latemodelamerica.com - Aug. 27 - Battleground Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

SUPR Salute

SUPR: Litton Turns Luck Around With Battleground Win

Bryan Wimberley
 
HIGHLANDS, Tex. - Aug. 27. Ending his season's struggle, Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., captured a $2,500 victory in the O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing series' return to Battleground Speedway on Saturday. Sixth-starting Litton led the final 33 laps en route to a five-second win over Ronny Adams of Diana, Texas, marking the series first race in over 13 years at the 3/8-mile oval.
 
Litton had carburetor issues throughout the 50-lap feature and still powered away in the late stages of the race to grab the victory. It was his first series win in 23 events, dating back to last season's Floyd Clausen Louisiana State Championship at Baton Rouge Raceway in October.
 
Rob Litton at Battleground Speedway
Rob Litton tackled the fast, black gumbo at the Houston area Battleground Speedway Saturday and came home with his first SUPR Series win of the season. (Ron Skinner)
  
"This place reminds me of Houston Raceway Park, Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, those type places where we have had a lot of success. So we decided to come on our same type program that we run at those tracks and it worked for us. We felt like we had a good car in the heat race, even though we ran fourth and started ninth. It showed in the feature, I am not sure how long it took us to get into the lead, but it seemed like about 15 laps. The car was strong, but the carburetor was acting up a little bit and I was worried someone was going to catch us, but I was getting told that we had a pretty good advantage. We was having carburetor problems theough the whole feature and we almost actually spun out a couple times because it died, then when it would pick back up, it broke the tires loose. I quit matting the throttle and then it pushed out a few times, because it was stumbling and dying so bad. We will get that ironed out and hopefully be a lot better next weekend," Litton said.
 
Third-starting Ronny Adams led the first 17 laps, but later settled for second.

Robbie Stuart and Chris Holley at Battleground Speedway

DeRidder, La. driver Robbie Stuart battles local ace Chris Holley at Battleground. (Ron Skinner)

Front-row starter, Doug Begnaud of Cypress, Tex., nailed down his best series run of the year to finish in third-place, before hopping aboard a plane and flying to Ecuador on business.
 
"We were tight in the hot laps, because it was so greasy. We made one little bar change for the heat race, the car was real fast, you really had to keep the car bent pretty good to keep it turning and on the gas hard. It really likes to work and that is the way the car drives the best. After the heat, we left it alone outside of putting a right front tire on it. I felt it would be better to steer it than anything else and it did, I could turn it wherever I wanted too, so that made all the difference in the world," said Begnaud.
 
"It feels great! One thing that's nice is not having to travel too far from home and that is rare for me if I want to race anywhere. Running up where we did was good, but we was hoping to do better. We went all the way back to seventh and then back up to third. We got kind of banged around on those restarts, it was a little push-fest going on out there. The holes were a half-car wide and they would put them through there, so we had to do the same to get back to the front a little bit. It all worked out pretty good, just a little wrinkled up sheetmetal, nothing major.
 
Lee Davis and Doug Begnaud at Battleground Speedway

SUPR points leader Morgan Bagley chases Allen Tippen, who followed up last week's win with a fourth place at Battleground. (Ron Skinner)

The car was real, real good! Trying to pick out the right lines to run was tough. If I did get it around there real good, then it would tow the left front over the top of the infield tires, but if I didn't do it right, then it would go straight for them. We would just have to back off a little bit and see what we could get out of it. Luckily the race wasn't 51 laps, because we broke a brake line coming to the checkered flags, going into turn three. We were about to go backwards in a hurry! We were real fortunate there," stated third-place Begnaud.
 
Allen Tippen of Minden, La., took home fourth, while impressive rookie, Morgan Bagley of Longview, rounded out the top five.
 
At the drop of the green flag, Adams, Begnaud and Robbie Stuart all battled down the backstretch of the wide, 3/8-mile oval. Adams would lead lap one over Stuart, Timothy Culp, Doug Begnaud and Rob Litton.
 
Litton's climb to the front would continue, as he made his way around Culp and Begnaud, putting him in third position, just four laps into the feature. Two laps later, Litton took over second from Stuart, but trailed leader Ronny Adams by two seconds.
 
Lee Davis and Doug Begnaud at Battleground Speedway

Greenwood, La. driver Lee Davis and Doug Begnaud, who raced to an impressive third place at the southeast Texas race track. (Ron Skinner)

Adams paced the field and reached traffic on lap 11, but his advantage would be erased when the first yellow waved three laps later. A right rear flat for Robbie Starnes of Baytown, Tex., halted his progress, while he ran sixth in the order. Starnes would continue on, but a broken shock would later claim the Texan veteran, relegating him to a 14th-place finish.
 
On the restart, Stuart edged Begnaud to re-claim third, before another quick caution appeared. With Adams still in control from the outset, Stuart hit the cushion on lap 17 to challenge the low-riding Litton for second. Litton not only fought off Stuart's move, but on the next circuit, the 2010 series champion, took over the race lead from Adams.
 
Chris Holley of Dayton, Tex., shuffled up the order and broke into the top five, racing Stuart and Adams along the way. Enjoying a rare hometrack event, Holley's forward momentum from the eighth-row, had his newly wrapped No. 28 marching to the front.
 
Ronny Adams and Rob Litton at Battleground Speedway

Rob Litton and Ronny Adams fight for the lead at Battleground. Adams picked up the second spot at the finish. (Ron Skinner)

 Adams was able to lock down second from Stuart, just before a third caution appeared. The yellow was for Zach McMillan of Gladewater, Tex., spinning just in front of leader Rob Litton, missing him by mere feet out of turn four.
 
The race would see another caution on lap 29, but not before Holley was able to squeeze into second over Stuart and Adams. On the restart, those drivers would take it three-wide to try to settle the score, but Begnaud would re-enter the picture to stake his claim as well.
 
Begnaud reached third as Stuart began to fade from the frontrunners, back to fifth. Stuart solid night would be capped off by disappointment, due to a faulty wheel bearing. Stuart's crew had concluded a long day, which put him at the track late, because the team had made a spec engine change at 1 pm that afternoon -Stuart finished 11th.
 
As Litton began to get away, the battle that raged on behind him became more intense. Although nearly three-seconds back, Adams, Begnaud, Holley and points frontman, Morgan Bagley, were wishing for one more caution to have a shot at Litton.
 
Not only would that shot never come, but Litton would solidify the point by expanding his lead even more. With ten to go, the front of the field began to spread out a little. While running as high as sixth, Patrik Daniel of Wills Point, Tex., ran out of fuel with the laps trickling down -Daniel finished 12th.
 
Second-row starter Allen Tippen, took a late charge around Bagley for fourth, with under five laps to go. Litton found his groove late and nobody had anything for him as the race wore on. Even though the two-time series titlist had the field covered near the end, racing amid the top five changed hands many times.
 
Litton seized the victory in imposing fashion, as Adams subdued Begnaud at the checkers for second.
 
"It has been 13 years for me at this place and to be honest, I had forgotten what it looked like. When we got here and I looked at it, I said 'Oh no!' and then I changed everything on the car. I changed shocks, springs, bar angles, everything that I could think of and still in the heat race, we wasn't free enough and I had a bad throttle push. We freed it up some more and then the track changed in the feature after I ran about ten laps out front, then we had it too free then. When you are in the feature like that and that happens, you just have to figure out how to drive it and keep the car under you.
We was leading and I thought I had a good line, the car was going really good. Later we started having those restarts, then you could tell the car was getting much too free. Some of these slicks spots on the black dirt is hard to see, usually you can tell by the shine of the racetrack, but the slick spots was in between the tacky spots, so they were real narrow and you couldn't pick that shine up. The only way you found it was when you hit them. When that happened, I let the car get out from under me and Rob (Litton) got by me, (Chris) Holley got by me and (Robbie) Stuart got by me. I believe at one time I was fourth and almost in fifth. I finally figured out, if I could get down on that bottom and really hug it, which hardly anybody could, then my car was okay. I decided to do that and finish out the race down there and was able to drive back to second to get some of those positions back that we had lost," said runner-up Ronny Adams.
 
Notes: Litton's Rocket Race Car is powered by Wall 2 Wall Performance Engines and sponsored by LMS Truck Center, Litton Motorsports, Larry Grayson & Son Trucking, TWM Racing Products, Stuckey Enterprises Racing and Erb Racing.
 
Litton ranks sixth all-time on SUPR's win list, behind Kenny Merchant, Doug Ingalls, David Ashley, Ronny Adams and Ronnie Poche, with his 24th victory. 

Rob Litton VL at Battleground Speedway

Rob and Mrs. Litton at Battleground Speedway. (Ron Skinner)

"It has definitely been a down year for us and part of it has been our own fault. We have been trying some things and because last year when we was points racing, we couldn't afford to try things. So some of it is because we have done it to ourselve, but some has been because of wrecks, different problems, parts failure and stuff like that. Hopefully, just hopefully, we are on the upswing of things to turn it around again," said Litton.
 
Litton added, "It costs so much to chase this whole series and we race this team on our own, so we will probably pick-and-choose what we are going to do for next season and what is closer to us. I think SUPR has got a great deal, we just can always go everywhere. If you start running consistent then it is easier to follow a series, but with the year we have had this season, we should be staying at the house. The car has been good all year, we have just had bad finishes of no luck. It seems like the car is strong every weekend, but we have very few finishes to show for it."
 
The 25-minute feature that ended at midnight, was slowed by four cautions, with six cars on the lead lap.
 
Chris Holley of Dayton, Tex., earned the top ten hard charger of the race, going from 15th-to-sixth. Involved in a heat race accident, Holley and the Erb Racing Team has some cosmetic sheetmetal damage to repair, along with some nose/front cap work to fix before the feature.
 
Current SUPR points leader, Morgan Bagley, was another big mover of the feature, finishing fifth from 13th-starting position. Bagley's Team 14 had some repairs from a heat race accident that left the driver with lower ball joint, upper control arm and spindle damage.
 
Bad luck struck Timothy Culp of West Monroe, La., who had his night cut short due to the radiator getting into the fan and retiring him to 15th. Culp loses 47 points to Bagley and now has third-place Allen Tippen lurking just 50 points behind.
 
A rare season appearance for Lee Davis of Greenwood, La., at Battleground, saw his No. 21D experience a popping noise during the heat race. The Davis crew tried diagnosing the problem, thinking it may be a spring or valve. The team opted to change the battery, since not finding it initially -Davis finished 13th in the feature.
 
Marlon Wild of Springfield, La., is one of four active drivers (Coleman, Frye, Willis) that has won a series race at Battleground Speedway, during SUPR's fifteen previous visits to the facility. Wild was in attendance to add to his total, but a lifter would subject him to a start-and-park in the feature.
 
Steven Whiteaker Jr. of Corpus Christi, Tex., took the Gary Rollo-owned No. 17 car to a seventh-place finish.
 
The O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing tour continues next weekend with a tripleheader of events. The first takes place Friday, September 2nd at USA Speedway in Sterlington (LA), where Morgan Bagley has won every series event there this season. The second stop is Saturday, September 3rd at Greenville (MS) Speedway, for a co-sanction event with the Mississippi-based PRO Dirt Car Series. It will be SUPR's biggest paying race of the 2011 season, at $4,000-to-win.
The SUPR tour wraps up the tripleheader at Champion Park Speedway near Haughton (LA) on Sunday, September 4th.
 
SUPR - Battleground Speedway
(1) Rob Litton, (2) Ronny Adams, (3) Doug Begnaud, (4) Allen Tippen, (5) Morgan Bagley, (6) Chris Holley, (7) Steven Whiteaker Jr, (8) Kevin Migura, (9) John Klenzing, (10) Zach McMillan, (11) Robbie Stuart, (12) Patrik Daniel, (13) Lee Davis, (14) Robbie Starnes, (15) Timothy Culp, (16) Eric Neal, (17) Marlon Wild.
Heat winners (17 entries): Begnaud, Stuart

Ron Skinner photo 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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