LEBANON, MO - NASCAR's Kenny Wallace will be race ready to compete Thursday night at The "High-Banks" of The Lebanon I-44 Speedway as the speedway presents The 2 nd Annual Roper Family Classic presented by Whelen Engineering as all 5 of the NASCAR Whelen All American classes will be in competition as the speedway pays tribute to the Roper Family that includes Dean, Tony, Dale, and Dale Jr. All 4 of the Ozarks racing family members competed at I-44 several times in their historic careers.
Wallace, one of the most well-known drivers and commentators in NASCAR is known for his high energy level whether it be behind the wheel or the microphone. Wallace competed last season at I-44 in The O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models during Military Appreciation Night and finished 2 nd to current track point leader JC Newell as a late caution might have kept Wallace from a victory that night after starting towards the rear of the pack. "The Roper family is very well known and very much respected. It is truly an honor to be competing in the event honoring the family" said Kenny. Wallace, again will be competing in the Pro Late Model Class and will attempt to become the 8 th different feature winner in the class this season. The high-light of the evening will be a Budweiser Modified 54 lap feature along with a full show of O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models, Hoosier Tire Street Stocks, Coca-Cola Chargers and Sportsman.
Points are tight in all five classes. Currently Stoutland's JC Newell leads defending track champion Kaleb Allison by only 73 markers with the race for third through ninth is only separated by 87 points. While Wallace is originally from Rolla in his younger years before moving to the St. Louis area, another St. Louis area hard charger, 15 year old Kyle Donahue ranks third just 15 points ahead of Brennon Willard. Donahue, the 2014 NASCAR Missouri State Rookie of the Year has 1 win and is coming off a strong second place finish to Cole Williams last Saturday night. Two Pro Late Model veteran drivers Jimmy Vanzandt and Terry Limberopoulos were involved in accidents last Saturday night and hope to be back in action Thursday night.
For the Budweiser Modifieds, winning The Roper Classic means everything to the class in which Dale Roper was a 3-time Track Champion on the asphalt. Fair Grove veteran Ricky Icenhower is the defending Roper Classic Champion and currently has 6 feature wins this season. Fair Grove drivers Stephen Counterman, David Bates, and Roderick Icenhower hope to claim the town's bragging rights in honor of The Fair Grove Family while current Modified point leader Tim Swearengin hopes to get his first win of the 2015 season. A 4 th and 5 th place feature finish in the last 2 features has the veteran looking for more this Thursday Night as current points runner-up Richard Lewis turned around a small slump before being involved in an incident. Another large group of drivers plan to enter the event on Thursday night looking to add their name to the list of winners of the Roper Family Classic.
Veteran racers from all classes hope to win on this special Thursday Night Thunder edition of NASCAR competition and current Sportsman point leader JC" The Gentle Giant" Newell has probably competed with Dale as much as any. JC enters Thursday Night with a small 23 point lead over Lebanon's Aaron Douglas. The hottest driver has been Grandson "Little JC" as he has captured 5 wins after a late start to the class. Jimmy Fohn was back running up front Saturday night and hopes to grab his 2 nd win of the season while Douglas also seemed to be back on track with his 3 rd place finish.
Hoosier Tire Street Stock point leader Jordan Nisbett will bring back several great memories on this night while he drives "The Terry Brumley" tribute car, as Dale and Dean both drove against Terry and that familiar paint scheme. Nisbett, who moved from the Charger class captured his forth feature of the season and holds a 182 point margin over Zack Morgan with several weeks remaining. "Papa Drake" Les Mallard had problems last week and dropped to 3 rd but knows that this is a special night and hopes to rebound for Fair Grove as Nick Cherry and Rick Sharp are in a tight battle for fourth in the standings. Six different winners out of 10 features continue to keep the crowd guessing each time the Hoosier Tire Street Stocks pull on the track.
Another tight battle in the Coca-Cola Chargers has Rolla's Ben White with only an eleven point lead over last week's winner Jimmy Poindexter. Poindexter has been keeping pace with heat race wins while White has 5 feature wins against Poindexter's 3. Jason Walls could be a key player to the title as the 2014 Champion has been running a limited schedule and is getting the car lined back out after a hard crash earlier this season. Nik Taylor has had several strong runs, Jesse Poindexter won his feature a couple of weeks ago while Japheth Nisbett, Cory Nutt, Larry Hunter, Mark Glorfeld and Luke Oster gaining speed each week and could very well help determine the outcome.
Grandstand, Fan Deck and VIP Suite gates along with the "Wildside" tier parking will open at 5PM with Racing action to begin at 7PM for this special "Thursday Night Thunder" event.