Merchant claims series high fifth win at Baton
BATON ROUGE, La. (Oct. 19, 2001) - Kenny Merchant claimed a series
high 5th victory of the year on the opening night of the O'Reilly Auto
Parts/Budweiser Louisiana State Championships Baton Rouge Raceway.
Kenny Merchant started on the pole after an impressive 5th to 1st
place run in the 5th heat earned Merchant the Top Qualifier award and
the pole for the feature. Merchant seized the point from the start and
held the point throughout the race that was slowed by 3 early
cautions on laps 5 and 7. Merchant's J.D. Caver/J&J Motorsports Ford
Mustang Rocket powered by a Kuntz and Company Racing Engine led a
Rocket Chassis sweep of the first three finishing positions as he held
off Dave Siegert and Chris Walls.
Afterward Merchant felt that the heat race win set the stage for the
win. "We got a break in the heat race and dodged all the wrecks
there. We had a good run and it puts us on the front row. We got the
jump on the start and the car was pretty good."
Diamond Dave Siegert made it an all Monroe Mafia front row and he
dropped in right behind Merchant from the start and stayed there
throughout the feature to record a solid finish. But despite his best
efforts, Siegert was unable to find a chance to make a pass on
Merchant in his Barthold Tire backed PTS-powered Chevy Monte Carlo
Rocket. Gesturing to Merchant, Siegert chimed, "If I can stay on the
straightaway as that bad boy right there then it was a good night. All
I could wait for was lapped traffic or have him make a mistake and
that don't happen with Kenny."
Chris Wall started 6th and grabbed 4th on the start of the 25-lap
feature. He moved by Sam Patrick on lap 2 to grab third and he stayed
right on the rear of Siegert as they tried to keep pace with Merchant.
Wall kept the pressure on Siegert but was unable to make the pass.
Still, Wall's performance vaulted him into the Top 20 in the 2001
O'Reilly SUPR Championship standings.
2001 Baton Rouge Raceway track champion Sam Patrick held on to 4th
place finish ahead of Marlon Wild, Dennis Duncan, Randy Blanchard,
Ronny Adams, Jay Blair and Lee Davis.
Blair's 9th place finish wrapped up the 2001 O'Reilly SUPR
Championship. Blair becomes the first driver to repeat as Champion in
the 12-year history of the series.
42 O'Reilly SUPR Late Models were on hand. Chris Wall, Dave
Burkhalter, Dave Siegert, Dennis Duncan, Kenny Merchant and Sam
Patrick claimed the heat races. Davin Bates and Ryan Plaisance topped
the 2 Last Chance races to round out the field. Odie Green started on
the rear and passed 9 cars to claim the Lloyd Wild Jr. Logging Hard
1. Kenny Merchant
2. Dave Siegert
3. Chris Wall
4. Sam Patrick
5. Marlon Wild
6. Dennis Duncan
7. Randy Blanchard
8. Ronny Adams
9. Jay Blair
10. Lee Davis
11. Curt Lipsey
12. Ryan Plaisance
13. Odie Green
14. David Ashley
15. Tommy Surret
16. Davin Bates
17. Michael Sibley
18. Kennith Crowe
19. Dave Burkhalter
20. Eric Courville
21. Phil Cooper
22. Kevin Watts
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