(LEBANON, Mo.) - A year after getting into his fair share of bumps and battles at Missouri's only asphalt oval, 17-year-old Matt Wallace displayed the patient approach he's utilized all season with great success. Even though the weather all around the area was not in the racers favor the crowd at Emerson Climate Technologies Night at the Races witnessed the North Carolina teenager surviving a number of cautions and a late-race charge from points leader Cole Williams to emerge victorious on Saturday night at Lebanon I-44 Speedway in the headlining O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models, cutting into Williams' point lead in the process as the season approaches the stretch run.
In other feature action, drivers who knew the way to victory lane found themselves there again, as Robert Reeves collected the Monster Energy Sportsman trophy and Jimmy Poindexter extended his advantage in the standings after a win in the Coca-Cola Chargers. Young gun Jacob Blair went wire-to-wire for the Compliance Fire & Safety Pro National Baby Grands win while Justin Blake scored another triumph in the Hoosier Tire Road Warriors.
Austin Fullerton found himself up front when the green flag waved on the headlining O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models and their 30-lap main event. Young guns Matt Wallace and Cole Williams quickly worked their way through the field and raced to the front together, catching Fullerton and second place Joe Ross with eight laps in the books to make it a four-car fray up front. Wallace and Ross made contact a lap later, allowing the teenagers to both jump up a spot.
Williams turned up the pressure on Wallace for the bridesmaid's position, tapping his rear-end and peeking to the inside on the entrance to each corner, as Ross closed up behind them once again. As the battle for second heated up, Fullerton continued to extend his lead to five car lengths. Williams finally used a power move on the exit of turn two to get around his rival with 12 laps remaining. A caution with ten laps to go bunched the field back up and erased Fullerton's sizable advantage.
On the restart, mayhem ensued as Williams made contact with Fullerton, sending the leader around. Most of the field managed to avoid the 17-year-old's car sitting in the middle of the track before Terry Limberopoulos made heavy contact with him on the backstretch, sending both drivers to the pits for the evening. Matt Wallace was the benefactor of the melee, inheriting the top spot. Two laps later, Lil' J.C. Newell went for a solo trip through the spin cycle as Williams charged through the field and back to fourth in just under two laps.
When the green flag waved, Wallace worked his way to a comfortable cushion as Williams got around Vanzandt for third. A Brennan Willard spin brought out the yellow with just two laps to go, but Wallace was strong enough to survive the late-race caution and collect his second win of the season.
"We held on there at the end," Wallace said in the winner's circle. "We got a few points on Cole and we need to keep doing that until the end of the year."
Joe Ross held off the charging Williams for the runner-up spot while Vanzandt notched a solid fourth place result. Brian Brown rounded out the top five.
Racing to the front in the 15-lap Monster Energy Sportsman feature was the 'Gentle Giant', J.C. Newell, as Randy Besser and Austin Johnson broke through the United States Super Truck traffic into second and third respectively. Points leader Robert Reeves rocketed past Johnson and into third as the race cruised past the halfway point. He blew past Besser for the second spot and needed only one lap to track down Newell, peeking to the inside to let the veteran know he was there. With just three laps to go, Reeves made the inside work and got around Newell for the lead and the win. Newell settled for second while Besser took a podium spot in third.
The Compliance Fire & Safety Pro National Baby Grands got off to a slow start after multiple starts and early cautions hampered the 15-lap event, slowing down the proceedings in a major way. When racing finally got underway in earnest, it was Jacob Blair racing to the front in dominant fashion, cruising to a comfortable wire-to-wire win, his first of the season at Missouri's only asphalt oval in 2013 for the touring series. Austin Johnson, who had won the first two races of the year for the Baby Grands, settled for a hard fought second, edging out Jamie Koontz at the line.
Geoff Ledford raced to the early edge in the 15-lap Hoosier Tire Road Warriors headliner as points leader Justin Blake busted through the 11-car field with little time wasted, assuming the bridesmaid's position on lap two and quickly cutting Ledford's lead in half. As the race moved past halfway, Blake jumped to the inside of Ledford and tried to take the top spot away. Ledford resisted, forcing Blake to the bottom of the track, but the top dog in the series had enough power to make the move stick as he raced by en route to his fourth win in a row, extending his points lead in the process. Ledford grabbed second while Aaron Wilke scored a podium finish in third.
Jordan Nisbett nabbed the top spot in the 12-lap Coca-Cola Chargers main event as points leader Jimmy Poindexter zoomed up to third on the opening lap. Poindexter used the slingshot momentum of the high side of the asphalt oval to get around Larry Hunter for second, erasing Nisbett's lead in the span of a lap. Using lapped traffic as a pick, Poindexter took control and paced the field to the white flag, fending off Nisbett's crossover move to hold on for his third straight win. Nisbett registered a season-best runner-up finish while Hunter came home third.
Racing returns to Missouri's only asphalt oval this Saturday night, July 27, as a quick turnaround awaits the headlining O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models in the seventh 'Kickin' Asphalt' program of the 2013 campaign, as they will be racing double features to make up for some of the early season rainouts. The Budweiser Modifieds highlight an exciting undercard while the Monster Energy Sportsman, Hoosier Tire Road Warriors and Coca-Cola Chargers will also be in action. Spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. with the green flag set to wave at 7:00 p.m. sharp on the evening's jam-packed slate of racing action, and fans can look forward to the same great prices with double the late model action!
Adults are just $10 in the Budweiser Fan deck or the Monster Energy Grandstands and only $15 on the Budweiser "Wild Side" with discounts for Seniors, Juniors and Military. Kids 10 & under are always FREE at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Limited eating is also available for some future events in the Central Bank VIP Suites.
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 - July 20, 2013
Race Results - O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models
1) Car # 3 Brennon Willard 1) Car # 67 Jimmy Vanzandt
2) Car # 42 Cole Rouse 2) Car # 46 Cole Williams 3) Car # 9 Tucker Cory 3) Car # 6 Matt Wallace
4) Car # 35 Steve Holt 4) Car # 15 JC Newell
5) Car # 27 Joe Ross 5) Car # 1 Brian Brown
6) Car # 47 Kaleb Allison 6) Car # 20 Austin Fullerton
7) Car # 07 Terry Limberopoulos
1) Car # 6 Matt Wallace Concord, NC
2) Car # 27 Joe Ross Kansas city, MO
3) Car # 46 Cole Williams Sellersburg, IN
4) Car # 67 Jimmy Vanzandt Springfield, MO
5) Car # 1 Brian Brown Strafford, MO
6) Car # 35 Steve Holt Strafford, MO
7) Car # 9 Tucker Cory Quincy, IL
8) Car # 15 JC Newell Stoutland, MO
9) Car # 47 Kaleb Allison Mexico, MO
10) Car # 3 Brennon Willard Sleeper, MO
11) Car # 42 Cole Rouse Fort Smith, AR
12) Car # 20 Austin Fullerton Chelsea, OK
13) Car # 07 Terry Limberopoulos Cuba, MO
Monster Energy Sportsman
1) Car # 6 Robert Reeves
2) Car # 22 Austin Johnson
3) Car # 84 JC Newell
4) Car # 21 Randy Besser
5) Truck # 75 Larry Turner
6) Car # 76 Jake Piel
7) Truck # 1 Eric Caudell
8) Car # 48 Jimmy Fohn
1) Car # 6 Robert Reeves Camdenton, MO
2) Car # 84 JC Newell (Gentle Giant) Decauterville, MO
3) Car # 21 Randy Besser Branson, MO
4) Car # 22 Austin Johnson Inola, OK
5) Truck # 1 Eric Caudell Piedmont, OK
6) Truck # 75 Larry Turner Tuttle, OK
7) Car # 76 Jake Piel Webster Grove, MO
8) Car # 48 Jimmy Fohn Eldridge, MO
Hoosier Tire Road Warriors
Heat 1 Heat 2
1) Car # 00 Michael Juergensen 1) Car # 15 Justin Blake
2) Car # 8 Aaron Wilke 2) Car # 21 Les Mallard
3) Car # 9 Chuck Higdon 3) Car # 45 Geoffrey Ledford
4) Car # 34 Caston Jones 4) Car # 0 Christopher Johnson
5) Car # 1 Gary Barrows DNS Car # 52 Alan Ellis
6) Car # 27 Nick Cherry DNS Car # 99 Riley Sharp
1) Car # 15 Justin Blake Lebanon, MO
2) Car # 45 Geoffrey Ledford Neosho, MO
3) Car # 8 Aaron Wilke
4) Car # 21 Les Mallard Fair Grove, MO
5) Car # OO Michael Juergensen Lebanon, MO
6) Car # 34 Caston Jones Belle, MO
7) Car # 52 Allen Ellis Strafford, MO
8) Car # 9 Chuck Higdon Strafford, MO
9) Car # 99 Riley Sharp Springfield, MO
10) Car # 27 Nick Cherry Springfield, MO
11) Car # 1 Gary Barrows Versailes, MO
DNS Car # 0 Chris Johnson Lebanon, MO
1) Car # 95 Jordan Nisbett
2) Car # 5 Jimmy Poindexter
3) Car # 74 Larry Hunter
4) Car # 89 Patrick McKnight
5) Car # 10 Jason Walls
6) Car # 7 Amanda Anderson
7) Car # 37 Jary Hudson
8) Car # 44 Ben White
DNS Car # 11 Lauren Buhr
1) Car # 5 Jimmy Poindexter Jr Willard, MO
2) Car # 95 Jordan Nisbett Lebanon, MO
3) Car # 74 Larry Hunter Laquey, MO
4) Car # 89 Patrick McKnight Rolla, MO
5) Car # 10 Jason Walls St. James, MO
6) Car # 11 Lauren Buhr Neosho, MO
7) Car # 7 Amanda Anderson Lebanon, MO
8) Car # 37 Jary Hudson Edgar Springs, MO
DNS Car # 44 Ben White Rolla, MO
Compliance Fire & Safety Baby Grands
1) Car # 22 Austin Johnson
2) Car # 81 Jacob Blair
3) Car # 44 Jamie Koontz
4) Car # 33 Zack Morgan
5) Car # 16 Mark Bartley
6) Car # 20 Jodi Moore
7) Car # 57 Josh Conway
1) Car # 81 Jacob Blair Kansas City, MO
2) Car # 22 Austin Johnson Tulsa, OK
3) Car # 44 Jamie Koontz Rogers, Ar
4) Car # 33 Zack Morgan Lebanon, MO
5) Car # 20 Jodi Moore
6) Car # 16 Mark Bartley Pineville, MO
7) Car # 57 Josh Conway Rogers, AR
Lebanon I-44 Speedway is located four miles east of the Lebanon city limits on Historic Route 66 and Missouri's only NASCAR sanctioned facility. Patrons using Interstate 44 may take Exit 135 and then drive approximately one mile east on Route 66 to the track's main entrance. Additional information about this event, including a full schedule of events, the rules being enforced, and a purse distribution, will be released on the facility's official website, www.i44speedway.net in the coming weeks. Keep up with news about Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Lebanon-I-44-Speedway, and on Twitter (@i44Speedway).