LEBANON, MO. - On a night that featured fireworks on and off the race track, it was only fitting that the driver that finally broke O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models points leader Cole Williams' four race stranglehold on victory lane was a fellow young gun who's getting hot at the right time. Lil' J.C. Newell started near the front and never relinquished the top spot over the final portion of the feature on the way to his first career win in the division, holding off a mad dash by Williams, who spun out, charged from the back of the field to second, and almost tracked down his teenage compatriot just before the July 3rd "Salute to America" fireworks celebration.
Other racing action featured exciting action as well with Scotty Allen and Justin Blake continuing their hot streaks with wins in the Budweiser Modifieds and Hoosier Tire Road Warriors respectively. Jimmy Poindexter scored a second straight trip to victory lane in the Coca-Cola Chargers and Austin Johnson walked away to a first career checkers in the Monster Energy Sportsman main event.
Steve Holt surged into the top spot when the green flag waved on the evening's marquee event, the 30-lap O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models headliner. Teenager Lil' J.C. Newell swiftly applied pressure to Holt's back bumper as fellow young gun Matt Wallace closed up behind in third. Newell nudged past Holt for the top spot on lap five and quickly put some space between himself and Wallace, who followed the leader into the bridesmaid's position.
A caution waved with 22 laps remaining after points leader Cole Williams, winner of the last four features in the division, went for a solo trip through the spin cycle in turn one. On the restart, Newell came under fire from Wallace for the lead, but eased away from him as the race moved on. By the time Williams had charged back into the top-five, Newell was a straightaway ahead. Williams snagged second from Austin Fullerton with just six laps remaining as Wallace dropped back to fourth. Williams sliced the deficit in half, but ran out of time as Newell held on for his first career win in the division.
"We just tried to hold on for all we had," Newell said in the winner's circle. "I gotta thank everybody who has helped me so far this year for making this possible."
Williams rallied back for an impressive runner-up finish while Fullerton posted a podium finish in third. Wallace held on for fourth, edging out Holt at the line.
Scotty Allen soared to the lead in the beginning stages of the 25-lap Budweiser NASCAR Modifieds feature. Behind the leader, defending champion Tyler Scott pushed past David Bates for second and began to slowly track down the leader. It wasn't long before Bates was back at it, pressuring Scott for the bridesmaid's position as Allen tried to build a cushion up front.
As the laps wound down, Allen continued to pace the field as Scott eased away from Bates and Ricky Icenhower for second. Allen managed to keep enough space between himself and Scott to notch his second win of the season and remain in the lead in the point standings. Behind the top two, Icenhower got around Bates for a podium spot in third and Saturday night's first-time winner, Payton Lucas, finished in fifth.
Aaron Wilke grabbed the early edge in the 15-lap Hoosier Tire Road Warriors main event, but he quickly came under pressure from points leader Justin Blake and Carl Harlow. Harlow peeked to the inside of Wilke for the top spot, while Blake tried the high side to no avail at first. With just three laps remaining, Blake finally made the high side work, getting around Wilke for the top spot and slipping away before a caution flew for contact between Harlow and Wilke for second. Blake held on to the lead and grabbed his third victory of the season, extending his points lead in the process. Harlow finished second and Les Mallard grabbed a podium finish in third.
In a special non-points event, it was more of the same for the Monster Energy Sportsman as Robert Reeves grabbed the top spot on the opening lap of the 12-lap main event ran in conjunction with the United States Super Trucks. Reeves was coming under fire from young gun Austin Johnson for the top spot when the two made contact and the caution waved for Johnson spinning in turn three all by himself.
After a wreck on the restart wiped out the elder J.C. Newell, a lengthy caution period bunched the field back up. Reeves rolled to the front again when the green flag waved, but suddenly slowed at the halfway mark as Johnson was the fortunate benefactor, inheriting the top spot and walking away from the field for his first career win at Missouri's only asphalt oval. Eddie Tidwell prevailed in the United States Super Trucks portion of the event.
The wild and wacky Coca-Cola Chargers lived up to their reputation during Wednesday night's 12-lap feature event, with a plethora of stoppages due to mayhem and melees while Jimmy Poindexter stole the points lead and grabbed the top spot halfway through the event. The man he took it from, Larry Hunter, tried desperately to track him down. The veteran wouldn't be able to do it however, as Poindexter held on for his second win in a four-day span.
Drivers will now take a break from racing this weekend in observance of the Laclede County Fair before action returns to Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Saturday, July 20 for the seventh week of Monster Energy Chase for the Cup action in 2013. A full slate of racing action headlined by the O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Pro Late Models is scheduled with gates opening at 5 p.m. and the first green flag waving at 7 p.m.
For more information on Lebanon I-44 Speedway, including a full 2013 schedule and more, visit the track website at www.i44speedway.net or visit the track's Facebook and Twitter pages online.