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Lebanon I-44 Speedway

Lebanon I-44 Speedway

Lebanon I-44 Speedway

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Lebanon I-44 Speedway9/14/2019Pro Late Models
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway9/14/2019Modifieds
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway8/31/2019Pro Late Models
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway8/31/2019Big 10 Late Model Series
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway8/10/2019Pro Late Models
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway8/10/2019Modifieds
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway8/10/2019Big 10 Late Model Series
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Ozark Pro Late Modelsas of 7/3/2019
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Lebanon I-44 Speedway

Driver Profile

2018 Year in Review

10/1/2018
2018 Year in Review

2018 was one of the most exciting seasons we have had on the High-Banks of Lebanon I-44 Speedway. We saw many first-time winners and extremely tight Championship battles in several of our weekly divisions this season. The new 1/5-mile inner track and the introduction of the Big 10 Late Model series gave fans a reason to come back each week. Join us as we reflect on the 2018 racing season.
Chargers
The first night of racing for all divisions was May 5th and at this time the inner track was not yet complete. On May 5th, we got to see two drivers make their very first starts at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Crystal Blake and Dennis Williams duked it out throughout the night and finished the first feature of the year in what looked like a tie! Crystal Blake had the advantage on Williams though and took the first win of 2018 and the points lead. The next event was a double feature night due to a rain out the week before. The new 1/5-mile inner track was now complete, and the 4-cylinder street cars came out of the wood works to try their hand on the new short track. On this night, two drivers stood out above the rest. Brothers, William Garner and Shannon Geller, were making their first asphalt starts that night after the two had been dominating on the dirt at the Midway Speedway just down the road. Garner and Geller each picked up a feature win that night. Garner and Geller kept finishing up front each week slowly reeling in Crystal Blake in the Championship. Around the halfway point in the season a new name found Victory Lane. Chris Albright had a couple of good runs picking up two feature wins, but a blown motor took him out of the hunt for the Championship. After Albright’s hot streak, two new drivers who entered the Championship later in the season each picked up a win. Those drivers were Mollie Eades and Mason Mundy. Coming into the final round, the Championship was between Crystal Blake and William Garner. Whoever won was going to go home as the 2018 Champion and Rookie of the Year. The final feature of the year went to William Garner allowing him to pass Crystal Blake in the Championship by just two points. Garner finished his season with four feature wins, the Championship, and the Rookie of the Year title. Crystal Blake ended up second in the and Shannon Geller finished third in the Championship chase.
Big 10 Late Model Series
The Big 10 Late Model Series is a brand-new series that was created to take Late Model racing back to it’s roots, and it did not disappoint! On opening night veteran Ken Dickinson and Jimmy Fohn battled it out, but Jimmy Fohn was able to take the very first Big 10 Late Model Feature win. The next event, double feature night, Dickinson came out swinging in the fist feature and picked up his first win of 2018 in the Big 10 Late Model division. In feature number two, Jimmy Fohn was looking to carry the points lead for another week and drove a hard race picking up his second win of the season and stretching his Championship lead by a few points. Just one race later, another new winner found his way to Victory Lane. The Rookie, Dylan Bates, picked up his first career win after finishing third in all three of the previous features. This consistency put Bates in the hunt for the Championship. Jimmy Fohn answered back the next week picking up another win. Justin Blake showed speed this night finishing in the runner-up position showing that he had what it takes to win a feature. The next week, Blake’s speed took him right to the front picking up his first win of 2018. Jimmy Fohn had a rough night and was not able to finish the feature losing several points to Bates for the Championship. The next week, Bates saw an opportunity to grab the points lead and capitalized. Bates picked up his 2nd win of the season and took the Championship lead as Fohn was unable to finish his second feature in a row. Jimmy Fohn’s luck finally broke in the following weeks as he won two features in a row closing the points gap back up. Coming into the final night of racing Jimmy Fohn and Dylan Bates were separated by just a handful of points. When the green flag dropped, Fohn moved to the front as quick as he could, but Bates followed him closely. Justin Blake was able to pass Bates early taking away his shot at the Championship. Blake was then able to reel in Fohn and pass him with the laps winding down. Justin Blake was able to pick up his 2nd win of the season to lock him into the third position in the Championship as Jimmy Fohn was crowned the inaugural Big 10 Late Model Division Champion. Dylan Bates was able to hold onto second in the Championship and also earned the Big 10 Late Model Division Rookie of the Year title.
Modifieds
The Ground-Pounding Modifieds returned to the High-Banks of Lebanon I-44 Speedway in full force on May 5th. A familiar face found Victory Lane that night as Ricky Icenhower showed his competitors why he is the defending Champion. Last year’s Street Stock Champion, Michael Juergenson, showed speed on opening night as well as he looked to challenge Icenhower for the 2018 title. On double feature night, Icenhower picked up another win with Michael Juergenson hot on his heels. In the second feature, a great battle ensued between Icenhower and Juergenson as they traded paint through turns one and two. A few laps later, contact was made, ultimately sending both drivers to the rear of the field. This put young driver, Richard Lewis, in the cat bird seat to pick up his first win of 2018. Lewis capitalized and took home the big check hoping to carry the momentum into the next race. At the next race, Lewis carried his momentum, but it was still not enough to beat Icenhower. Ricky Icenhower picked up his second win of the season with Richard Lewis finished second. Icenhower then went on a tear winning the remaining six races and taking home the 2018 Modified Division Track Championship. Modified rookie, Michael Juergenson, had a solid season racking up several second-place finishes and led several laps throughout the season. Juergenson ended up second in the Championship battle earning him the 2018 Modified Division Rookie of the Year title. Richard Lewis rounded out the top three in the Championship just two points behind Juergenson.
Street Stocks
If you were to ask a fan what they thought was the most exciting division to watch this season, they would most likely say the Street Stocks. The 3250lb 70s and 80s model street cars were often seen three wide down the backstretch and sideways in the turns using every bit of the race track and on opening night, one driver did this better than the rest. Jordan Nisbett, the 2017 Champion, picked up where he left off charging to the front and picking up the first win of 2018. Two weeks later on double feature night, Brock Johnson was able to battle his way to the front picking up his first win of the season. In the second feature, Aaron Douglas decided he wanted a piece of Victory Lane and drove his race car nearly from the rear to pick up the win. The next week, Nisbett’s points lead was slimming after two new drivers won on double feature night. Nisbett was able to answer back, after a hard battle with Tony Johnson, picking up his 2nd win adding a small cushion to his Championship lead. On July 7th, Nisbett was unable to finish feature leaving the door wide open for a new winner. Tony Johnson drove from sixth to first to pick up his first win of 2018. Johnson carried his momentum from the week before picking up another win going back to back. Nisbett knew he needed to grab another victory if he wanted to be the 2018 Champion and at the next race, he made it happen. Nisbett picked up win number three and put himself in a great position for the Championship. The next week, Brock Johnson’s brother, Ben Johnson, picked up his first win of 2018 over veteran Steve Shaw after a nail-biting feature. Two races remined as Nisbett held the Championship lead. Nisbett picked up another win in the second to last race of the season securing the 2018 Championship one race early. Coming into the final night all Nisbett needed to do was start the feature to be crowned the 2018 Champion and at the end of the night, he accomplished this task picking up back to back Street Stock Division Championships. The last night of racing was exciting for more reasons than Nisbett’s Championship. The fans got the opportunity to see Ricky Icenhower’s son, Trevor Icenhower, pick up his very first career win in the Street Stock Division. Trevor had several top 3 finishes throughout the season but was finally able to pick up the win in the last race of the season. Trevor finished 2nd in the Championship and claimed the Rookie of the Year title. The Veteran, Steve Shaw, finished third in the Championship after another solid season.
Pro Late Models
The Pro Late Model Division had one of the most exciting seasons we have seen in several years. There were seven different winners throughout 10 races this season. The first driver to pick up a win this year was Kennie Dickinson. Dickinson came out swinging on opening night picking up the feature win over Tim Swearengin. Dickinson entered double feature night with the points lead with Swearengin hot on his heels. Swearengin picked up the first feature win that night taking the Championship lead Dickinson. In the second feature, the Carmichael racing team swept the night picking up the win with driver Bobby Russ Woods. Dickinson beat Swearengin in this feature taking his Championship lead back before Swearengin had time to get comfortable. On June 16th, Ken Dickinson did it again picking up his 2nd win of the season and finally was able to put some points between himself and Swearengin. The next event was the annual Salute to 75 in honor of the late Larry Phillips. This race brought in several drivers from across the country. After a wild and chaotic feature, former Track Champion, Cole Williams, from Indiana finally won the coveted Salute to 75. Another former Champion, Kaleb Allison, finished second that night driving for the Carmichael racing team. Dickinson had a very rough race that night as he was unable to finish the feature handing the Championship lead back to Swearengin, but the gap was very slim. On July 21st, Steve Holt drove the wheels off his No. 35 Pro Late Model and dominated the night picking up a heat race win and his first feature win of the season. Dickinson was able to beat Swearengin this night tightening up the Championship battle even more. At the next race, last year’s Pro Late Model Rookie of the Year, Jake Piel, returned after a one race hiatus due to a hard crash in the Salute to 75. Piel had been winless in the Pro Late Model division until this night. Piel took control of the race early while Ken Dickinson charged through the field on his way to the front. Dickinson passed Piel for the lead around the halfway point, but Piel decided he did not want to let this win go. Piel battled hard with Dickinson for several laps and picked up his very first Pro Late Model win. Tim Swearengin had big trouble as his engine expired early in the race, this allowed Dickinson to pull away from Swearengin in the Championship battle. The next week, Steve Holt was still hungry after his win a few races back and charged from 8th place all the way to the front picking up his second win of 2018. Jimmy Vanzandt finished 2nd this night as he quietly gained points on the Championship leaders of Dickinson and Swearengin. With two races left, Swearengin was running out of time to catch Dickinson in the Championship, so he did what he had to do. Swearengin picked up his second win of the season and gained several points on Dickinson going into the final night of competition. The Championship was on the line between Dickinson, Swearengin and Vanzandt coming into the final race and Vanzandt was as motivated as he could be. The top three drivers in the Championship started first, second, and third giving the fans the shootout they had been waiting for. Swearengin took control of the race early as Vanzandt followed him past Dickinson. At the halfway point, Vanzandt made his way around Swearengin for the lead. Dickinson also passed Swearengin shuffling him back to third. Steve Holt then worked his way to the front and into second as the caution flag was displayed. The final race of 2018 was set to finish with a green, white, checkered. Vanzandt controlled the restart, but Holt dove to the inside. Holt did not make it stick allowing Vanzandt to pick up an emotional first win of 2018. Dickinson and Swearengin finished close enough to Vanzandt that the Championship leaderboard did not change. Ken Dickinson was crowned the 2018 Pro Late Model Champion. Tim Swearengin finished the year second in the championship and Jimmy Vanzandt ended up third. Ryu Taggart showed top 5 speed all season with a few top 3 finishes which earned him the title of the 2018 Pro Late Model Rookie of the Year.
The 2018 Lebanon I-44 Speedway racing season was one we will not soon forget. The 2019 season is set up to be even better as several drivers will be looking for redemption after coming up short in the Championship battle this year. The 2018 awards banquet will be held on Saturday, January 12th, 2019 at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield Missouri. We want to thank all of you for supporting the track each weekend and we hope to see all of you in 2019 for another great year on the High-Banks of Lebanon I-44 Speedway. To keep up with track news and updates throughout the off-season be sure to like our Facebook page and check out our website at i44speedway.net.
By Dylan Bates

Article Credit: Dylan Bates