Military Appreciation Night with the help of Budweiser at Lebanon I-44 Speedway got off to a very damp start and then once during the show she down-poured again but on both occasions the heated battles on the track out-weighed anything she could throw at the fans and racers.
The only thing that could seemingly slow down Cole Williams' streak were the rain drops that pelted Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Saturday night, forcing two separate rain delays and halting action. Once racing resumed, Williams drove from the back of the pack, blowing through the field in just under 20 laps on the way to a fourth straight victory at Missouri's only asphalt oval and extending his points lead in the O'Reilly Auto PartsNASCAR Pro Late Models in the process.
Young gun Payton Lucas drove with the chops of a veteran to score his first win in the Budweiser NASCAR Modifieds, fending off a hard-charging Tyler Scott in a thrilling duel to the checkers. Robert Reeves and Justin Blake kept up their winning ways in the Monster Energy Sportsman and Hoosier Tire Road Warriors respectively, while Jimmy Poindexter broke Ben White's streak and held off his advances to grab the victory in the Coca-Cola Chargers.
A wild start marred the beginning of the 30-lap O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models main event before racing got underway in earnest. When it did, Jimmy Vanzandt raced to the top spot as fellow veteran Ken Dickinson tracked him through the field and into second. Dickinson immediately began applying pressure to Vanzandt's back bumper, peeking to the inside of each turn and trying to find a way around him for the lead.
Dickinson was making his move for the top spot when Grant Sharp and Cole Rouse made contact to bring out the second caution of the race with nine laps in the books. On the restart, it became a four-car battle for the lead as teenagers Matt Wallace and points leader Cole Williams joined the fray up front. Williams used the high side to get around both Wallace and Dickinson, moving up to second. Williams wasted no time on the way to his fourth consecutive win, powering past Vanzandt to the inside and grabbing the lead without breaking a sweat.
The final 15 laps were the Cole Williams show as the 17-year-old survived a late-race caution for a Ken Dickinson spin and walked away from the field en route to another comfortable victory, extending his points lead in the process.
Lil J.C. Newell charged through the field for an impressive runner-up finish while Vanzandt notched a podium result in third. Matt Wallace registered another solid effort in fourth as Brian Brown rallied for a fifth place effort.
Payton Lucas launched himself into the top spot during the early stages of the 25-lap Budweiser NASCAR Modifieds headliner as Tyler Scott and Ricky Icenhower did battle behind him for second. Scott fended off Icenhower's advances and began to eat away at the gap between himself and Lucas, cutting the margin to just four car lengths as the race moved past the halfway mark.
Lucas continued to pace the field as he picked off lapped traffic, navigating through the 12-car field as Scott closed. The defending champion almost turned around Lucas a couple of times, but 'The Kid' managed to hold him off over a heart-stopping final five laps, saving his car from a spin and grabbing his first career win in the division. Scott did all he could but settled for second as David Bates drove through the field and scored a podium finish in third.
The early advantage in the 15-lap Hoosier Tire Road Warriors main event went to Caston Jones as the field bunched up behind him. The battle for the lead went three-wide on the fifth lap and Carl Harlow held the top spot when the second rain delay of the evening brought out an extended caution period. When racing finally resumed, Justin Blake hounded Harlow's back bumper before emerging with the lead, as Harlow's effort at a crossover move fell short. The top two cars broke away from the rest of the pack, and despite Harlow's best efforts, Justin Blake grabbed his second consecutive victory. Alan Ellis managed a strong third place effort.
Robert Reeves rolled to the early lead in the shortened 12-lap Monster Energy Sportsman feature. Randy Besser followed him into second as Reeves quickly stretched his lead to a straightaway. Darin Owens' hard hit on the frontstretch wall brought out a yellow with nine laps to go and erased Reeves' advantage. The points leader wasted no time heading back to the front when the green flag waved, though, and he never looked back from there, collecting his third checkers of the season. Besser held steady and grabbed the bridesmaid's position while Austin Johnson notched a solid finish in third.
Jimmy Poindexter survived a damp race track and grabbed the early edge in the 10-lap Coca-Cola Chargers headliner. The veteran driver immediately came under fire from points leader Ben White, who slowly but surely cut the deficit to just a car length. With just a couple of laps to go, White looked to make his move, diving to the inside as the white flag waved. White couldn't make the last gasp move stick, settling for second as Poindexter held on for a wire-to-wire win. Jordan Nisbett came home third.
A special mid-week holiday racing program awaits fans on Wednesday, July 3, as NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly action returns for week six of the 2013 Monster Energy Chase for the Cup as I-44 Speedway salutes America. The O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models headline the action with the Budweiser NASCAR Modifieds, Monster Energy Sportsman also joined by some traveling Truck competitors, Hoosier Tire Road Warriors, and Coca-Cola Chargers in action. The five divisions of racing will be the appetizer before fans witness an enormous fireworks show to cap off the full slate of entertainment. Admission prices will remain the same and gates will open at the normal time of 5 p.m. with the first green flag waving at 7 p.m. sharp.
For more information on Lebanon I-44 Speedway, including a full 2013 schedule and more, visit the track website at www.i44speedway.net or visit the track's Facebook and Twitter pages online.
Lebanon I-44 Speedway - June 29, 2013
Heat 1 Heat 2
1) Car # 1 Brian Brown 1) Car # 21 Ken Dickinson
2) Car # 35 Steve Holt 2) Car # 20 Austin Fullerton
3) Car # 32 Brennon Willard 3) Car # 2 Grant Sharp
4) Car # 67 Jim Vanzandt 4) Car # 6 Matt Wallace
5) Car # 07 Terry Limberopoulos 5) Car # 46 Cole Williams
6) Car # 9 Tucker Cory 6) Car # 47 Kaleb Allison
7) Car # 42 Cole Rouse
1) Car # 47 Cole Williams Sellersburg, IN
2) Car # 15 JC Newell Stoutland, MO
3) Car # 67 Jimmy Vanzandt Springfield, MO
4) Car # 6 Matt Wallace Concord, NC
5) Car # 1 Brian Brown Strafford, MO
6) Car # 07 Terry Limberopoulos Cuba, MO
7) Car # 47 Kaleb Allison Mexico, MO
8) Car # 35 Steve Holt Strafford, MO
9) Car # 21 Ken Dickinson Camdenton, MO
10) Car # 32 Brennon Willard Sleeper, MO
11) Car # 20 Austin Fullerton Chelsea, OK
12) Car # 2 Grant Sharp Conway, MO
13) Car # 42 Cole Rouse Fort Smith, AR
14) Car # 9 Tucker Cory Quincy, IL
Heat 1 Heat 2
1) Car # 12 Scotty Allen 1) Car # 26 Payton Lucas
2) Car # 25 Stephen Counterman 2) Car # 66 Terry Taylor
3) Car # 88 Paul Jepsen 3) Car # 91 David Bates
4) Car # 10 Joe Bunkers 4) Car # 7 Ricky Icenhower
5) Car # 0 Chris Kerperien 5) Car # 57 Tyler Scott
6) Car #OO Chris Johnson 6) Car # 6 Richard Lewis
1) Car # 26 Payton Lucas Fair Grove, MO
2) Car # 57 Tyler Scott Nixa, MO
3) Car # 91 David Bates Fair Grove, MO
4) Car # 7 Ricky Icenhower Fair Grove, MO
5) Car # 25 Stephen Counterman Fair Grove, MO
6) Car # 12 Scotty Allen Urbana, MO
7) Car # 88 Paul Jepsen Rolla, MO
8) Car # OO Chris Johnson Lebanon, MO
9) Car # 66 Terry Taylor Fair Grove, MO
10) Car # 10 Joe Bunkers Harrisonville, MO
11) Car # 6 Richard Lewis Willard, MO
12) Car # O Chris Kerperien Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
1) Car # 6 Robert Reeves
2) Car # 22 Austin Johnson
3) Car # 21 Randy Besser
4) Car # 84 JC Newell
5) Car # 25 Darin Owens
6) Car # 48 Jimmy Fohn
1) Car # 6 Robert Reeves Camdenton, MO
2) Car # 21 Randy Besser Branson, MO
3) Car # 22 Austin Johnson Inola, OK
4) Car # 84 JC Newell (Gentle Giant) Decauterville, MO
5) Car # 48 Jimmy Fohn Eldridge, MO
6) Car # 25 Darin Owens Springfield, MO
Heat 1 Heat 2
1) Car # 7 Carl Harlow 1) Car # 52 Alan Ellis
2) Car # 21 Les Mallard 2) Car # 45 Geoffrey Ledford
3) Car # 15 Justin Blake 3) Car # 30 David Jennings
4) Car # 00 Michael Juergensen 4) Car # 1 Garry Barrows
5) Car # 34 Caston Jones 5) Car # 9 Chuck Higdon
6) Car # 0 Chris Johnson 6) Car # 8 Aaron Wilke
DNS Car # 27 Nick Cherry
1) Car # 15 Justin Blake Lebanon, MO
2) Car # 7 Carl Harlow Exeter, MO
3) Car # 52 Alan Ellis Strafford, MO
4) Car # 00 Michael Juergensen Lebanon, MO
5) Car # 9 Chuck Higdon Strafford, MO
6) Car # 21 Les Mallard Fair Grove, MO
7) Car # 8 Aaron Wilke Bridgeton, MO
8) Car # 30 David Jennings
9) Car # 1 Gary Barrows Versailes, MO
10) Car # 45 Geoffrey Ledford Neosho, MO
11) Car # 34 Caston Jones Belle, MO
12) Car # 0 Chris Johnson Lebanon, MO
DNS Car # 27 Nick Cherry Springfield, MO
1) Car # 44 Ben White
2) Car # 10 Jason Walls
3) Car # 74 Larry Hunter
4) Car # 95 Jordan Nisbett
5) Car # 89 Patrick McKnight
DNS Car # 0 Brian Lewis
1) Car # 5 Jimmy Poindexter Jr Willard, MO
2) Car # 44 Ben White Rolla, MO
3) Car # 95 Jordan Nisbett Lebanon, MO
4) Car # 10 Jason Walls St. James, MO
5) Car # 74 Larry Hunter Laquey, MO
6) Car # 89 Patrick McKnight Rolla, MO
7) Car # 37 Jary Hudson Edgar Springs, MO
DNS Car # O Brian Lewis Willard, MO