GREENWOOD, Louisiana (Oct. 28, 2023) — Touring Modified veteran Chris Henigan, regional open-wheel stalwart Coty Tupper and Stock car ace John Parker Jr. all earned feature wins in their respective divisions, as officials hosted the USRA Southern Nationals on Saturday night at Boothill Speedway.
Henigan powered to victory in the 30-lap A Main for American Racer Modified Series (ARMS) teams; Tupper claimed his win in a talent-filled tilt for Limited Modifieds; while Parker prevailed in a caution-plagued affair for Factory Stock warriors.
Doug Vick Jr. (Pro Mods); Brandon Harrod (USRA Tuners); and Joshua Worn (Sportsters) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for short track racing in western Louisiana.
Henigan, of Marshall, Texas, started fourth on a 24-car grid, recovered from an early spin with flair. He inherited the lead at lap 17 when Rodney Sanders' machine blew an engine and pulled away to earn top honors.
Kale Westover came home second, while Tyler Townsend drove up from 11th to finish third. Chase Hatton (started seventh) and Jack Sartain (started 12th) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I picked up a vibration while trying to run the cushion,” Henigan told veteran announcer Zach Clark in Victory Lane. “I was just hanging on for second behind Rodney, I hated to see him break. I guess you have to take them however you can.
“I thought we were in trouble on that early spin. I felt like we got turned, but I don't really know. I was just glad to get my spot back for the restart. I need to thank all of my sponsors, my family, and everybody else that helps us out.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the ARMS A Main were Michael Ables, Billy Jack Brutchin, Kyle Taylor (started 19th), Oklahoma veteran William Gould and Kevin Rowland (started 24th).
A troubling 10 cautions slowed the pace, most for single-car spins. Henigan took home $3,000 for his efforts. Manuel Williams II, Henigan, Brutchin and Jason Ingalls won their respective qualifying Heats earlier in the evening, while Justin Cox won the B Main.
Tupper, of Blanchard, started second on a 22-car Limited grid, led all 20 laps and narrowly edged at the line for top honors. Grigsby came from eighth at the start and settled for second, while Greg Muirhead finished third.
Tim Johnson put in a solid effort to claim fourth, while Kevin Rowland drove up from 20th to finish fifth.
“This is definitely not my style of track,” Tupper said. “Our car was pretty good tonight, and we drew a good number. I started on the outside, and the track was pretty treacherous. So I'm glad we were up front instead of getting involved in all that mess out back. I just tried to avoid making any mistakes.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Limited Modified feature were Ryan Reeves, Ethan Bailes, Stephen Guidry, Jack Dupont and Matt Rust. Seven cautions slowed the pace, including a multi-car crash on the backstretch that saw several cars stack up like dominoes.
Conner Williams, Tupper, Grigsby, Scott Shipley and Cody Robbins won their respective Heats, while Talan Willis, Rowdy Day and Timmy Johnson won the B Mains.
Parker, of Dry Prong, started seventh on a 20-car grid, drove to the inside of Logan Davis to take control at lap 15 and held off a hard-charging Dakoda Wyatt to earn top honors. Wyatt settled for second, while Jody Prince filled out the podium.
Chad Callender made a rare outing pay off with a fourth-place finish, while Josh Daugherty was fifth.
“I was thankful for the caution tonight,” Parker said in Victory Lane. “It allowed me a chance to do something. I knew Dakoda had a strong run on me there late; I missed my marks and jumped the cushion at one point. I think this is the first race I've ever won here at Boothill, it feels pretty good.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Factory Stock A Main were Texarkana's Mike Wells, Daniel Jones, Logan Davis, Cole Cook (who started 20th) and Louisiana powerhouse Bo Perry. A whopping nine cautions slowed the pace (laps 0, 5, 7, 9, 15, 15, 17, 18, 19), including five in the final five laps.
Daugherty, Parker, Jones, Prince and Scotty Case won their respective qualifying Heats, while Jones, Howell and Callender claimed the Factory Stock B Mains.
With other venues around the region getting rained out, attendance at this event was heavy. Despite losing their planned Friday night program, the USRA Southern Nationals drew 169 entries spread across six divisions. Led by Factory Stock with 46 and Limiteds with 43, the turnout was fantastic.
Officials cranked out 20 qualifying Heats and seven B Features without frequent delays, then hosted six A Mains that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The efforts of co-promoters Ralo Pilkington and Bubba Jones to drain water and get the racing surface into decent condition were truly remarkable.
You can replay every lap from Saturday night's USRA Southern Nationals at Boothill Speedway with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com or RacinDirt.com.
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer