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Lebanon I-44 Speedway

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Lebanon I-44 Speedway

Driver Profile

Jimmy Fohn Collects Hardworkin’ 50 Victory

9/1/2018
Jimmy Fohn Collects Hardworkin’ 50 Victory

Lebanon I-44 Speedway promised the fans a thrilling night of racing last Saturday night with the Summer Shootout, and they did not disappoint! The Big 10 Late Model Hardworkin’ 50 highlighted the night, but the exciting 20-lap Charger feature and the Midwest Modifieds on the asphalt put on great shows as well. Local Emergency Personnel and First Responders also tried their hand on the little track in an exhibition race that brought the crowd to their feet.
Chargers
The Charger division rolled out for their first of two heat races with the No. 1 of Sarah Cunningham on the pole and Crystal Blake to her outside. Crystal Blake took the early lead and never looked back and picked up the heat race win with Will Garner finishing second and Shannon Geller in third. In heat race number two, Mason Mundy led the field to green with last week’s winner, Mollie Eades to his outside. Mundy took control of the race with Eades right behind him. The No. 44 of Chris Albright was able to make the pass on Eades and moved into the second position. At the line it was Mundy, Albright, and Eades rounding out the top 3. The field was now set for the 20-lap feature. Mundy was the pole-sitter once again with Crystal Blake on his outside. Mundy took the green flag and set the pace early. Blake tucked into the number two spot and waited to make her move. Behind her was Shannon Geller in the No. 71 and his brother Will Garner in the No. 7D. Geller held onto 3rd for the first 5 laps until his brother, Garner, moved into 3rd. Garner caught the lead duo and tried to make a move on Blake. On lap 14 contact was made sending Blake around forcing her to go to the rear of the field. So far, Mason Mundy has led every lap, but now Garner has moved into 2nd and is looking to make his move. Mundy was able to hold off Garner throughout the remaining 5 laps picking up his first career win. Garner finished in the second position and with a last lap pass on Shannon Geller, Chris Albright was able to finish in 3rd after losing a motor last week. Coming into the night Crystal Blake had a solid point lead, but the margin dwindled as Will Garner was able to finish 2nd closing the points gap down to just 7 points.
Big 10 Late Model Series Hardworkin’ 50!
Next up was the Hardworkin’ 50 for the Big 10 Late Models! In heat race number one, Nick Cherry and Jimmy Fohn made up the front row. Cherry rolled into turn one with the lead, but a spin brought out the yellow. Fohn was able to take the lead on the next restart with Dylan Bates in the number two spot. Around the halfway point, Bates spun out of turn 4 sending him to the rear of the field. Fohn kept the lead on the restart and went on to win while Bates made his way back up to second and Brandon Jordan finished third. In heat race number two, JC Newell and Justin Blake led the field to the green. Justin Blake took the early lead and Newell jumped into second. Blake maintained his lead as Newell and Aaron Douglas battled for the number two spot. Justin Blake was able to pick up the heat win, Newell held onto second, and Douglas rounded out the top three. The Big 10 Late Models were now set to do battle for 50 laps. Newell and Blake made up the front row. At the drop of the green, JC Newell took control of the race and Dylan Bates jumped into 2nd and Jimmy Fohn followed him into 3rd position. Newell continued to lead while Bates looked for a way around, but at the same time Fohn was looking for a way around Bates. Bates and Fohn ran side by side for 2nd for several laps. Fohn was able to squeeze past Bates for 2nd on lap 17 but at the same time contact was made between Justin Blake and Bates sending Bates around and ultimately moving both of them to the rear of the field in 8th and 9th positions and adding a little bit of drama. Newell continued to lead until lap 22 when Fohn was able to take the lead. Another caution came out on lap 23 which allowed Aaron Douglas and Dylan Bates to get around JC Newell and into the top 3. It was Fohn, Douglas and Bates in the top 3 with Blake looking to make a move in 4th. Blake and Bates battled hard for a couple laps until Blake was able to get around and into the top 3. Douglas and Blake then went to battle while Bates waited for one of them to make a mistake. The battle ensued for about 10 laps until Blake made the pass and moved into 2nd. 9 laps remained, and Jimmy Fohn was still in control. At the checkered flag it was Fohn, Blake and the Douglas rounding out the top 3 with Bates and Newell in 4th and 5th. Fohn was 2 points behind Bates in the Championship battle coming into the night, but a 4th place finish for Bates moved Fohn into the points lead by just a few points. This Championship battle is going to come down to the wire!
Modifieds
Next were the ground-pounding Modifieds! In the first heat race Chris Kerperien and Joe Bunkers brought the field to the green flag, but it was Richard Lewis who jumped to the early lead while Bunkers stayed in 2nd. Michael Juergenson made his way into second and tried to run down Lewis, but Lewis went on to win the heat race with Juergenson 2nd and Bunkers 3rd. In the second heat race Chris Nichols and Riley Sharp were on the front. At the end of lap one Nichols was in the lead with Ricky Icenhower right behind him. On lap 2, Icenhower was scored with the lead, but the next two laps Chris Nichols went back to the point. On lap 5, Icenhower got back around Nichols and led the remaining 3 laps to take the win in heat 2 with Nichols in 2nd and Sharp in 3rd. In the feature, Nichols and Bunkers made up the front row. At the drop of the green, Nichols darted into the early lead and Richard Lewis followed him into 2nd. Nichols and Lewis went to work and tried to build a gap between themselves and the pack. Back in the pack, last week’s feature winner, Ricky Icenhower, was going to work. Icenhower moved into 3rd on lap 5 and began to run down Nichols and Lewis until disaster struck on lap 10 as the leader, Chris Nichols, has a terminal problem with his car ending his chance of winning the feature and collecting the $600 Icenhower Bounty. The field was grouped back up and Richard Lewis was now in control of the race. Lewis led for another 4 laps until Ricky Icenhower took the lead and led the remaining 6 laps. Icenhower picked up his seventh consecutive victory and extended his points lead. Richard Lewis came home in 2nd place and Michael Juergenson rounded out the top 3. Juergenson leads Richard Lewis by just 4 points for 2nd place in the Modified Championship with only one race left!
Street Stocks
The Street Stocks rolled out onto the High-Banks after the Modifieds and kept the excitement going. In the first heat race, Aaron Wilke and Breken Johnson were side by side on the front row at the drop of the green. Wilke led the first lap while Jordan Nisbett jumped up into second. By the end of lap 2, Nisbett stole the lead away and never looked back. Behind him, Tony Johnson and Trevor Icenhower were working through the field. Nisbett took the win with Tony Johnson in second and Icenhower in third. In the second heat race, Alex Shaw and Brock Johnson set the pace. Brock Johnson was scored with the lead at the end of the first lap and his brother, Ben Johnson, followed him into second. Brock tried to get away as Ben and Steve Shaw battled for the second position. Brock took the heat win and Steve Shaw was able to pass Ben Johnson on the last lap for second shuffling Ben Johnson back to third. The Street Stocks lined up for their feature with Aaron Wilke and Alex Shaw leading the field to the green flag. Wilke hammered down at the drop of the green and led the first lap with Jordan Nisbett in tow. Nisbett made his move on Wilke the next lap and stole the lead away. On lap 5, Trevor Icenhower worked his way past Wilke for the number two spot and was hoping to run down leader. Just two laps later, Ben Johnson got around Wilke and was now in third. Ben Johnson and Trevor Icenhower then went to battle. On lap 10 of 15, Ben Johnson was able to pass Icenhower, but Icenhower wasn’t giving up. The next lap, Icenhower made his way back around Ben Johnson taking back second position. Jordan Nisbett went on to pick up the feature win, Icenhower finished 2nd, and Ben Johnson came home third after an exhilarating battle in the top 3. Jordan Nisbett now leads the Championship battle with a healthy lead going into the final race. Trevor Icenhower sits in 2nd with a very slim lead over Steve Shaw.

Pro Late Models
Finally, the lighting-fast Pro Late Models took to the race track. In the first heat race, Terry Smith and Terry Limberopolous brought the field to the green flag. It was Limberopolous who got the jump from the outside and took the early lead. Ryu Taggart followed Limberopolous around the outside and moved into second while Jimmy Vanzandt tucked into third. At the checkered flag it was all Terry Limberopolous with Ryu Taggart second, and Jimmy Vanzandt third. In the second heat race, Tim Swearengin and Jake Piel sat on the front row. Swearengin had a great start and took control of the race early with Piel in tow. Behind them, Kennie Dickinson moved into third. Swearengin came away with the heat win showing us some of what he had in store for the feature. Piel finished second and Dickinson was third. Terry Smith and Tim Swearengin were on the front row for the 30-lap feature. When the green flag waved it was all Tim Swearengin with another fantastic start coming from the outside and taking the lead early. Jake Piel followed Swearengin on the top side and slid into second place and tried to track down Swearengin. Terry Limberopolous was looking very fast in third place until lap 13 when the caution flag flew due to Limberopolous spinning in the middle of turn one and two. Unfortunately, the No. 14R of Ryu Taggart had nowhere to go and ran into the side of Limberopolous ending Taggart’s night. The collision also knocked Limberopolous’s car out of adjustment taking away some of his speed throughout the remainder of the feature. After a string of cautions on the next restart, Swearengin was able to maintain control of the race with Piel in-tow. Last week’s winner, Steve Holt, started 9th in the feature, but after just 15 laps he had already worked his way into the top three and was tracking down the leaders. Nobody was able to catch Swearengin as he was able to pick up his 2nd feature win of the season. Jake Piel had a solid night coming home second and hard-charging Steve Holt rounded out the top three. Swearengin’s teammate, David Wood, also charged hard last weekend. Wood started tenth and patiently worked his way through the field finishing 4th with Championship leader Kennie Dickinson right behind him. Dickinson has just a 19-point lead over Swearengin and a 31-point lead over Vanzandt heading into the final round. Can one of those drivers steal the Championship from Dickinson?
Saturday night’s show also featured the dirt Midwest Modifieds on asphalt as well as a First Responders race starring local fire-fighters, EMTs, etc. In the Midwest Modified feature, Jesse Hawkins was able to survive the chaos on the 1/5-mile inner track and picked up the win. Hawkins was driving his car just like he was on dirt as he drifted around the corners. In the first Responders race, Robert Doublin of the Laclede County Police department paced the field and picked up the win over Sally Triplett (Mercy EMS), Ashley Poe (Lebanon Fire), Brandon Hill (Lebanon PD), and Cory Stauffer (Mo State HWY Patrol). The next event at Lebanon I-44 Speedway will be the Heritage Bank Night at the Races and will be held on September 15th. Champions will be crowned in all 5 divisions as well. If you haven’t had the chance to catch a race yet this season, here is your opportunity! The gates will open at 6:00PM and racing will start at 7:30PM. The racers will be driving harder than usual as they hunt for a coveted Track Championship!

Article Credit: Dylan Bates