LEBANON, Mo. – As many tracks sent out their 2013 racing schedules, Lebanon I-44 Speedway track officials were still hard at work finalizing an exciting slate that now has another premier event on the docket.
Missouri’s only asphalt oval will be playing host to the marquee event for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars presented by Chevrolet Performance for the 2013 season on Saturday, May 18.
The touring series visits the NASCAR-sanctioned facility for an astonishing, minimum $8,000 to win, $600 to start in the Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144 late model showcase. Besides taking home the record top prize, the winner will don a signature green jacket, similar to the one that is known for adorning the champion of golf’s Masters event.
“This is the type of event that not only draws a crowd, but some premier drivers as well,” said Lebanon I-44 Speedway general manager Kevin Greven. “Combined with a great partner in Mercy Hospital, this will be the type of showcase event that attracts top talent from across the Midwest and the Southeastern regions. We’re excited to welcome the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour to I-44 for the first time in what promises to be an event that demonstrates what the Show-Me State brand of short track racing is all about.”
Greven noted that with the rules package that the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour employs, most local late model drivers will be able to enter the event and put their mark on the show. Around 35-40 cars, including 20 or so series regulars, are expected for what will almost certainly be the highest-paying short-track racing event of the season for Pro Late Model racing anywhere in the country.
The series will be running in conjunction with two Lebanon I-44 Speedway NASCAR Weekly Racing classes. Greven is currently in the process of finalizing the 2013 schedule for release and will be announcing those divisions in the coming weeks.
The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour completed their season opener on Jan. 27, at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA., with teen phenom Chase Elliott, son of 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, prevailing in the 100-lap main event. Lebanon I-44 Speedway’s Mercy “Masters of the Pros” 144 will serve as a special showcase for the tour, with the highest purse and 44 more laps than any other event on their 2013 schedule. Greven is confident that some special talent will be making the trek to the westernmost race on the docket.
“What a great way to showcase Mercy Hospital in the Lebanon area and allow our great staff to enjoy a premier regional racing event in our own back yard,” said Mercy President/CEO Michael Gillen. “We’re excited about the NASCAR presence at Lebanon I-44 Speedway and being a partner with this JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event serves to make Lebanon a destination for area race fans. This will also be a great fund raising event for our Mercy Health Foundation.”
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour series co-owner Glenn Luckett noted that this is the type of event they have been hoping to put together since the series’ inception.
“We’ve been looking to put a signature event together for our tour and pro late model racing,” said CRA’s Luckett. “I-44 Speedway has stepped up to put this event on the map and make this one that the entire racing industry will recognize. With the country’s biggest payday on the line for these type of cars, everyone can expect to see the top drivers and an incredible event. We are looking forward to this race and working with all the great people at Lebanon I-44 Speedway.”
Greven anticipates a strong local turnout as a number of I-44 NASCAR Weekly Racing late model drivers will be looking to knock off the touring stars and grab the trophy and a minimum $8,000 check in victory lane. This news comes on the heels of the track becoming Missouri’s only NASCAR Home Track.
“This is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in the history of Lebanon I-44 Speedway,” said an excited Greven. “We’re now a NASCAR HomeTrack and we’re very excited for the 2013 season to get underway. What a great special event to put in front of our fans within the first four weeks of the 2013 season.”