Sept. 17, 2012

by Jordan Kuehne

(LEBANON, Mo.) - The talk throughout this week around the only asphalt oval in Missouri is going to center around this Saturday night's inaugural 'High Banks 100' at the Lebanon I-44 Speedway, and rightfully so. With touring stars, local contenders, and around 30 O'Reilly Auto Parts ASA Late Models expected to be in attendance, the highest-paying show in over a decade of Mid-Missouri racing promises to be as incredible as anticipated. However, outside of the battle for the $2,000 top prize, there's going to be another war waged on the racetrack - this one centers around young gun Matt Wallace and veteran points leader Mike Slone as an the title and a potential ASA National Championship await the victor.

"This weekend's show is going to be amazing," said Lebanon I-44 Speedway Promoter Kevin Greven. "I'm not one for hyperbole or hype statements but this is as big as it gets for us. Mike (Slone) and Matt (Wallace) have put on an incredible show all season long and it all comes down to this - the biggest show at I-44 in over a decade, an expected 30 super late models in attendance, and huge championship implications with double points on the line. It's going to be something to behold, for sure."

Running alongside the O'Reilly Auto Parts ASA Late Models will be the Budweiser Modifieds and the Hardee's Sportsman, both with expanded paydays and extended features as well. After the event was rained out on Saturday, Sept. 1, Greven decided to heed the cries to add the track's two entry-level divisions and thus, the Hoosier Tire Road Warriors and Coca-Cola Chargers will also be in action this weekend as all five ASA Racing classes make their final appearances of the year on the 3/8th-mile asphalt oval. Every series besides the ASA Late Models have already determined their champions so money, pride, a trophy are on the line this weekend.

This unique event only came about after I-44 and the ASA Midwest Tour were forced to cancel their scheduled event on the same night, paving the way for Greven to put together a show centered around his local talent while potentially attracting big-time Midwestern drivers and young guns in the process. With the additional three weeks of downtime for drivers around the Midwest and Southeast to finish up their racing seasons at their home tracks, Greven is expecting a strong turnout of talent and machines for Saturday's showcase.

"With the way everything worked out, we couldn't have asked for much more," said Greven. "We've been able to put something together for a lot of local drivers while securing commitments from strong contenders like Cole Williams at the same time. I-44 fans are going to get to see drivers like Ricky Icenhower race that they haven't had the opportunity to see in action in an ASA Late Model this year. It's our showcase event and fans will be treated to quite the show this weekend."

Drivers will have had two weeks to prepare for the event after rain forced the cancelation of Saturday night's scheduled event. They'll likely need it as they prepare to go 100 laps on the high banks of I-44. Slone, currently clinging to a 185-point edge, will need a strong run with double points in play if he hopes to fend off the late-season charge of the 16-year-old Wallace on the way to collecting a potential ASA National Championship to go with what would be a second track championship.

Spectator gates are slated to open at 5 p.m and fans can look forward to the final "Budweiser Pre-Race Party" before the first green flag waves at 7:30 p.m. Lebanon I-44 Speedway offers an alcohol-free grandstand, featuring aluminum seating with seat-backs, along with tier parking for cars, pickup trucks and RV's where patrons may park, tailgate and view the races. Known amongst I-44 race fans as the 'Budweiser Wild Side', beer may be brought in by fans to the tier parking areas, while full food and non-alcoholic beverage concessions are available in both the grandstands and tier parking, along with a souvenir and track apparel stand.

Admission prices are a bargain at $20 for Adults, ages 16 and older, in the grandstands while Adult admission on the 'Budweiser Wild Side' costs just $25. Discounted admission will be offered in both locations for Military members with an ID present, as well as Seniors (ages 65 and older) and Juniors (ages 11-15), and Children (ages 10 and younger) will be admitted for free. A grandstand Family Pass for two Adults and two Juniors plus any number of Children is available for $45, while six Adults entering in the same vehicle on tiered parking will be admitted to the 'Budweiser Wild Side' for $120. Fans can visit any local O'Reilly Auto Parts location to pick up advance tickets at a discounted price.

"We think that for what fans are going to be seeing on Saturday night, ticket prices are a real bargain," said Greven. "We're confident that fans will get their money's worth and then some this weekend. It's hard for me to imagine more drama and strong racing than the ASA Late Models have in store for us, and fans are going to really get to see short-track racing at its finest this Saturday at Lebanon I-44 Speedway."

Lebanon I-44 Speedway is located four miles east of the Lebanon city limit on Historic Route 66. 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 the track's 2012 'Kickin' Asphalt' racing schedule may be found on the facility's official website, www.i44speedway.net , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Lebanon-I-44-Speedway , and on Twitter (@i44Speedway).

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