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posted February 23, 2002 09:57 AM
Merchant Wins First Night of Mardi Gras Nationals
Pike County speedway February 22, 2002 Sue DuRoy
48 late models were divided into 8 in each of 6 heats. Heat one Marlon Wild blasted into the lead and led every lap by several car lengths over the rest of the field. Kenny Merchant took the second heat win. Heat three yellow flew when a 5 car pile up occurred in turn two. Second caution was caused by Buzz Miles. Michael Sibley brought out the third yellow. On the restart Curt Lipsey had the lead. Jeff Chanler in second challenged Lipsey for the lead and took it and went on to score the win. Heat four David Knight blasted into the lead and scored the win. Heat five Scott Slay took first. Heat six new comer to a late model James Ward took his first win in a late model.
On the pole for the 25 lap feature was Jeff Chanler. He jumped to the lead on the start followed by Rodney Wing. Three laps completed when the first yellow flew when Dennis Duncan spun. After the restart Rodney Wing took over the lead. Kenny Merchant Followed Wing till lap 13 when he took over the lead. Merchant led the rest of the race and took the win followed by Rodney Wing, James Ward, David Ashley, Eric Courville, Odie Green, Dwight Falcon, Chris Wall, Marlon Wild, Sam Patrick, Dennis Duncan, Jeff Chanler and Ryan Plaisance. Kenny Merchant's wife gave birth to a baby boy at 2 O'clock and at 2:30 he was on the rode to the race track! Congratulations Kenny on the win and the birth of your son.
The first of two last chance races had a field of 13. Jeff Chanler on the pole, Rodney Sheridan on the outside. Sheridan blasted into the lead and set sail and took the win by several car lengths. Sam Patrick led the second last chance race in the first laps. Chris Wall ran him down and took over the lead and scored the win.
Jerry Cassano, Jeff Martello and Jason Taylor all shared heat wins for UMP. Cassano on the pole took the lead but 2 laps into it lost his drive shaft and was pushed into the pits. Chris Duhon took over the lead followed by Kalif Sellier, who challenged the leader but couldn't get Duhon. Duhon scored the win Sellier second, Jeff Martello took third, Shane Herbert fourth and Jason Taylor fifth.
Jimmy Stephens, and Randy Brownell shared the heats for pure stock. Brownell from outside the front row blasted into the lead but Stephens stayed right with him. Second lap in turn one Brownell's engine let loose. Stephens took over the lead and led every lap to score the win followed by Chad Bush, Robert Petit, Terry Lee, and Leonard Barrileou.