latemodelamerica.com - July 2 - Champion Park Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Morgan Bagley and Ray Moore at Champion Park Speedway

The SUPR Series' two most formidable racers this season, #14 Morgan Bagley and #93 Ray Moore, were fully engaged in a fierce battle for the lead in SUPR Series acation before Bagley bagged an important win in the 'Race To Erase ALS" event at Champion Park Speedway, (Best Photography) 

SUPR:  Bagley Earns a Special Win After Epic Battle
 
Bryan Wimberley
 
HAUGHTON, La.- July 2. On a night that was deemed special from the outset, Morgan Bagley of Longview, Tex., outlasted Ray Moore of Haughton, La., in a race that will long be talked about in the region. Polesitting Bagley overcame two epic battles over the course of the 40-lap feature and secured a two-and-a-half second victory in SUPR's 'Race To Erase ALS', honoring 1998 champion Rusty Cummings. 
 
"This one feels real good, certainly we will take all of them we can, but it's great being able to win a Saturday night show finally, one that pays a little more money," Bagley said. 
 
Rusty Cummings greets fans at CPS, with SUPR official Steve Molnar at the wheel. The soft-spoken 1998 SUPR Series champion will also become a published author this fall with the release of his novel, For a Million Summers.  (Scott Burson)
 
  "I always get text messages saying, keep on winning, just try to do it somewhere else (other than USA Speedway). I didn't put a whole lot of pressure on myself, I know we have a good car, good baseline set-up, good team, good equipment and good sponsors. We just did what we always do, sticking to our program, and eventually we was going to get another one somewhere else." 
 
Bagley's Champion Park win paid $3,000, but in victory lane, Team 14 donated $500 of the purse to The ALS Foundation. The victory was Bagley's fourth in O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing (SUPR) Series competition and his first away from USA Speedway in Sterlington -where he has three. Also with the win, Bagley puts an end to Ray Moore's personal winning streak of five-in-a-row, as Moore settled for second. 
 
Bagley explained, "We set up to run on the bottom, we started on the pole and we have been here quite a few times and seen that it is the dominant place to run. I think we could have been a little bit better, we didn't set up for what the track conditions ended up being like, we left the car a little free. I knew I had to protect the bottom and when we took off, I tried to get in the corner first. I have watched Kyle Cummings win many, many races here on that
 
Kyle Cummings and BJ Robinson at Champion Park Speedway
Driving Nicholas Brown's #84, Kyle Cummings races by B.J. Robinson in a race designated to honor his father, Rusty Cummings. (Scott Burson) 
 
 bottom, so I was going to make sure he wasn't going to beat me to the bottom of the racetrack at the start.  I felt like my car got better when I had someone next to me, because I could enter the corner a little bit different, because I wasn't driving so defensively. Me and Timmy (Culp) ran side-by-side a lot of laps there, then me and Ray did, it was really fun, especially when you can race guys like that, side-by-side and not touch, not hit, and not wreck. Like I told Ray, that is fun racing right there and it is a lot more fun for me when I win and Ray runs second."  
 
Kyle Cummings of Minden, La., returned to the Late Model ranks for only the second time this season, driving Nicholas Brown's Rocket Chassis/Wall 2 Wall powered No. 84 car in the fund-raiser event. The car was registered as 'B1' 84 to honor his stricken father. The 28-year old Cummings made the most of his return, starting on the front-row and racing to an impressive third place.  
 
Timothy Culp of West Monroe, La., would jockey for the lead early on, but would later fade to fourth. Gaining more consistency with every race, Brett Frazier of Haughton notched fifth at his home track. 
 
With the green flag in the air, the much anticipated feature was underway, as Bagley jumped to the lead. One lap completed saw Moore, Culp, Cummings and B.J. Robinson of Blanchard, La., following closely in tow.  
 
Chris Holley of Dayton, Tex., who took a provisional, would bring out the first caution of the race. Holley later rebounded to climb eight spots, on his way to finishing 13th.  
 
Two laps after the restart, Culp passed Moore to take over second. Wasting no time, Culp took over the point, getting by Bagley on lap five.  
 
Ray Moore - Kyle Cummings - Timothy Culp

Ray Moore (93), Kyle Cummings, and #8 Timothy Culp raced to the checkers in positions two through four at Champion Park.  Culp held the lead early on before fading to fourth. (Scott Burson) 

The yellow would come out for the second time for the spun car of Kevin Sitton, battling Brett Frazier for eighth position.  
 
Bagley's great restart enabled him to pull up next to Culp, as a side-by-side battle ensued. Bagley took back the lead, but the pair would trade back-and-forth, spawning an outstanding door-to-door onslaught, with neither driver giving an inch. The lead would change hands at least five times over the next 13 laps, as Bagley or Culp never got over a car length margin aprt during that span.  
 
Moore stayed tightly tucked in third and was right in the mix to fill in, if either two frontrunners faltered. Culp, Bagley & Moore would distance themselves by two seconds from Kyle Cummings, running in third. Jason Ingalls was giving Cummings pressure for third, in their own separate battle.  
 
Moore made it a three-way fight for the lead as the trio came upon lap traffic on the 18th circuit. Moore fell back as Culp and Bagley raced two lapped cars, making it four-wide on the backstretch. Instead of both drivers trying to judge the faster line, Culp and Bagley made their own groove to propel themselves to the lead. Bagley gained the upper hand, leading the pack when the final caution waved at the midway point of the race.  
 
The frenzied crowd would gasp for air as the field was set into place for the restart. No one could predict that the second half of the race was to be as exciting as the first 20 laps.  
 
It would happen immediately, with Moore taking over second from the high-riding Culp. Bagley's advantage would be chopped down to a nose over Moore in three more laps.  
 
The race saw its third different leader, when Moore took the helm on lap 25. Bagley wasn't going away quietly though, grabbing it away from Moore three laps later, edging the No. 93 by three-quarter lengths.  
 
Suspense continued to build with Bagley and Moore now running door-to-door. Both drivers had secluded themselves from the rest of the top five, making it a mano-a-mano contest. Culp still held down third, but he used everything he had earlier, putting him almost five seconds behind the top two. Culp would later fall into the clutches of Cummings and slip to fourth.   
 
Bagley's 16-lap battle with Moore would close when he emerged the survivor, pulling to a one-second lead on lap 37. Bagley sealed the win, never wavering despite being highly tested twice, in simply an unbelievable race. 
 
Notes: Bagley's Rocket Chassis race car is powered by a Wall 2 Wall Performance Engine and sponsored by P&W Sales & Oilfield Mfg., Mr. Frank Motorsports, 360 Motorsports, Southern Transport, MSI, J&J Motorsports, Outerwears, Club 29 and Hyperco. 
 
* The 18-minute feature ended at 11:45 pm and was slowed by three cautions. 
 
* Brown's Trucking of Hodge, La., added additional purse money to the pay structure of the feature and boosted the winning amount to $3,000-to-win. 
Charlie Brown of Brown's Trucking also added an extra $150 hard charger bonus the day of the event. 
 
* Nicholas Brown spoke of how simple it was in deciding to offer Cummings his car to perform in front of his hometown crowd for such a special occasion. 
 
"We have been friends with Kyle (Cummings) for many years. We were going to put together another car for Kyle, but I felt like we could focus on one car and we wanted to use our primary car. It is fairly new and we wanted him to be competitive.  Being that it was for his dad, we just wanted him to have a good solid run. I would love to race it, but it is going to be better for me to watch him (Kyle). I feel like it is going to be an enjoyable experience for Rusty and that is the main reason we done it," Brown said. 
 
The Brown/Cummings ties goes back 14 years, with Nicholas' father, Charlie, reaching out to Rusty to offer him help, as explained by Nicholas.  "Back in 1998, we loaned Rusty a motor and that really started a life-long friendship. We decided to put up the extra purse because we wanted more people to come to this race, one where there is as many fans and as many cars as it can be, since some of the proceeds are going to the ALS Foundation. We wanted to start something to where maybe next year and beyond, that we can have this race every year. We are pleased with how it all came together." 
 
The Brown family, Nicholas, Jason and Charlie, along with Brown crew member Brad Porter, did most of the car preparations and additional decalling for Kyle prior to the event.  "We changed the seat and adjusted the steering column for Kyle. Kyle and Rusty came out the Sunday before the race and put his seat in the car. That is mainly all we done, his driving style is a lot like mine. Kyle felt comfortable in the car and as long as that happened, I felt like we could get him as close to the front as possible," said Nicholas. 
 
Kevin Sitton - Brett Frazier - Ronny Adams

South Texas driver Kevin Sitton gets turned around as Brett Frazier and #1a Ronny Adams take evasive action at CPS. (Scott Burson)

After it was over and having time to reflect on the event, an overwhelmed and exhausted Kyle Cummings said, "This goes to show the type people that you are around, this whole racing environment. We had so much family that never comes to the races and they pulled together and came tonight. It just goes to show the type people that you are around in this racing deal. They come by to say 'hi' and speak and that is big to my dad. He has been around it for so long, raced for so long with so many of these guys. Some of them he hasn't, but the younger guys that are around now, still know my dad and watched him race throughout the years, so they knew where we were coming from. They knew and they needed to step up. Brown's Trucking put an additional $500 on the top of the purse, then Morgan turned around and got that $500 for the win and donated it back to The ALS Foundation, which was a real class act from him. That is greatly appreciated and I can't say thanks enough for everything that everybody has done."         
 
* Allen Tippen of Minden, collected the $150 hard charger bonus, going from 20th-to-seventh in the feature. Tippen broke a drive shaft in his heat race, from contact with Robbie Stuart. Tippen's crew repaired the No. 71a and took the last transfer position through the consolation, setting up the hard-charging dash in the feature.     
 
* Brett Frazier of Haughton, La., wasanother big mover in the top 10, having a 10th-to-fifth place run. 
 
* In five of the last six series races entered at Champion Park Speedway, Kyle Cummings has finished no worse than third - the last a runner-up photo finish to Ronny Adams last September.  Two of his five SUPR Series wins have c0me at CPS -the last in March 2008. 
 
"It was very important to sit on the front row, especially since this whole event was base around my father," Cummings said. "For Nick Brown and his family to be able to loan me the car, it really meant a lot to me. Coming in here tonight, there are 50 numbers in the pot, we drew a 50 and had to start dead last in the heat. I knew in hot laps that we had a decent car, so I knew we had a chance at running good. We started in the back and moved up to second, putting us outside of the front-row in the feature. There is just a lot of stuff that goes on between having so many family members and so many friends here in this whole event, based on my dad's ordeal. I can't describe how it felt and to run up front for everything that everybody has done, there is so many people to name. Everybody pulled together and done a fantastic job on helping raise money for The ALS Foundation and my father. I am just very grateful for all of that."  

Morgan Bagley VL at Champion Park Speedway SUPR

Morgan Bagley and crew at Champion Park. (Scott Burson)

Cummings added, "Coming into tonight, I just knew that I wanted to be here and be in the race for my dad. When we ran the heat and started (the feature) good, of course winning it would have been great, but you can't ask for anything more. Charlie Brown has helped my dad and sponsored him for years in racing. He has always be there and it was a real honor for them to call me and offer for me to drive. I have not one complaint on anything that happened here tonight, except for the modified, the modified broke (laughing). The whole late model situation was great, it was especially great to be back out there with those guys. I have been racing modified here and there on a weekly basis around here and you just don't race with that caliber of guys in any class. I had a good seat in a good race between Morgan, Ray and Timmy, they put on one heck of a show. I don't know if it was the track or what was going on, but they had a good show and was able to race in the middle, up high, and eventually it was won on the bottom. It was a good night." 
 
* Kyle's sister, Dana Cummings Haynes, played a huge part in organizing the special, fund-raising event that included a raffle of a Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR weekend package that included tickets and lodging. Two hundred t-shirts, in two different color prints bearing Rusty's B1 car number and a message ending with the name of his soon-to-be published book, "For A Million Summers". The novel is slated to be printed in late August or early September and is a boy-meets-girl love story that highlights some of his upbringing. 
 
"I can't emphasized enough how much Kyle has done since this happened. He has picked up and moved his family to be near Mom and Dad to help out and do anything necessary. I want everyone to know because he has been great!" Haynes says. 

Jason Ingalls and BJ Robinson at Champion Park Speedway

Driving Jerry Mayne's #87, Jason Ingalls races by #5 B.J. Robinson on his way to sixth place at CPS. (Scott Burson)

"Now, I am not a real outdoors-type person, but I grew up a daddy's girl. I have been around racing all my life and it didn't bother me to watch my dad race. I believed he was invincible!I do not go to the track nearly as much. Kyle and my dad has always had that together, but it's scary to me to watch Kyle race, I can't hardly watch sometimes," the daughter of the 1998 SUPR champion said. 
 
* Jason Ingalls of Longview, drove for Jerry Mayne in the 87M car. The third generation driver hovered around the top five most of the race, later settling for sixth. 
 
* Current O'Reilly SUPR Series champion, Rob Litton of Alexandria, La., drove the No. 77 back-up car from Mark Erb Racing, due to engine woes in his familiar No. 6x. Litton would advance from 12th-to-ninth in the feature. 
 
* Lee Davis of Greenwood, La., raced for only the second time this season. Davis made the main event, but was the first to exit -a 22nd place finish. 
 
* Bubba Mullins of West Monroe, La., took a hard ride off the backstretch embankment in his heat race, making impact off the track. Mullins was uninjured and would later fall short in transferring through the consolation. 
 
* Drivers not making the feature included Mullins, Jim Bryant, Ricky Ingalls, Paul Joyner, Jim Spurlock, and Mark Underwood, Jr. 
 
 
July 2 - SUPR at Champion Park Speedway
1) Morgan Bagley, 2) Ray Moore, 3) Kyle Cummings, 4) Timothy Culp, 5) Brett Frazier, 6) Jason Ingalls, 7) Allen Tippen, 8) Ronny Adams, 9) Robert Litton, 10) B.J. Robinson, 11) Gary Christian, 12) Robbie Stuart, 13) Chris Holley (prov.), 14) Jeff Chanler, 15) Wesley Chanler, 16) Kevin Sitton, 17) Curt Lipsey, 18) Michael Jay Brunson (prov.), 19) Chad Dupont, 20) Heath Culp, 21) Jody Prince, 22) Lee Davis
Heat winners (28 entries): Moore, Bagley, T. Culp, H. Culp; Last Chance Winner: J. Chanler

Keenes photography

 

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