Saturday, November 18, 2017

Alot on the line at I-44 for 3rd annual Mercy 2013 Mercy winner Chase Elliott & 2014 winner Anderson Bowen

2013 Mercy winner Chase Elliott & 2014 winner Anderson Bowen.

2013 Mercy winner Chase Elliott & 2014 winner Anderson Bowen.

As Lebanon I-44 Speedway prepares for its marquee racing event of 2015 they have combined with their partner series in this event to release some of the entries to this point.

Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS Officials have announced the first group of entries that have arrived for the Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144. The event will be held at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, Lebanon, Missouri on Saturday, May 30th for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance. 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 PGA’s Masters event.

Topping the list of the first group of entries is Georgia hot shoe Bubba Pollard, one of the top pro late model racers in the country, who looks to keep the signature green jacket in Georgia, the home state of the inaugural event winner and 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion, Chase Elliott in 2013 and last year’s winner Anderson Bowen. Pollard had a sensational 2014 season that included 14 wins in Super Late Models and Pro Late Models and he was the 2014 Southern Super Series Champion. Pollard has continued his hot streak into 2015 getting the win in the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway on January 3rd, winning the $25,000 to win Winter Showdown on February 28th in California and getting the win in the Pro Late Model Rattler 125 at South Alabama Speedway on March 14th. Pollard has one series win to his credit last season at Berlin Raceway.

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 and has finished second in points at the track twice. Wallace just announced he will make his ARCA Racing Presented by Menards Series debut this Sunday at Toledo Speedway.

2013 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion Cody Coughlin is also entered. The Delaware, Ohio native is a two time winner with the series at Dixie Motor Speedway and at Salem Speedway and has one ARCA/CRA Super Series win, which he picked up at Winchester Speedway last Labor Day Weekend. Coughlin has competed part-time with the ARCA Racing Series the last two years for Joe Gibbs Racing and won the pole at the series Talladega event on May 1st along with finishing a career high second in that event.

Wheaton, Illinois veteran Eddie Hoffman is entered driving the potent TK Racing entry. The nine time ARCA/CRA Super Series winner and two time JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour winner is also a multi-time Champion at Grundy County Speedway in Illinois and Illiana Motor Speedway in Indiana.

2013 Lebanon I-44 Speedway NASCAR Champion Cole Williams has also entered. The Sellersburg, Indiana native took the lead on lap 18 and led until the break at lap 100 of last year’s event before a flat tire ended his day. Williams was the Pro Late Model Champion at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in 2014 as well. Williams and the team have been working hard on a new car for this event and feel this could be there year to capture the Green Jacket as “The Hurrying Hoosier” feels the event owes them a win.

The past 2 Mercy events have been claimed by “The Georgia Bandit” drivers with Crew Chief Ricky Turner calling the shots. This season Turner is with a different team, but is looking hard to place an entry in the Highest Paying JEGS/CRA All Star Series event and one of the biggest in Pro Late Model racing. Turner feels the Multi-Groove 3/8ths mile high-banked oval fits his style as the record speaks for itself.

2 Time NASCAR Daytona 500 Champion Sterling Marlin of Tennessee will return after a great run last year in his first ever visit to Missouri. Marlin sat on the pole last season and lead the opening 17 laps. With a new car built over the winter, Marlin is ready to make a run at the top prize money.

There are also several JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour regulars already entered including current series points leader Dalton Armstrong, who picked up his first series win in the season opener at Springport Motor Speedway on May 3rd. The Indiana native was the Pro Late Model Champion at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks this past February. Also entered are Canadian brothers Marc and Jaxson Jacobs. Marc came from 27th to finish 12th in last year’s event while Jaxson came from 24th to finish 16th. Ohio series regular Kody Evans is entered as are series VanDoorn Racing Development rookie drivers Austin Kunert from Illinois and Quinton Bear from Indiana.

There are several top southern racers already entered for the event including Alabama racers Justin South, a series winner at Memphis International Raceway in 2013, and Bret Holmes, a top local dirt racer starting to make headway on asphalt with a Pro Late Model victory at Montgomery Motor Speedway on March 28. Young Georgia racers Chandler Smith, who got a PASS Pro Late Model win at Anderson Motor Speedway on March 28, and Riley Thorton are also entered.

Quincy, Illinois racer Jake Griffin is also entered. Griffin went to victory lane as the youngest ever NASCAR Whelen All American Series Pro Late Model winner at I-44 last season and finished second in a feature this season on May 2nd. The 16 year old driver made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut on March 28th at Martinsville Speedway for the St. Louis based team of MB Motorsports where he was passing for positions from his 24th starting spot when transmission problems ended his day.

Additional entries for the Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144 are expected to continue to arrive over the next two weeks leading up to the event. The advanced entry deadline for this event is May 16th, entries received after that date will have to pay an additional $25 late entry fee.

The Speedway will hold an open practice session on Friday May 29th with rotation practice to start at 4 until 8PM.

For Saturday, practice will start at 12:30 with Qualifying to begin at 3:30PM and a special autograph session scheduled at 4:15. Racing action will start at 5:30PM and will include track point races for the NASCAR Budweiser Modifieds along with 1 other class to be announced.

Grandstand Adult Admission for this special event is only $22, Seniors and Military are $18.00 while Juniors ages 11-15 are $5 and kids 10 and under are FREE. Take advantage of the Family Pack which includes 2 Adults and 2 Juniors for only $45.

Wild Side prices are $25 for Adults with Seniors and Military at $21 while Juniors are $8 and kids 10 and under are FREE. You may also grab the 6 pack special as 6 Adults in the same vehicle are just $120 on the Wild Side.

For more information visit the website at www.i44speedway.net and be sure to like us 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.

More information on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance is available at www.cra-racing.com.

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