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SLONE BESTS THE LATE MODEL FIELD IN SATURDAY’S FEATURE EVENT AT I-44 SPEEDWAY

05/13/2012

(LEBANON, Missouri)     Mike Slone, Jr. of Rolla bested a stellar field of O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Models Saturday night, driving his #77 Chevrolet Impala to a convincing back-to-front win on Lebanon I-44 Speedway’s 3/8-mile high-banked asphalt oval during ‘CaddyShack Golf Cars Night at the Races”.  Other ASA stock car feature race winners included Tyler Scott of Nixa in the Budweiser Modifieds, Camdenton’s Robert Reeves in Hardee’s Sportsman action, son Dustin Reeves, also of Camdenton, in the Hoosier Tire Road Warriors and Jesse Poindexter, Willard, Missouri, who took the checkers in the Coca-Cola Charger class.
 
Slone, who started the handicapped 30-lap Late Model feature in the back row due to his feature race win on the previous Saturday, took the initial green flag from 6-year-old Jayce Sanders, representing sponsor CaddyShack Golf Cars, and steadily passed for position, yet kept his potent Chevy out of trouble as he picked up spots on the racetrack.  With eleven laps remaining, Slone made a power move around the Ford Mustang of Springfield’s ‘Jammin’ Jimmy’ Vanzandt to grab the runner-up spot behind Chelsea, Oklahoma youngster Austin Fullerton.  Chopping the car lengths advantage down over the next few circuits, Slone moved into position directly behind Fullerton’s Ford, and with a mere six laps to the checkered flag, passed the hapless Fullerton in turn 3 and held on for the win.  Fullerton claimed second place, while a hard-charging Matt Wallace, Concord, NC, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR star and former I-44 champion Mike Wallace, had muscled his way into third place.  Last week’s Late Model winner of double-feature race # 2, Ken Dickinson of Camdenton, mired in traffic for most of the 30 quick laps, managed to pull off a fourth place finish, while Vanzandt faded to fifth.
 
“I have to compliment my fellow Late Model drivers tonight,” a happy Slone said in Monster Energy Victory Lane.  “They drove like pro’s, and really made me proud to be racing with them.  I have to thank my dad and my crew for making this car so good, so fast and so easy to drive tonight.  I couldn’t do it without them, and I’m really pleased with our performance as a team.”
 
The 20-lap Budweiser Modified feature race offered a classic on-track duel between two of the Fair Grove campaigners, young Payton Lucas and veteran driver Rodrick Icenhower.  While those two were tussling for the lead, the rocket-fast Modified of 2011 champion and Nixa resident Tyler Scott, who was knocking on the door of third place in the first few circuits.  ‘The Nixa Nightmare’ came roaring up to then third place runner Stephen Counterman of Fair Grove, passing Counterman and driving away on lap 5.   By the halfway point, Scott had made several moves to pass Icenhower, finally accomplishing the feat on lap 10.  With Lucas a mere car length or two ahead, Scott began to set him up to pass for the lead.  When the two got together in turn one of lap 12, Lucas spun, bringing out the caution flag.  With the field re-set, and Scott firmly in command, Lucas began a furious charge back through the field when the green flag was displayed for the final time on lap 14, but his efforts fell short.  Scott claimed his second feature win of the early season, with Icenhower a distant second, Counterman in third and the determined Lucas salvaging fourth place.  Lebanon’s Kevin Blackburn, though he faded early on, rebounded to round out the top five Modifieds.
 
The super-competitive Hardee’s Sportsman class, which allows for equalizing the specifications among steel body, full-frame stock cars, and fabricated ‘perimeter-style’ late models, certainly didn’t disappoint the large crowd of race fans gathered on a night of unsettled weather patterns.  Robert Reeves day-glow orange Chevy was clearly the class of the field, roaring to the lead early on, with Stoutland’s ‘Li’l JC’ Newell in hot pursuit.  With three laps remaining in the 15-lap contest, 2011 Sportsman champion Rick Sharp of Fair Grove made a move to pass the Chevrolet of Lebanon’s Aaron Douglas, but Sharp’s re-bodied Chevy Camaro lost grip and turn four and slid sideways.  The dash to the finish followed, with Reeves prevailing, and Newell in second place.  Although Marshfield’s Toby Harden crossed the finish line in third place, a post-race technical inspection determined that his racecar was not in compliance with Sportsman rules and was disqualified.  That allowed Douglas to claim third place, with a recovered Sharp in fourth and ‘Big JC’ Newell – ‘Li’l JC’s’ grandfather, also of Stoutland – moving up to a top five finish.
 
In Hoosier Tire Road Warrior action, Dustin Reeves of Camdenton made in three feature wins in a row in the 12-lap feature race.  Starting at the rear of the pack, Reeves moved by Lebanon’s Michael Jurgenson for the lead on lap three, leaving the rest of the field to fight for the top five slots.  When the checkered flag flew, Fair Grove driver Les Mallard had moved into the runner-up spot, with Gary Ball of Lebanon in third, Jurgenson in fourth and David Meldrum moving ahead for fifth.  The race’s one major incident occurred on lap 6, when Jurgenson spun in turn four, forcing the car of Aaron Wilke into the turn four retaining wall, where it lifted up and slid the entire length of the front-stretch before coming to rest at the entrance to turn one.  Wilke was unhurt, but the car was damaged beyond repair and retired from the event.
 
The four-cylinder, subcompact Coca-Cola Chargers remain a crowd favorite, due primarily to their uncanny ability to race three and four-wide, lap after lap, in a tight pack of cars.  Saturday night’s Charger feature delivered on that promise as the previous week’s double-winner Caston Jones of Belle attempted to make a ‘Hail Mary’ move to the outside of the lead pack, forcing a four-wide scramble into a tightening turn three on the first lap.  Very close racing throughout the initial laps kept the crowd nearly breathless, and the field began to sort itself out by lap five, with Willard, Missouri campaigner Jesse Poindexter in command.  Father Jimmy Poindexter kept it very interesting in second place, holding off repeated challenges before yielding the runner-up spot to a hard-charging Larry Hunter on lap 8.  Poindexter the younger prevailed at the checkered flag, with Hunter holding on to second, while a pitched battle for third on the last lap put Jones in third place with Jimmy Poindexter fourth and Rolla’s Paul Jepson fighting for and claiming the final top five slot.
 
Next Saturday, May 19, the ‘Kickin’ Asphalt’ show at I-44 Speedway will be highlighted by free admission for Laclede County area schools’ students, who received track-supplied coupons for their grandstand admission from the Lebanon, Conway and Stoutland school districts.  All five ASA-sanctioned stock car racing classes will be in action on Saturday the 19th, with spectator gates opening at 5 pm and the first qualifying Heat Race flagging off at 7:30.  Additional information about Lebanon I-44 Speedway and the venue’s scheduled 2012 events may be found by logging on to www.i44speedway.net, or visiting the track’s official Facebook page.
 
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Lebanon I- 44 Speedway             Race Results                         May 12, 2012
 
O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Models
 
Heat   1                                                                      Heat   2
1.        02       Brown                                               1.        77       Slone
2.        35       Holt                                                    2.        21       Dickinson
3.        6          Wallace                                             3.        67       Vanzandt
4.        18       Reaves                                               4.        12       Roper Jr.
5.        7          Manes                                               5.        20       Fullerton
6.        07       Limberopoulos                                6.        9          Cory
 
 
                                                            Feature
                                                1.        77       Mike Slone             
                                                2.        20       Austin Fullerton
                                                3.        6          Matt Wallace
                                                4.        21       Ken Dickinson
                                                5.        67       Jimmy Vanzandt
                                                6.        02       Brian Brown
                                                7.        12       Dale Roper Jr.
                                                8.        7          Jeremy Manes
                                                9.        18       Jim Reaves
                                                10.      35       Steve Holt
                                                11.      07       Terry Limberopoulos
                                                DNS    9          Tucker Cory
 
Budweiser Modifieds
 
            Heat   1                                                          Heat   2
1.        57       Scott                                      1.        29       Icenhower
2.        25       Counterman                        2.        26       Lucas
3.        00       Johnson                                3.        44       Blackburn
4.        21       Hunt                                       G/O    7          Icenhower
5.        95       Harris
 
 
                                                            Feature
                                                1.        57       Tyler Scott
                                                2.        29       Rodrick Icenhower
                                                3.        25       Stephen Counterman
                                                4.        26       Payton Lucas
                                                5.        44       Kevin Blackburn
                                                6.        00       Chris Johnson
                                                7.        21       Kevin Hunt
                                                DNS    95       Norm Harris
                                                DNS    7          Ricky Icenhower
 
Hardee’s Sportsman
 
            Heat   1                                                          Heat   2
1.        84       Newell                                   1.        1          Harden
2.        10       Sharp                                     2.        15       Newell
3.        25       Owens                                   3.        7          Douglas
4.        36       Higdon                                  4.        6          Reeves
DNS    63       Higdon                                  5.        65       Schott
 
 
                                                            Feature
 
                                    1.        6          Robert Reeves
                                    2.        15       Lil JC Newell
                                    3.        7          Aaron Douglas
                                    4.        10       Rick Sharp
                                    5.        84       JC Newell
                                    6.        25       Darin Owens
                                    7.        36       Jon Higdon
                                    8.        65       Denny Schott
                                    DNS    63       Chuck Higdon
 
Hoosier Tire Road Warriors
 
                        Heat   1                                                          Heat   2
            1.        21       Mallard                                 1.        8          Wilke
            2.        38       Funcannon                           2.        33       Scott
            3.        35       Ball                                         3.        6          Reeves
            4.        00       Juergensen                           DNS    39       Meldrum
 
 
                                                            Feature
 
                                                1.        6          Dustin Reeves
                                                2.        21       Les Mallard
                                                3.        35       Gary Ball
                                                4.        00       Michael Juergensen
                                                5.        39       David Meldrum
                                                6.        07       Adam Lowrance
                                                7.        8          Aaron Wilke
                                                8.        38       Mike Funcannon
                                                DNS    33       Mike Scott
 
Coca-Cola Chargers
 
                        Heat   1                                              Heat   2
 
            1.        6          Lewis                          1.        74       Hunter
            2.        34       Jones                          2.        44       Jepsen
            3.        7          Poindexter               3.        5          Poindexter
            4.        27       Cherry                       4.        30       Taylor
            5.        11       Buhr                           G/O    89       Blackburn
 
 
                                                            Feature
 
                                                1.        7          Jesse Poindexter
                                                2.        74       Larry Hunter
                                                3.        34       Caston Jones
                                                4.        5          Jimmy Poindexter
                                                5.        44       Paul Jepsen
                                                6.        6          Richard Lewis
                                                7.        27       Nick Cherry
                                                8.        30       Zac Taylor
                                                9          11       Lauren Buhr
 
 

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