Defending I-44 and NASCAR Missouri State Champion, JC Newell ran down leader Joe Ross on the 27th lap and then held off a late caution along with a charge from current point leader Jake Griffin to become the 4th different O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Model Winner in as many races this season.

 

The 40 lap feature event rolled off with Ross grabbing the early lead from pole setter Josh Woody with Jimmy Vanzandt, Brennon Willard and Brian Brown following early. With Ross making a strong run, Kevin Donahue moved into the top 5 on lap 2 as the pack behind Ross was tight. The 1st caution waved on lap 4 as Woody and Vanzandt made contact in turn 4 while battling for position. On the restart, Ross found points runner-up Brian Brown glued to his bumper as Willard, Newell and fast qualifier Griffin were locked in a tight race along with Steve Holt and a fast moving Kyle Donahue who slid back early. On lap 7, Vanzandt retired to the pits after advancing 4 spots with suspension issues. Ross started to place some distance between himself and Brown as the Kansas City area veteran had his sights set on a I-44 feature win. From lap 9 through lap 20, the race was for 2nd through 5th. Brown held 2nd as Willard held a solid 3rd and Griffin began to move forward. Griffin and Newell raced side by side lap after lap. On lap 20 Newell got under Brown and used him as a pick to escape Griffin so he could concentrate on Ross as 2014 NASCAR Missouri State Rookie Kyle Donahue was locked in a battle with Griffin, Brown and Willard. On the 25th lap, Newell caught Ross and the duo ran extremely hard door to door as Griffin and Donahue tried to run them down. On lap 27, Newell shot to the inside of Ross to take the top spot. After a single car caution on lap 28 the field was all pulled together once again. On the restart, Griffin got under Ross as Donahue followed dropping Ross to 4th as Brown, Willard, Steve Holt, Terry Limberopolous and Woody were engaged in a battle for position. Griffin slowly closed on Newell until the final yellow waved on lap 37 placing him on the leader's bumper. On the restart, Newell got another strong jump and captured his 1st win of the season with Griffin, Kyle Donahue, early race dominator Ross and Brown completing the top 5. Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap of the 40 lapper.

 

"Newell, excited in the winner's circle, told the crowd this was not last year's championship car, but a Hamke car the they are running in the Champion Racing Oil Masters of the Pro's 144 on May 14th in the All-Star event at I-44. "I have never really felt at ease in this car, but the longer we ran tonight, the better it got. We changed the steering wheel and it felt better. I was really wondering if we could run down Joe tonight. He was so quick and smooth tonight and trying to keep Brown, Griffin and Donahue behind us. When they got side by side, it helped us out." Griffin was the quickest in qualifying with an amazing lap of 14.526 seconds on the 3/8ths mile asphalt oval.

 

Defending Budweiser Modified Champion Tim Swearengin got the early jump over David Bates on the start and then held the former 3 time Modified Champion at bay to take his 2nd straight win of the season. Swearengin withstood a bumper to bumper battle for 13 laps with Bates until a tire went down sending Bates to the pits. Bates rejoined the battle again working through the field and applying pressure as Swearengin held a tight groove all night. Bates would settle for the runner-up spot with Terry Taylor and Jimmy Poindexter following. A severe crash in an earlier heat race placed point's runner-up Chris Johnson, Brian Lewis and Chris Kerperien on the trailer with major damage. Heat race wins went to Terry Taylor and Bates.

 

For defending Hoosier Racing Tire Street Stock Champion Jordan Nisbett, a lap 5 caution helped to close the gap on leader Justin Allen and record his 3rd straight feature win. The 15 lap feature saw 3 different leaders with excellent racing all over the pack. Nick Cheery jumped to the opening lead as Justin Allen moved is Ford close behind with David Douglas on his bumper as well. On lap 3, the third generation rookie driver Allen shot to the high-side and took the lead as Cherry had Nisbett and Douglas in a 3 wide, side by side race. The feature slowed on lap 5 as contact between 4 cars would find Douglas receiving front end damage ending his strong run. On the restart, Nisbett was keeping pressure on the leader Allen and later made the winning move off turn two. Former track champion Steve Shaw made some smooth moves on the high side and charged into 3rd putting pressure on Allen as Cherry was close behind with the Mopar of Aaron Wilke making up some ground. Allen closed-up some ground in the closing laps on Nisbett with Shaw putting on pressure as well. Nisbett continued his strong run with the win as the Street Stock Class seems to get tighter with every race as Allen, Shaw, Cherry and Wilke made the top five. Heat race wins were recorded by Shaw and Nisbett.

 

Another first time winner saw Coca-Cola Charger driver Billy Taylor survive a 5 lap battle with older brother Ronnie Taylor and then hold off a late surge from point leader Jerry Ellis in capturing his first career win and became the third different winner in four races this season. Ronnie Taylor and little brother Billy brought the field to the 12 lap feature green as Billy kept his car in a smooth line on the high side as Ronnie stayed glued to his inside door. The Brothers ran door to door with Billy nosing ahead. Ronnie Taylor's car began to slow on lap 6 as point leader Ellis quickly moved to 2nd spot and closed on Billy Taylor as Japheth Nisbett was coming to the front pack quickly. Out in front Taylor never moved from the high groove as Ellis kept the pressure in the middle lane. With the battle up front, Nisbett and Ronnie Taylor battled for 3rd spot. Ellis would make several attempts to overtake Taylor, but the leader withstood the challenges taking the win with Ellis, R. Taylor, Nisbett and Justin Gantt following .Heat wins went to Nisbett and Ellis.

 

For Sportsman veteran Ben Newell, it felt great to wheel a car again. The father of Little JC Newell has been turning his attention to his son's racing opportunities. Ben stepped into his father's Championship winning car from last season and took the lead on the opening lap with Phil Harris staying close. Leading all 15 laps, Ben showed he still knows how to wheel a car around the "High-Banks" by holding back the surge by Harris in the final laps. Following the lead duo was point leader Jimmy Fohn, James Fohn and Jake Piel. Point leader Fohn took the heat race win.

 

Action continues Saturday night April 30th with all five NASCAR classes in action. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models plus action in the Budweiser Modifieds, Hoosier Tire Street Stocks, Coca-Cola Chargers, and Sportsman. Gates open at 5PM with racing to start at 6PM.

 

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.

 

-Lebanon I-44 Speedway Press Release & Photo

 

Lebanon I-44 Speedway April 23, 2016 Results

O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models
A Feature. 1) JC Newell-Stoutland 2) Jake Griffin-Quincy, Ill. 3) Kyle Donahue-Wildwood 4) Joe Ross-Independence 5) Brian Brown-Strafford 6) Brennon Willard-Sleeper 7) Steve Holt-Strafford 8) Payton Lucas-Fair Grove 9) Ronnie Hartford-Raytown 10) Terry Limberopolous-Cuba 11) Kevin Donahue-Wildwood 12) Josh Woody-Buckhorn 13) Mandy Chick-Tonganoxie, Kansas 14) David Wood-Richmond 15) Jimmy Van Zandt-Springfield 16) Stephen Counterman-Fair Grove

 

Qualifying Top 10- 1) Griffin 14.526 2) Kyle Donahue 14.747 3) Newell 14.784 4) Willard 14.798 5) Brown 14.831 6) Kevin Donahue 14.848 7) Van Zandt 14.886 8) Ross 14.998 9) Woody 15.021 10) Holt 15.048

 

Budweiser Modifieds
A Feature.-1) Tim Swearengin-Springfield 2) David Bates-Fair Grove 3) Terry Taylor-Fair Grove 4) Jimmy Poindexter-Willard DNS- Chris Johnson-Lebanon, Brian Lewis-Willard, Chris Kerperien-Lebanon Rodrick Icenhower-Fair Grove

 

1st Heat.-1) Taylor 2) Johnson 3) Lewis 4) Kerperien
2nd Heat.-1) Bates 2) Swearengin 3) Poindexter DNS-Icenhower

 

Hoosier Tire Street Stocks
A Feature.-1) Jordan Nisbett-Lebanon 2) Justin Allen-Urbana 3) Steve Shaw-Rogersville 4) Nick Cherry-Springfield 5) Aaron Wilke-Bridgeton 6) Tony Johnson-Lebanon 7) Les Mallard-Fair Grove 8) Michael Juergensen-Lebanon 9) David Douglas-Lebanon DNS-Zack Morgan-Springfield

 

1st Heat-1) Shaw 2) Allen 3) Douglas 4) Johnson 5) Juergensen
2nd Heat.1) Nisbett 2) Cherry 3) Mallard 4) Wilke DNS-Morgan

 

Coca-Cola Chargers
A Feature.-1) Billy Taylor-Bolivar 2) Jerry Ellis-Richland 3) Ronnie Taylor-Springfield 4) Japheth Nisbett-Rolla 5) Justin Gantt-Highlandville 6) Nick Schmidt-Montreal 7) Ty Allison-Mexico 8) Mark Glorfeld-Springfield 9) Luke Oster-Linn Creek 10) Breken Johnson-Lebanon 11) Kent Cruzan-Springfield DNS-Nik Taylor-Bolivar

 

1st Heat.-1) Nisbett 2) R. Taylor 3) N. Taylor 4) Gantt 5) Johnson 6) Cruzan
2nd Heat.-1) Ellis 2) B. Taylor 3) Schmidt 4) Oster 5) Allison 6) Glorfeld

 

Sportsman
A Feature.-1) Ben Newell-Stoutland 2) Phil Harris-Springfield 3) Jimmy Fohn-Eldridge 4) James Fohn-Eldridge 5) Jake Piel-Webster Grove
Heat-1) Jimmy Fohn 2) Harris 3) Newell 4) James Fohn DNS-Piel

 

Action continues Saturday night April 30th with all five NASCAR classes in action. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Models plus action in the Budweiser Modifieds, Hoosier Tire Street Stocks, Coca-Cola Chargers, and Sportsman. Gates open at 5PM with racing to start at 6PM.

 

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.

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NASCAR State Champ Adds Name to Winners List at I-44