The NASCAR Sportsman class is just one tight points battle still to be determined in 2015. Photos by I-44 Speedway Photos and Victoria Hooker
LEBANON, MO - The competition level for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the "High-Banks" of the Lebanon I-44 Speedway in all classes is at an all-time high as fans come wondering who is going home with the win each Saturday Night in 2015.
This Saturday Night will be no different as Nashville Fairgrounds Pro Late Model point leader Willie Allen will be competing with The O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models and looking to become the 9th different feature winner out of 13 features this season. Allen, not only is the current point leader over former I-44 Champion and 3-time feature winner Cole Williams, but was the 2007 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year and has always been considered one of the top drivers from the Nashville area because of his ability to get the feel for what a car needs.
In The O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models only current point leader JC Newell of Stoutland and 2013 Champion Cole Williams have more than 1 feature win as both drivers have 3 feature wins. Single feature wins have been recorded by defending Missouri State NASCAR Champion Kaleb Allison along with Paul Jepsen, brothers Kyle and Kevin Donahue, Payton Lucas and former 2-time track Champion Mike Slone as several top weekly drivers are looking for a win. 12 different drivers have recorded heat race wins this season as Steve Holt and Kyle Donahue each have 5, while 2014 Sportsman Champion Paul Jepsen has 4. Newell has gathered 3 heat race wins while Allison, Jake Griffin of Quincy, Ill., Brian Brown, Cole Williams, and Kevin Donahue have 2 wins each. Others that have recorded heat race wins in 2015 include Jimmy Vanzandt, Josh Woody and Terry Limberopolous. Newell leads Allison in both the Track and State Standings with the September 19th Championship date getting closer.
The Budweiser Modifieds have seen 4 different feature winners as Ricky Icenhower leads the pack after collecting his 7th victory last weekend while former 3-time and Roper Classic winner David Bates has 3 features with defending Champion Stephen Counterman with 2 wins. Richard Lewis has kept it from being a Fair Grove sweep as he has 1 feature win. Five different drivers have claimed heat race wins with Icenhower leading the pack with 9. Counterman has 6 as Bates has gathered 5. Current point leader Tim Swearengin has gathered 4 despite being shutout in features to this point in 2015. Toby Harden grabbed a heat race win last week in his first night in the car.
The Sportsman point's battle is as tight as the level of competition. 5 different drivers have feature events with 2012 Champion "Little" JC Newell leading the pack with 7 wins out of 12 feature events. Point leader "The Gentle Giant" JC Newell has 2 wins while point's runner-up Aaron Douglas, Jimmy Fohn, and veteran Ken Dickinson have 1 feature win a piece. Each of these drivers also have won qualifying heats as Little Newell has 6, Grandpa Newell with 3, Douglas with 2 while Fohn and Dickinson with 1 each.
The Hoosier Racing Tire Street Stocks rank right with the Pro Late Models for competition level and different winners. Out of 13 features this season, 6 different winners have feature events with current point leader Jordan Nisbett leading the pack with 6 hard earned victories in the "Bumblebee" Camaro. Zack" The Z-Man" Morgan and "Papa Drake" Les Mallard each have 2 wins while single features have went to David Douglas, Aaron Wilke and former 3-time Street Stock Champion Chris Nichols helped celebrate 20 years of I-44 Pavement racing with a feature win as well. Eleven different drivers have gathered heat race wins as Lebanon's David Douglas leads that pack with 6 checkered flags while Morgan is close behind with 5. Shawn Schmidt in the "Grocery Getter Station-Wagon" and Les Mallard each has 3. Young lady driver Lauren Buhr and point leader Nisbett each have 2 with single wins going to Aaron Wilke, Chris Johnson, former 2-time track champion Rick Sharp, Chris Nichols and Mike Juergensen.
The point battle in The Coca-Cola Chargers is as tight as the stat column. Even though only 4 different drivers have feature wins, the level of competition exceeds all. 2013 Champion Jimmy Poindexter has 6 feature wins while point leader Ben White has gathered 5. 2014 champion Jason Walls is running a limited schedule but still has 1 feature and is a player in the Championship Chase. Jesse Poindexter has the other heat win. 8 different drivers have recorded heat race wins as Poindexter leads the stats here with 7 and White has 5. Walls has 4 heat race wins and Jesse Poindexter has 3. Japheth Nesbitt has struggled some this season with mechanical issues but has 2 wins while single wins go to Larry Hunter, Nik Taylor and Mark Glorfeld.
This Saturday night the first heat race will start at 6PM while the gates will open at 4PM as Caddy Shack Golf Carts of Camdenton present NASCAR Whelen Short Track action at The "High-Banks" of Missouri's only active Asphalt Oval and NASCAR sanctioned facility. This Saturday Night action also includes the Baby Grands and includes an autograph session in the pits after the races.
For more information visit the website at www.i44speedway.net and be sure to like us at Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Facebook for updated information on Missouri's only NASCAR sanction facility and the only weekly asphalt track within 300 miles.