latemodelamerica.com - July 30 - Baton Rouge Raceway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Jeff Chanler at Baton Rouge Raceway

North La. veteran Jeff Chanler races to his second straight SUPR Series win at Donald Watson's Baton Rouge Raceway Saturday. (Best Photography)

SUPR: Chanler Hits Baton Rouge For Second Straight Win

by Bryan Wimberley
 
BAKER, La. - July 30. For consecutive weeks, Jeff Chanler of Minden, La., kept his momentum going by snatching up another O'Reilly Southern United Professional Racing (SUPR) Series victory Saturday at Baton Rouge Raceway. Chanler went flag-to-flag in dominating fashion to seal the $2,500 payday and a four-second victory over Kevin Sitton of Baytown, Texas.
 
"I can't believe it, I have never won two SUPR races in-a-row, I just knew a lapped car was going to get in my way, especially there at the last part when I got the white flag, I was worried then. I was among those lapped cars and was scared somebody was going to get into me before I got to the checkered, but thankfully it didn't happen," Chanler said.
 
Timothy Culp at Baton Rouge Raceway
With his third place finish at Baton Rouge, Timothy Culp made some small gains on points leader Morgan Bagley. (Best Photography)
 
The only chance any driver had of getting close to Chanler during the 50-feature was on a restart and even then, Chanler mastered each of the four, to drive home something he has never done before in his career -win back-to-back in the series.
 
"I know winning last weekend gave us some much confidence and it only helped when I got down here and was then out front again. We ran about the same thing we did last week at Little Rock, the car has been working good for me because we haven't changed much on the setup. It has been cutting the corner good, I jumped the cushion one time and lost some ground early in the race, but I didn't see anybody come up on me. On the restarts, I just kept powering to keep on going. I didn't know what they were doing behind me, I didn't know if they were right on me or if I was pulling away," added Chanler. 
 
  Jeff Chanler VL Baton Rouge Raceway
Jeff Chanler and his North Louisiana based entourage after his second straight SUPR win at Baton Rouge Raceway. (Best Photography)
 
Timothy Culp of West Monroe, La., took third and eased a little closer to currently points leader, Morgan Bagley, trailing now by 232. Polesitte Robbie Starnes of Baytown, Tex., drove to a solid fourth-place finish, while Jody Prince of Sibley, La., rounded out the top five finishers.
 
Chanler took the lead from the outset over Starnes, Prince, Sitton and Kennith Crowe of Port Allen. The action would be brief, with the race's first caution appearing on lap two, for contact between a trio of racers battling for fifth.
 
The feature limped along slowly for four more laps before seeing two straight yellows at lap 6. The more serious caution came when contact between series founder, Donald Watson and Robbie Stuart of Deridder, La., sent Stuart for a nasty ride into the backstretch wall near turn three. Stuart was uninjured in the accident, but would be the first retiree of the event.
 
Alex Ashley at Baton Rouge Raceway
Taking advantage of the local venue, Zachary's Alex Ashley returned to play with the SUPR troopers and picked up 11th place at a track that he virtually grew up in. (Best Photography) 
 
Another strong restart by Chanler had him at point again with Starnes, Sitton and Culp giving chase. Chanler's pace had him negotiating lap traffic on the 13th circuit. Culp and Bagley, like they have done all year, battled for position on lap 15. 
 
Chanler marched to a two-second lead, but Starnes was able to find a way to cut into his advantage for a moment, approaching the halfway mark of the race. Culp, which earlier held off Bagley, was now taking a look under Sitton for third on lap 27.
 
The feature's final caution waved one lap later for the slowed car of Kevin Watts of Denham Springs, setting up a 22-lap dash under green. No late-race restart to pressure Chanler like last week at I-30 Speedway.
 
With Starnes shuffled back to fourth on the final restart, the real battle the rest of the way was between Kevin Sitton and Timothy Culp. The pair fought tooth-and-nail for second position, not settling it until the end of the race. Sitton couldn't breathe a sigh of relief and never held more than a few lengths on Culp during that time.
 
Rob Litton and Morgan Bagley at Baton Rouge Raceway
Morgan Bagley's record of consistency included a sixth place at Baton Rouge, while former champion Rob Litton (6x), one of the few remaining charter memberrs of the SUPR tour, continues to struggle in perhaps his most difficult season ever. (Best Photography) 
 
Chanler cemented the lead with five laps remaining, by putting a cushion of two lapped cars between himself and second-running Sitton. Chanler cruised on to victory, crossing under the flagstand comfortably ahead of Sitton, who fought off Culp in the most intense battle on the racetrack all night.
 
"During the heat (race) the track was one-laned pretty bad. But in the feature, I could run up there, cut across the bottom, then run up and hit the cushion to run off -it seemed to be the fastest way for me. I tried to run the outside all the way around and that didn't work out good for me, so I just kept cutting across. I figured if I was cutting across, then they wasn't going to get below me and if I faded to the outside, then they wasn't going to come around and cut me off," stated Chanler.
 
"When they (series staff) was telling me the lineup (on a caution) on the raceceiver, I can hear them when they were telling drivers to pick their lines. Listening to the lineup behind me each time, I can tell who has moved up from the last caution and who was pushing towards the front. I was trying to keep up with who is on the move, who is just behind me and who was gaining on me," explained Chanler.
 
Keith Strother and Jody Prince at Baton Rouge Raceway
Jody Prince races outside of Keith Strother before picking up fifth place at Baton Rouge. (Best Photography)
 
Notes: Chanler's Barry Wright Race Car is powered by a PTS Racing Engine and sponsored by David Peterson Contracting, All Star Performance, David's Transmission, OWC Welding, AD Signs, CV Products, Weld Racing and Hoosier Racing Tires. His victory elevated him two spots in the O'Reilly SUPR Series point standings, to fifth.
 
* The win was Chanler's ninth series victory of his career, tying him for 17th overall with Marlon Wild and Trak-Star Race Cars founder, Mike Boland of Cuba, Alabama.
 
* The checkered flags flew on the 30-minute feature at 11:46pm and was slowed by four cautions. Nine cars finished on the lead lap with 14 cars running at the end of the race.
 
*  The top ten hard charger of the feature was 15th-starting Jim Bryant of Natchitoches, La., who moved up five places to finish 10th.  
 
* Robbie Starnes was in an '05 Rocket Chassis race car for just the second time this season, formerly own by Kevin Sitton. Starnes fell out early at Jones Motor Speedway in Chatham, in the car, but put it on the pole and race with the frontrunners all night for a fourth place finish. Starnes brought the car to Baton Rouge, hoping to resolve a popping in the engine that the crew has worked tirelessly on. Starnes has four straight series top 10's at Baton Rouge Raceway, dating back to last July and excluding a non-points, unsanctioned race last October. Starnes has a fourth, seventh, fourth and sixth during that span.
 
* Jody Prince has a fourth-place this weekend at Baton Rouge Raceway and a sixth-place last weekend at I-30 Speedway, in a 1994 GRT Race Car.
 
* Chris Holley of Dayton, Tex., broke a motor in heat race #1 and was scratched from the feature. Holley fell back two positions in the point standings, from fifth to seventh. Holley was runner-up to Chris Wall in SUPR's April race at Baton Rouge.  Marlon Wild of Springfield, La., also had motor problems in hot laps, causing him to retire from the rest of the night's racing program.
 
* Three familiar faces re-appeared on the O'Reilly SUPR Series tour again at Baton Rouge Raceway. Alex Ashley of nearby Zachary, was behind the wheel of a Howard Jenkins-owned, MasterSbilt Crate Late Model and finished 11th. The 20-year old Ashley is the son of three-time SUPR Series champion, David Ashley and fell 27 points short of claiming the series Rookie of the Year title last season. Ashley has ran Jenkins' car several times this season, scoring a win at Baton Rouge Raceway on June 18th and topping Jimbo McDuffie on June 10th at Hattiesburg Motorsports Park.
 
Keith Strother and Robbie Starnes at Baton Rouge Raceway
Veteran Dayton, Texas driver Robbie Starnes lines up outside of newcomer keith Strother before racing to his fourth straight top five in SUPR Series action. (Best Photography)
 
* Shane Barbara of Ponchatoula, La., also competed in the series for the first time Saturday night and has in the past ran at Baton Rouge Raceway or Pike County Speedway in the crate division. Barbara had starter problems early on in his GRT Race Car and made repair, only to get a bent spindle in the feature to exit early in 20th.
 
* Shawn O'Toole of Pineville, La., debuted a black-skinned No. 02 race car, from the familiar yellow color he last ran well over a year ago. O'Toole would start the feature in 14th, but his first time back this season wouldn't fair well either, resulting in a 18th-place finish.
 
July 30 - SUPR at Baton Rouge Raceway
1) Jeff Chanler, 2) Kevin Sitton, 3) Timothy Culp, 4) Robbie Starnes, 5) Jody Prince, 6) Morgan Bagley, 7) Allen Tippen, 8) Curt Lipsey, 9) Michael Jay Brunson, 10) Jim Bryant, 11) Alex Ashley, 12) Donald Watson, 13) Keith Strother, 14) Zack Mcmillan, 15) Kennith Crowe, 16) Kevin Watts, 17) Rob Litton, 18) Shawn O'Toole, 19) Jason Polite, 20) Shane Barbara, 21) Paul Joyner, 22) Robbie Stuart, 23) Chris Holley, 24) Marlon Wild
Heat winners (24 entries): Chanler, Starnes, Sitton

Best photography

 

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