Sanford Survives En Route to His First Late Model Win at I-44 Speedway
LEBANON I-44 SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS 5/19/12
(LEBANON, Missouri, Blake Sanford didn't draw it up this way. When he pictured his first O'Reilly Auto Parts ASA Late Model victory, the young gun probably didn't envision
half of the 14-car field being caught up in two early incidents or a number of cautions erasing his large leads. In the end, it didn't matter as the St. Charles native broke
through and maneuvered to victory lane on Laclede County Area Schools Night at the Races, Saturday night, May 19.
In other feature action, David Bates dominated the competition for his second feature win in the Budweiser Modifieds while Lil' J.C. Newell scored his first feature win in the
Hardee's Sportsman in style, passing his grandpa in what proved to be a special moment. Caston Jones jolted the Coca-Cola Chargers and extended his points lead after grabbing a
third feature trophy in four weeks of ASA action at the only asphalt oval in Missouri. Steve Shaw surged past Les Mallard and fended off the previously undefeated Dustin Reeves
for the Hoosier Tires Road Warrior checkers.
A wild and wooly opening circuit marred the beginning of the 30-lap main event for the O'Reilly Auto Parts ASA Late Models as Jim Reaves was sent for an unplanned ride into the
pit entrance. Points leader Mike Slone, 'Jammin' Jimmy Vanzandt and Terry Limberopoulos were also collected in the mayhem as the 14-car field quickly thinned itself out.
When action got back underway, Steve Holt hustled to the lead on lap one but was shuffled to the outside groove of the 3/8-mile oval on the next circuit, stacking up the field
and leaving Crispin Beaver's late model with nowhere to go. Beaver's attempt to evade Holt's slowing machine proved disastrous as the North Carolina young gun spun in front of
the field and caught up numerous machines in the melee including Slone, Limberopoulos, Austin Fullerton, Ken Dickinson, and Holt.
Slone, looking to maintain his points lead, survived his second incident in the opening laps and returned to the back of the field with Dickinson and Fullerton in tow. Young
Blake Sanford soared past Holt on the restart and eased away from Dale Roper Jr. as racing began in earnest.
Behind the leaders, Brian Brown and Matt Wallace engaged in a duel for the final podium spot as Wallace looked high and low for a line around the venerable veteran. The third
caution of the event halted the proceedings with 16 laps remaining after Jimmy Vanzandt looped around in turn two and Jeremy Manes helplessly careened into his machine, erasing
Sanford's solid lead and ending both drivers nights on the hook in the process.
After a lengthy delay to clean up the track, Sanford picked up where he left off, breaking away from Dale Roper Jr. and building a five car-length advantage with 14 laps to go.
The race was once again stopped three circuits later after Brian Brown came to a halt on the frontstretch due to a flat tire.
Sanford had no issues breaking free of the pack on the restart and quickly built a straightaway edge over Roper Jr. and Wallace as they battled for the bridesmaid's position.
The final laps evaporated into the muggy May evening and Sanford survived the carnage to notch his first late model victory.
"This is amazing," said Sanford after his breakthrough win. "The guy I was worried about the most was my good friend Mike Slone but I kept it clean and made it work out
Wallace worked his way around Roper Jr. and scored a career-high runner-up finish. Roper Jr. scored a podium finish in third while Mike Slone fought through a rough night to
hold onto his points edge after a fourth place effort. Brennon Willard scored a top five with his fifth place result.
The beginning of the 20-lap Budweiser Modifieds headliner looked much like the finish of those in previous weeks as David Bates burst into the lead on the second lap. While
Bates turned on the afterburners and put his machine on cruise control, Tyler Scott maneuvered his way past Rocky Rash and inherited the runner-up position with 16 circuits to
As the race rolled through the halfway mark, Bates began lapping traffic and Scott, 'The Nixa Nightmare', tried to reel in the veteran. Action in the back of the field was much
more heated between Stephen Counterman and Payton Lucas. Lucas eventually emerged with the fourth place spot but it was all David Bates on a picturesque evening.
Bates led virtually wire-to-wire en route to his second feature win of the season in the class as he continues to rebound from an opening week wreck that put him in a hole in
the point standings.
"We're just trying to be consistently fast," said Bates after his victorious effort. "I feel like the rest of the field is slowly getting faster and I think we still have a few
more tenths in this machine too."
Tyler Scott maintained his points lead and came home second while Rocky Rash managed an impressive third place effort. Payton Lucas and Stephen Counterman finished fourth and
J.C. Newell nabbed the top spot in the 15-lap Hardee's Sportsman headliner. His grandson, Lil' J.C. Newell, wasted no time moving up to second and making it a family affair up
An early caution for a spin by heat race winner Darin Owen paused proceedings on the second lap and bunched the field back up. The elder J.C. Newell raced to the lead on the
restart but his grandson crept close and stole the top spot with 11 laps remaining as Aaron Douglas navigated through a tight pack into third. A straightaway later, Douglas
held the bridesmaid's position and quickly set his sights toward Lil' J.C. Newell.
Douglas' efforts were aided by another yellow for a solo spin in turn two with six laps to go. The 15-year-old Newell put nothing to chance when the green flag waved, rocketing
to a vast edge that was too much for Douglas to overcome and scoring his first feature win. The teenager extended his points lead in the process and celebrated his Wednesday
birthday a bit early.
"It feels great to get that first win," said Newell in victory lane. "To pass my hero (grandpa J.C. Newell) to do it is amazing."
Douglas settled for a runner-up finish as Dale Roper Jr. finished off his double duty with a third place result. Don Cloyd collected a fourth place effort while the elder J.C.
Newell rounded out the top five in fifth.
The Coca-Cola Chargers started their 15-lap main event in wild fashion with the each driver in the 12-car field trying to gain ground in the early stages and utilizing the
entire racing surface of Missouri's only asphalt oval. Caston Jones eventually emerged with the top spot on the third lap of the event, pushing past Paul Jepson on the entrance
of turn three and surviving turn four's "Calamity Corner" to escape unscathed.
As the race pushed past the halfway mark, Jones encountered lapped traffic and briefly surrendered handed the lead back to Jepson before driving back to the top spot. Jepson
continued to apply the pressure to Jones' back bumper, hounding him through the turns and peeking to the inside on the straightaways as he desperately looked for a route around
Despite his best efforts, Jepson came up a bit short as Jones grabbed his third win of the young season and extended his healthy edge in the point standings.
"I'm just trying to win," said Jones when asked about what it will take to win a championship. "Jepson was there every time I looked in my mirror but I was able to hold him
off. That lapped car should have been on the inside but it didn’t end up mattering much."
Nick Cherry grabbed a podium finish with his third place result while Larry Hunter added on to his heat race win with a fourth place effort. Jimmy Poindexter completed the top
five with a fifth place result.
Les Mallard muscled his way to the early lead in the 12-lap Hoosier Tires Road Warriors feature. While Mallard swiftly surged to a comfortable margin, Steve Shaw tried to hold
off the undefeated Dustin Reeves. With Reeves – holding all three feature wins in the division in 2012 – in tow, Shaw sliced into Mallard's lead and battled for the
As the race cruised past the halfway point, a three-way battle for the lead emerged as Shaw slowly but surely emerged with the lead with five circuits remaining. Shaw slipped
away to a three car-length edge and he needed every bit of it to fend off the advances of Reeves. Shaw had enough power under the hood though, escaping with the first feature
win by a driver other than Reeves.
"I just worked hard tonight," said Shaw in the winner's circle. "I kept it going and held on."
Reeves had to settle for a second place result as Mallard held on for a third place effort. Michael Juergensen and Gary Ball finished in fourth and fifth respectively.
Racing returns to Lebanon I-44 Speedway for a special Memorial Day Weekend show as another exciting "Kickin' Asphalt" program awaits fans in addition to a visit by the United
States Super Trucks. The first green flag waves at 7:30 p.m. with gates scheduled to open at 5 p.m.
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 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 of the facility's official website,
www.i44speedway.net, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Lebanon-I-44-Speedway, and on Twitter (@i44Speedway).
1. 21 Dickinson
2. 02 Brown
3. 45 Beaver
4. 18 Reaves
5. 67 Vanzandt
6. 7 Manes
7. 3 DNS -Willard
1. 77 Slone
2. 6 Wallace
3. 10 Roper Jr
4. 5 Sanford
5. 35 Holt
6. 20 Fullerton
7. O7 Limberopoulos
1. 5 Blake Sanford, St. Charles
2. 6 Matt Wallace, Concord, NC
3. 10 Dale Roper Jr, Fair Grove
4. 77 Mike Slone, Rolla
5. 3 Brennon Willard, Sleeper
6. 35 Steve Holt, Strafford
7. 20 Austin Fullerton, Chelsea, OK
8. 02 Brian Brown, Springfield
9. 21 Ken Dickinson, Lebanon
10. 7 Jeremy Manes, Nixa
11. 67 Jim Vanzandt, Fair Grove
12. 45 Crispen Beaver, Neosho
13. 07 Terry Limberopoulos, Long Beach, CA
14. 18 Jim Reaves, Strafford
1. 51 Kelley
2. 26 Lucas
3. 1 Rash
4. 44 Blackburn
5. 7 DNS Icenhower
1. 91 Bates
2. 57 Scott
3. 25 Counterman
4. 00 Johnson
1. 91 David Bates, Fair Grove
2. 57 Tyler Scott, Nixa
3. 1 Rocky Rash, Elkland
4. 26 Payton Lucas, Fair Grove
5. 25 Stephen Counterman, Fair Grove
6. 51 JD Kelley, Walnut Grove
7. 00 Chris Johnson, Lebanon
8. 44 Kevin Blackburn, Lebanon
9. 7 DNS Ricky Icenhower, Fair Grove
1. 7 Douglas
2. 10 Roper Jr
3. 15 Newell
4. 84 Newell
5. 36 Higdon
1. 25 Owen
2. 24 Cloyd
3. 00 DNS Higdon
1. 15 Lil JC Newell, Stoutland
2. 7 Aaron Douglas, Lebanon
3. 10 Dale Roper Jr., Fair Grove
4. 24 Don Cloyd, Fair Grove
5. 84 JC Newell, Camdenton
6. 36 Jon Higdon, Springfield
7. 25 Darin Owens, Halfway
8. 00 DNS Daulton Greven, Bolivar
9. 63 DNS Chuck Higdon, Springfield
1. 90 Shaw
2. 07 Lowrance
3. 00 Juergensen
4. 7 DNF Jones
1. 6 Reeves
2. 35 Ball
3. 21 Mallard
1. 90 Steve Shaw, Rogersville
2. 6 Dustin Reeves, Lebanon
3. 21 Les Mallard, Fair Grove
4. 00 Michael Juergensen, Lebanon
5. 35 Gary Ball, Lebanon
6. 07 Adam Lowrance, Lebanon
7. 7 DNF Shawn Jones, Belle
1. 74 Hunter
2. 7 Poindexter
3. 6 Lewis
4. 42 Nisbett
5. 11 Buhr
6. 51 Butts
1. 5 Poindexter
2. 27 Cherry
3. 34 Jones
4. 44 Jepsen
5. 1 Page
6. 30 Taylor
1. 34 Caston Jones, Belle
2. 44 Paul Jepsen, Rolla
3. 27 Nick Cherry, Springfield
4. 74 Larry Hunter, Laquey
5. 5 Jimmy Poindexter, Willard
6. 6 Richard Lewis, Willard
7. 7 Jesse Poindexter, Willard
8. 1 Amanda Page, Republic
9. 11 Lauren Buhr, Neosho
10. 42 Jordan Nisbett, Lebanon
11. 51 Jeff Butts
12. 30 DNF Billy Taylor, Willard