Lebanon I-44 Speedway Rewind-Rookie Blake Dominant In Road Warriors

Lebanon, Mo.- For the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship Series at the High-Banks of the Lebanon I-44 Speedway, there were many bright and shining moments, but none like the growth and competition of the Hoosier Tire Road Warriors. The Street Stock Full Bodied Class bonded together and worked together to showcase their talents along with some outstanding looking cars which featured the older generation style Camaro and Metric Cars.

Supporting an average of 13 cars per race night, the class featured several new drivers to the Speedway along with some old favorites, it would be the rookie drivers that would lead the win column along with the top 2 in points as Justin Blake of Lebanon and Geoff Ledford of Neosho showed the way.

To start the 2013 Monster Energy Cup Champion Chase on May 11th, it would be 3 rookie drivers to stand on the podium as Geoff Ledford took his number 45 Chevy to the win while Justin Blake and fellow rookie contender Alan Ellis following the winner as 13 cars took the green flag that night.

For round number 2, Blake took the Camaro to his first win ever as hard charging Carl Harlow would grab the runner-up spot while opening night winner Ledford rallied from 11th to a third place finish while again 13 cars checked-in.

With scheduled nights off and weather interruptions, it would be almost 1 month before the Road Warriors would take to the track again, and even that night was scheduled off for the class. Getting together with the track, the drivers gathered together and asked for the track to make it a points race and came out with 14 entries and some exciting action. Blake would have to be patient after starting 11th and ran down a fast moving Carl Harlow to capture his second win of the season while Harlow's Camaro again would be the bridesmaid again with a second place finish while Ellis again finished a solid third as the Speedway celebrated with the Lebanon Chamber Of Commerce in the Our Town Your Town Night with a standing room only crowd on hand.

The Road Warriors helped celebrate the Independence Holiday on Wed Night July 3rd with 13 entries and again Blake powering his way to his 3rd straight win while again Harlow was the early pace setter and finished second while Fair Grove favorite Les "Papa Drake" Mallard finished on the podium with his first top 3 of the season.

Following a week off for the Laclede County Fair, the Road Warriors came back on July 20th along with a full Monster Energy Cup Chase night as 13 entries checked-in as Blake was trying to make the drive for 4 in a row. With side by side racing in the pack, Blake would again make a late race pass on opening night winner Geoff Ledford to take the win while Ledford was back on a podium finish while Aaron Wilke in his number 8 Mopar made a strong run for a third place spot as Blake seemed to have the hot set-up every night.

On July 27th, The Hoosier Tire Road Warriors showed just how good and solid the class was. An Afternoon rain shower and evening showers almost placed the night of racing in danger, but the Road Warriors helped log several laps of track drying efforts to keep the track alive. With 12 entries checked-in for the evening, all eyes were on Blake in his drive for 5 straight wins this evening. Again, it was side by side racing action as opening night winner Ledford was setting the early pace with side-by-side racing behind as Blake was trying to move up. In the closing laps, Blake would try several attempts to overtake the fast moving Ledford, But Ledford would end Blake's streak at 4 by capturing win number 2 as Blake and Alan Ellis followed for the podium finish.

Following the track's 5th rainout of the season, the Road Warriors came in with 12 entries in a night of wild crashes on Aug.10th. While Blake would capture his 5th win of the season, Aaron Wilke almost stole the show as he led several laps before Blake made the winning move late in the feature as former Speedway contender Steve Shaw showed everyone he could tour the High-Banks with the best of them with a third place finish. The feature also ended the season of regular Chuck Higdon. Higdon was racing in a tight pack when he was involved in a wreck in turn 1 causing severe damage to his Camaro along with Caston Jones. Higdon would be transported to the hospital and later released, but out for the season as the Full-Moon night got the better of the Warriors.

For the Aug.17th event, a season high of 15 cars entered as the feature saw 5 different leaders with Aaron Wilke grabbing the win, but a post race tech infraction took the win away and allowed Carl Harlow his first of the season as Steve Shaw and point leader Blake finished on the podium. Harlow would be the third and final different feature winner of the season this night,

On Aug. 24th, the lowest amount of entries(10) checked-in but provided great action as Geoff Ledford wasn't going to let Blake just walk away with the points title. Ledford took early control and never looked back taking win number 3 as last week's winner Harlow rallied for a runner-u spot as point leader Blake finished third.

Heading down the final stretch with 3 races left in the season, Blake came loaded for bear as he took home win number 6 on Aug 31st while Harlow again takes home the runner-up spot as Steve Shaw grabs another podium finish with 13 cars entered. The Sept 7th event saw 11 entries and Shaw looked like he was going to get into the winner's circle, but a late race caution allowed Blake to capture the lead along with win number 7 as Shaw and Wilke followed. On Championship night Sept.14th, Blake had to slice his way from the back of the pack and overtook both Ledford and Harlow for his 8th win of the season and his third in a row to end the season.

Despite only 3 different feature winners, the Hoosier Tire Road Warriors came to life in 2013 and quickly became a crowd favorite.

The Top 10 in the Road Warrior point standings along with over 40 plus race teams will be honored on Saturday November 23 with the NASCAR Whelen Monster Energy Speedway Banquet at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center in Springfield, Mo.

For more information about the Lebanon I-44 Speedway and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 2014 season visit the website at WWW.I44Speedway.Net and keep updated with the Speedway's Facebook page.

Hoosier Tire Road Warriors Top 10

1 Robert Blake 15 Lebanon MO 1367 2 Geoffrey Ledford 45 Neosho MO 1114 3 Caston Jones 34 Belle MO 1037 4 Carl Harlow 7 Exeter MO 1002 5 Michael Juergensen 00 Lebanon MO 999 6 Les Mallard 21 Fair Grove Mo 885 7 Alan Ellis 52 Strafford MO 793 8 Gary Barrows 1 Versailles MO 723 9 Aaron Wilke 8 Bridgeton Mo 700 10 Mike Funcannon 38 Cassville MO678

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