18-Year-Old John Hunter Nemechek Adds To Late Model Accolades; Scores $8,000+ In Mercy Masters Of The Pros 144CRA_admin
Lebanon I-44 Speedway hosts one of the largest paying Pro Late Model races in North America
Lebanon, Missouri (Saturday, July 4, 2015): After six long weeks of inactivity including two rainouts, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance returned to action with one of the biggest Pro Late Model events in the country; the 3rd Annual Mercy Masters of the Pros 144. The immaculate 3/8s (0.375) mile progressively banked paved oval of Lebanon I-44 Speedway, located southwest of St. Louis in Lebanon, Missouri served as hosts of one of the richest paying Pro Late Model races in North America which saw the winner get a check for $8,000 plus bonuses as well as the signature green jacket, similar to the one that is known for adorning the champion of golf’s Masters event.
18-year-old John Hunter Nemechek, who won nearly every major Pro Late Model event in the country during the 2014 season, added a Mercy Masters of the Pros Green Jacket to his trophy room after his victory in the 3rd Annual Mercy Masters of the Pros 144. The Mooresville, North Carolina standout in his #8 S.W.M. Gun Runners / D.A.B. Constructors / Chevrolet drove around the outside of two-time Daytona 500 winner, Sterling Marlin on lap 94 and would pull away to a convincing victory worth $8,000+ in prize money and contingency awards.
“We knew we had to be patient, but at the same time we needed to grab spots whenever we could. We knew we just needed to race smart. It was a bit of a small crew. We made the decision to come out and run this pretty late. So it was just three guys and I this weekend.” Smiled the 2014 Snowball Derby winner and son of NASCAR veteran, Joe Nemechek while celebrating his latest victory. His win in Missouri also made him a perfect five for five in JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour races in his career. “There are still a couple big races coming up this fall we want to win. The Winchester 400 is the big one we haven’t gotten yet. Plus I want the Snowflake 100 and of course the Snowball Derby again.” He added.
After Boyne Machine Company Fast Qualifier, Hunter Robbins pulled a nine for an inversion; it would place 2014 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion, Ty Majeski and Marlin on the front row of the massive 30-car field. As Chief Starter, Scott Menlen waved the green flag, Majeski would hold his line and pace the field for the first 11 laps until Marlin would pull up along-side Majeski and complete the pass for the lead. From there, Marlin set a torrid pace around the fast 3/8s mile within scenic the Hills of the Ozarks and would put cars down a lap or more at a rapid rate.
The first 72 laps would run under green before the first of only two unscheduled cautions when track regular, Steve Holt looped his mount coming out of turn four. On the restart, John Hunter Nemechek, who started eighth, had worked his way to second and took advantage of making up the real estate that Marlin put between them. As Nemechek scoped out Marlin searching for a path around, he made what would be the winning pass on lap 94, which earned him the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race award and would lead the field into the lap 100 break.
During the 10-minute break, teams had the option to change no tires, one tire or the maximum allowed two tires. The first six drivers at lap 100 all elected to not change any tires which placed Nemechek and Marlin on the front row of the double file restart. As Menlen’s green flag went back in the air, Nemechek would dart out in front of Marlin and pull away from the legendary NASCAR competitor as well as the rest of the field. Late in the race, Matt Wallace, the son of another NASCAR veteran, Mike Wallace, passed Marlin and would set his sights on Nemechek but would run out of time as Nemechek continued his recent knack for scoring wins in prestigious events with his triumph.
In addition to the coveted Masters Green Jacket as well as the $8,000 payday and the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race award, the Tar Heel State teenager also scored the first Great Lakes Tire/Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award. In addition, the NEMCO Motorsports driver, who recently turned 18 years old and will be running the remainder of the season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is now a perfect in five career starts in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour with five wins in those five appearances including the last two SpeedFest events as well as the 2014 CRA Fall Brawl title.
Wallace’s #6 Lucas Oil Products / Chevrolet scored a career high second place finish in his fourth career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour appearance. The 19-year-old driver originally from St. Louis, Missouri, but now calls Concord, North Carolina home started fifth in the race and would stay in the top five throughout the 144 laps of the race to also earn the FLUIDYNE High Performance Cool Under Pressure award.
Completing the podium finishers would be the 58-year-old Marlin who also collected the D.T.S. Drive Train Specialists Halfway Leader award while leading a race high 82 laps. He would finish in third place. The Columbia, Tennessee veteran in his #114 Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge / Chevrolet made his third career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour appearance and has been spending his time more recently racing at his home track of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN).
Boyne Machine Company Fast Qualifier, Hunter Robbins scored a fourth place finish in his #18 PitBoxes.com / Ford, The Montgomery, Alabama native, an accomplished driver in the southeastern corner of the United States who has a Snowflake 100 win as a 14-year-old in 2005 drives for the legendary Ronnie Sanders. Ironically the now 23-yer-old Robbins was making only his third career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour appearance and his fourth place showing was a career high in the tour.
2004 ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion, Chuck Barnes Jr., in his first race of the season anywhere, completed the top five in his #55 Kevin Crider Motorsports / Chevrolet. The 33-year-old Louisville, Kentucky resident was making just his fourth career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour appearance and has plans on making a more starts later in the season in both ARCA/CRA and JEGS/CRA.
Majeski, who started P1 and led the first 11 laps in his first career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour start, finished in sixth while veteran Jack Smith, in his first start of the 2015 racing season anywhere picked up the Five Star Racecar Bodies Hard-Charger award as well as the second Great Lakes Tire/Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award with his impressive 25th to seventh place run. Justin South, a former JEGS/CRA winner in 2013 at Memphis International Raceway (TN), finished in eighth as 18-year-old Bret Holmes was ninth over Two-Time Defending ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion, Travis Braden who completed the top 10.
Earlier in the day in Boyne Machine Company Qualifying, Hunter Robbins out-qualified the 39 teams on hand with a lap measured at a 14.548 which equals out to 92.796mph. The JEGS/CRA Track Record in Lebanon, Missouri remains a 14.318 set by 2014 race winner, Anderson Bowen back on May 17th, 2014. The 15-Lap Last Chance Race would see the top four transfer into the main event. Veteran Jack Smith in his #28 Urbine Machine / Ford took the win ahead of Brennon Willard, Dakota Stroup and 18-year-old Trey Craig would also transfer. Joe Ross and Steve Holt were added as the 29th and 30th starters as Track Promoters Choices.
Next on the fifth anniversary 2015 schedule for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance will be a return visit, for the first time since the 2013 racing season to Dixie Motor Speedway. The fast 4/10s (0.400) progressively banked paved oval located north of Saginaw and south of Flint in Birch Run, Michigan will see Motor City Racing Promotions serving as hosts and operators of the Dixie 100 Presented by JEGS.com on Friday, July 10th. This event is being promoted by Motor City Racing Promotions, the sanctioning body of the Midwest Indoor Racing Series as well as the Michigan Dirt Cup Modified Tour.
In three previous appearances, 2013 Tour Champion, Cody Coughlin, now a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver was the last victor during his championship winning season. Current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie of the year title contender and 2012 Tour Champion, Daniel Hemric won during his championship run in 2012 while Chicagoland veteran, Eddie Hoffman won the inaugural JEGS/CRA race in Birch Run, Michigan in 2011. There will be a special practice day slated for Thursday, July 9th with the pit gates opening at 3:30p.m., and rotating practice goes from 4:30-7:30p.m.
For more information about the 2015 racing season for all four touring series’ within Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, go to the website located at: www.cra-racing.com You can also follow along with all of CRA’s touring series’ on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/CRAracing Finally, for more information about Dixie Motor Speedway, the host track for the fourth race of the 2015 season for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour as well as about Motor City Racing Promotions, go to the event website which is located at: www.dixie100.com