It was a night of first-time winners in the 2008 racing season at the Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Saturday, July 26 as the track crew fought quick-moving incoming storms to complete the racing card.
The USRA Modified feature saw St Louis driver Steve Picou bring the field down for the green flag with Scotty Allen on his outside. Picou jumped to the early lead as Rex Merritt shot to the outside lane from row 2 to grab second place. Picou and Merritt battled early until lap 4 when Picou began to open a little distance.
Last week’s winner Justin Neuman, Allen and a late arriving Tony Jackson Jr. along with Jimmy Willis were battling for position.
On lap 8 Merritt began to reel Picou back in and cut the lead to 4 cars. On lap 11, the race’s only caution waved for debris in turn 2. On the restart Merritt tried the low side early, but Picou shot back ahead as Allen, Neuman and Jackson and Willis were battling hard.
Merritt tried several times to make the pass, but it was Picou grabbing his first win of the season in his first start with Merritt, Neuman, Allen and Jackson completing the top five.
The Bomber feature would find a first time winner for this season as defending champion Landon Johnson took early advantage of his front row pole spot by jumping out to the early lead as current point leader Joe Francis pulled to the inside groove and gave chase.
Behind the lead duo, Shawn Stong, last week’s winner Tim Jones, Dennis Jones and a fast moving Heath Loney were racing tight for spots. With Johnson and Francis still battling, Loney quietly made his charge to the front on lap 8 and the race developed into a 3-wide battle. Francis pulled even with Johnson but Landon kept to the high groove as Loney shot low attempting to take over control.
On lap 10, Loney would have a tire go down dropping him for the chance to win. Heading to the checkered flag, Johnson grabs the win with Francis, a fast moving Strong, Tim Jones and Dennis Jones in the top five.

The B-Modified feature would also find another new winner as current point leader Josh Woody took the opening lead, but on lap 2 Jason Otto shot to the outside groove and never looked back in a feature that went caution-free.
While Otto was long gone the race for second place was tight as Woody, Tyler Brown and Brandon Pister were battling. A late-arriving Kris Jackson, who started last, was driving the wheels off his car coming through the pack. Woody’s strong run started to fade with problems on lap 13 as Brown went to the outside and grabbed second place with Jackson following him around. With the checkered flying for Otto, Brown, Jackson, Woody and Pister completed the top five.
Factory Stock
In Factory Stock action Mark Bourey completed the Lebanon Weekend sweep by grabbing the early lead but Justin Stoufer was right on his bumper for the first 4 laps until problems sent him to the pits. This moved Sheldon Stoufer to second as he attempted to take the lead with Tim Riffle third. Stoufer shot up the track and Riffle moved into second place and began to reel in the leader Bourey. Bourey proved to be to strong in the latter stages as he grabs the victory with Riffle, Sheldon Stoufer, Ted Ballinger and Justin Stoufer completing the top five.
Rookie Class
Another great race in the Rookie Class saw last week’s winner, Jeff Brown, grab the opening lead, but Dave Meldrum took his Mopar Machine around Brown on lap 3 coming out of turn 2 to grab his first win of the season with a fast moving Tom Powers, Dane Bartle and Robert Doublin completing the top five.
Editor’s Note: Information for this story provided by I-44 Speedway.