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Blair Sweeps Arkansas Weekend


Murfreesboro, AR (September 8, 2001) – Kenny Merchant dominated the competition but a post race inspection handed the victory over to Jay Blair. Merchant was disqualified for an illegal head and was denied his second straight victory on the racy South West Arkansas Super Speedway in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The win for Blair, his second in as many nights and his 4th this year, places him closer to his second consecutive O’Reilly SUPR Late Model Championship. Just as last night in Texarkana, Ryan Plaisance posted a close second to Blair. Scott Slay, Dave Siegert and Jon Mitchell rounded out the top 5.

Blair’s victory now stretches his lead in the 2001 O’Reilly SUPR Championship standings to 185 points over David Ashley, who again struggled tonight, finishing in 14th place finish with a wounded motor. Blair admits to feeling more confident that he can repeat his 2000 O’Reilly SUPR Championship. "We’re feeling a lot better after tonight, David had a lot of bad luck this weekend and it helped us out in the points a lot." If Blair can maintain his lead over the 6 remaining races he would become just the first driver in the 12-year history of the SUPR Series that a driver has defended his championship.

Blair once again relied on the first GRT that he purchased when he moved to the SUPR ranks in 1998. Dubbed "Hogan’s Goat", the car continually performs for Blair, who has now recorded 3 wins in the last four races in his Creel Brothers/Nature Gardens/PDI/All Star Graphics GRT powered by a Wall2Wall Racing Engine.

The event was cut to 40-laps as the skies were awash with lightning but the weather held off long enough for the feature to be run. Following the original start in which Dennis Duncan spun as he hung his right rear of the backstretch exiting turn 2. On the restart, Merchant got the jump on GRT Top Qualifier Ryan Plaisance and quickly established the pace up front. Blair joined Merchant in squeezing past Plaisance to grab second on lap 2. The second of 3 cautions waved on lap 10 as Brady Adams spun while running 6th. When the field got back underway, Merchant again began to ease away from Blair and Plaisance with Scott Slay and Donald Watson rounding out the top 5 at this point. The top 5 stayed in that order until lap 26 when the final caution waved as Shane Harris slowed with motor damage ending his night.

Merchant once again pulled away from Blair and Plaisance, who continued to wage a battle for the lead that saw Plaisance pull even with Blair in the final stages of the race but Plaisance elected to save the battle or another day as he was unable to make a clean pass and settled for an apparent third place finish. Dave Siegert moved by Donald Watson on lap 29 as Watson fought a deflating left front tire. Jon Mitchell also passed Watson for 5th but Watson managed to record a solid 6th place finish ahead of Rob Litton, Keith Craft, Dennis Duncan and Odie Green. Jon Mitchell once again showed his ability to work the outside of the fast track as he stormed from 21st to 5th with very few cautions to aid his charge.

24 Late Models on hand. Ryan Plaisance topped the first heat race with
Kenny Merchant, Jay Blair and Scott Slay claiming the remaining heat
races. Raymond Merrill, who made the haul from Oklahoma following a
rain out at Salina, topped the Last Chance race to complete the field.

Official Results:
1. Jay Blair
2. Ryan Plaisance
3. Scott Slay
4. Dave Siegert
5. Jon Mitchell
6. Donald Watson
7. Rob Litton
8. Keith Craft
9. Dennis Duncan
10. Odie Green
11. Brady Adams
12. Butch Patton
13. Troy Withers
14. David Ashley
15. Raymond Merrill
16. Shane Harris
17. Brandon Ellison
18. David Yarbrough
19. Eric Conner
20. Cody Chisolm
21. Kenny Merchant

O’Reilly SUPR Points as of September 8, 2001:
1. Jay Blair 2612
2. David Ashley 2427
3. Dennis Duncan 2359
4. Odie Green 2287
5. Dave Siegert 2278
6. Ryan Plaisance 1933
7. Bill Avant 1806
8. Rob Litton 1735
9. Kenny Merchant 1686
10. Jon Mitchell 1497
11. Marlon Wild 1488
12. Terry Henson 1306
13. Lee Davis 1243
14. Donald Watson 1177
15. Bubba Mullins 870

For further information regarding the 2001 O’Reilly SUPR Series contact Greg Holmes at 225-275-5040 or e-mail us at gholmes@suprracing.com.

 

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