greenwood, LA; 5. Kenneth Crowe, Port Allen, LA; 6. Brock Williams, Leesville, LA; 7. Ken Schrader, Fenton, MO; 8. Michael Coleman, Tyler, TX; 9. Mike Rucker, Wichita Falls, TX; 10. Kenneth Mitchum, Strong, AR.

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