Salem, IN. – After over a month off because of weather, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance will finally return to action this Saturday in their biggest event of the season, the Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144 at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, located in Lebanon, Missouri. The 144 lap event will pay $8000 to win plus bonuses, making it one of the highest paying crate late model events in the country, plus the winner will be awarded a signature green jacket, similar to the one that is known for adorning the champion of golf’s Masters event.
The Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144 was originally scheduled for May 30th, but had to be postponed to July 4th because of heavy rain in that region. The series was then supposed to race on June 20th at Salem Speedway, but that event was also canceled because of heavy rain.
Saturday will be the third Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144, the first two events were won by Georgia drivers as NASCAR’s Chase Elliott won the inaugural event, while Anderson Bowen claimed last year’s exciting race. The race has consistently attracted a stellar field of the top racers from around the country, battling the top local competitors from Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
Topping the entry list for this year’s event is two time Daytona 500 Champion Sterling Marlin. Marlin competed in last year’s event, leading the first 17 laps before being passed by Cole Williams. Marlin stayed near the front throughout the race until contact from another racer caused him to spin, placing him at the back of the field resulting in a 23rd place finish.
John Hunter Nemechek, son of NASCAR competitor “Front Row” Joe Nemechek, is entered. John Hunter is competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2015, along with competing in several of the top late model events throughout the country. John Hunter was the winner of the famous Snowball Derby this past December and has been to victory lane with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour in four events over the last two seasons.
Also entered is Matt Wallace, son of NASCAR racer Mike Wallace and nephew of NASCAR greats Rusty and Kenny Wallace. The Concord, North Carolina native came from his 17th starting position in last year’s Mercy Masters of the Pros to get a hard fought third place finish. Wallace is a multi-time feature winner at Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
Other top drivers entered from around the country include current JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour point’s leader and a winner at the series season opener Dalton Armstrong, 2014 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion and current points leader Ty Majeski, who has scored several big late model wins in 2015, 2013 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion and current ARCA Racing Series competitor Cody Coughlin, who will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Kentucky Speedway next week, 2004 ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion Chuck Barnes Jr., who finished second to Elliott in 2013, 2013 Lebanon I-44 Speedway NASCAR Champion Cole Williams, who got a feature win at his former home track last Saturday night and Alabama’s Justin South, a winner in some southern Pro Late Model events this season.
There are 40 teams entered to date for Saturday’s event. The top 20 in Boyne Machine qualifying will be locked into the event. Positions 21 through 24 will come from the top four drivers in JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour points not already locked into the show. Positions 25 through 28 will come from either one or two 15 lap Last Chance races. There will be a 10 minute break at lap 100 of the main event, were teams can change up to two tires, the cars will be relined up for the laps 44 green flag laps by how many tires they change.
There is an open practice on Friday, pits open at 2pm (Central Time), open practice will go from 4 to 8pm. On Saturday pits open at 9am, with spectator gates opening at 2pm. CRA practice will begin at 12:30pm with two 40 minute practice sessions. Boyne Machine Qualifying will begin at3:30pm. The race program will start at 5:30pm and will include the Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144 for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance. Also racing that night will be the Lebanon I-44 Speedway Modifieds and Street Stock Divisions in heat races and features.
More information on Lebanon I-44 Speedway is available at the facility’s official website at www.i44speedway.net. More information on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance is available at www.cra-racing.com.
-CRA Press Release. Photo credit: