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_ Ritter snags O'Reilly's SUPR late model win from Ginn in Pike County post-race inspection

By Steve Molnar & Sue DuRoy

MAGNOLIA, MS (May 8, 1999) - Larry Ritter survived a roller coaster ride of a night to claim his first ever victory on the newly-christened O'Reilly's Southern United Professional Racing (SUPR) Dirt Late Model Series. Ritter survived a mid-race battle with Donald Watson that saw the two race side by side for several laps before they locked together briefly in turn 2 with 9 to go.

Ritter broke free and clear first and pulled away from Watson, who got his momentum back up only after he had passed by several cars. In the midst of all this action, Richie Ginn, who had been running third, shot into the lead. Ginn led the remainder of the laps followed closely by Ritter but his car failed a post race inspection and was disqualified and this enabled Ritter to claim the win.

Ritter, like most of the fans, left the racetrack not knowing that he had won the race. “I would rather be able to celebrate the win at the track,” he said. But it’s a victory he’ll accept nonetheless. He was quick to thank his sponsor Majestic Metals for making it all possible and his crew Mike Donahoe, Ronnie Watts and Johnny Reid for all their help.

Ritter is on a real hot streak with his Majestic Metals GRT Pontiac as he has finished in the top 10 at each of the 7 SUPR features he has run this year and inside the top 10 in points despite missing 3 races. “We’ve been hoping we could win one at anytime,” Ritter added.

David Ashley was the Top Qualifier and he started on the pole with Donald Watson alongside. Watson was able to grab the early lead in the 40-lap feature with Ashley, Ginn, Ritter and Marlon Wild in tow. Ritter moved by Ginn for third on lap 4. There was racing throughout the field and Watson was able to build a sizeable lead. Watson caught lapped traffic by lap 12 and he was able to put some lapped traffic between him and Ashley. The top 5 stayed in order until Blair moved by Wild on lap 14.

Lapped traffic would play a major part in the outcome of the race as a lapped car spun in front of the leaders on lap 23. Watson avoided heavy contact but Ashley was not so lucky and was forced to restart the race at the rear. The first attempt at a restart was waved off after Watson failed to fire at the cone on the backstretch.

With the field back in line Watson fired with Ritter now challenging him hard for the lead. Ritter was running strong right against the berm on the bottom while Watson ran a slightly higher groove. Ritter worked under Watson and they ran side-by-side at the line on lap 30 and then they made hard contact in turn two with the two cars sticking together on contact.

The pair broke free but by that time Ginn had grabbed the lead. Ritter felt his chances for a win took a major turn for the worse when he and Watson got together but he was able to recover and took the victory just ahead of Jay Blair, Chris Cassano, Randy Cook and Marlon Wild. Watson fell off pace after the contact with Ritter and finished 6th.

Thirty-seven SUPR Late Models were on hand with heat wins going to David Ashley, Ginn, Blair, Watson and Ritter. Kenny Merchant and Sam Patrick claimed the Last Chance races while SUPR point provisionals were granted to Ronnie Adams and Dave Siegert.

Adams and Siegert took full advantage of the starting spots as Adams passed 11 cars to claim 8th in the feature while Siegert advanced even further, passing 14 cars en route to a 7th place finish and his second consecutive Lloyd Wild Jr. Logging Hard Charger award.

Jessie Grimes took the lead and held it till the checkered to score the win for the novice B main. Rustin Cain ran second till he slipped and Troy Dean took over second. Cain took third. Mark Hardwick fourth and Alan Rainwater fifth.

Novice A main Bo Harig took the early lead till he got a flat. Daniel Boyd took over the lead till he slipped and Joseph Law took over as leader and went on to score the win. Boyd drifted high and three cars went by dropping him to fifth.

Law went on to score the win followed by Dale Aucoin, Daniel Boyd, Bryan Whittington, and Clay Schexnayder who made a charge on the last lap when cars spun coming of four and scattered all over as the leaders took the checkered. Bryan Whittington and Bo Harig took heat wins for novice.

Rusty Cooper and Paul Burges took the heat wins for pure stock, then came back and got first and second in the feature. On the drop of the green it was Rusty Cooper with the lead. A four car pile up off four into the front wall made a complete restart. Once again it was Cooper with the lead. Tyndale Dean got sideways, but his brother Darren came along and gave him a tap and straightened him out and sent him on his way. Up front it was Rusty Cooper and Paul Burges coming in first and second with Howard "Baby" Cooper motors. Third went to Tyndale Dean, fourth Darren dean and fifth jimmy Lynch.

Todd Rogers and David Pellerin shared heat wins for street stock. Pellerin took the lead off turn four on the drop if the green. Yellow flew when Eddie Duncan tagged Scotty Case in four causing him to spin. On the restart they ran three wide behind Pellerin for second. Rogers, Allred and Holland. Next lap these three all piled into each other in two bringing out the yellow once again. Pellerin went on to score the win followed by Jason Holland, Chris Rouse, Scotty Case and Silas Martin Jr took fifth after Todd Rogers spun from fifth in turn four.

Jamie McClendon and Bobby Slaven took super stock heat wins. McClendon sat on the pole and took the early lead. A few laps in 11 took the lead away. A few laps later McClendon took the lead back and this time he held it till the checkered. 11 took second, Greg Freeman third, and fourth went to Jason Taylor who finally finished a race and didn't get tore up. Rounding out the top five was Michael Sibley.

Jerry Cassano and Brant Tirello shared the heat wins for UMP modified. Tirello took the early lead, but not for long. Jerry Cassano took the lead form Tirello. Donny Hebert brought out the first yellow when he spun in two. Jerry Cassano went on to score the win by several car lengths over Curtis Vicnair, Brant Tirello, Burt, and Gary Revere.

Official Results:
1. Larry Ritter
2. Jay Blair
3. Chris Cassano
4. Randy Cook
5. Marlon Wild
6. Donald Watson
7. Dave Siegert
8. Ronnie Adams
9. Ryan Plaisance
10. Chris Hoyt
11. David Ashley
12. Duke Whiseant
13. Neal Temple
14. Elizabeth Halpin
15. Sam Patrick
16. Randy Walters
17. Jerry Bevis
18. Kenny Merchant
19. Eddie Taylor
20. Dennis Duncan
21. Richie Ginn
22. Lonnie Covington