I-44 Speedway to pay tribute to Larry Phillips with Independence Day special

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Lebanon I-44 Speedway will be paying tribute to the late Larry Phillips with a 75 lap Pro Late Model feature event and a spectacular Firework display follwing the races on Saturday, July 7 at I-44 Speedway. Gates open at 6 p.m. and racing begins at 7:30 p.m. 

By: 
DYLAN BATES

This Saturday, July 7, Lebanon I-44 Speedway will pay tribute to the late Larry Phillips with the Salute to 75. The Salute to 75, presented by Missouri Cooperage, will feature a 75 lap Pro Late Model feature with some of the most talented Late Model drivers in the country.

Larry Phillips was born on July 3, 1942 and passed away on September 21, 2004 at the age of 62. During those 62 years Larry achieved many great things. Larry is one of the winningest drivers ever in the Midwest and also found a lot of success right here at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Larry dominated the dirt track here at I-44 Speedway and when we paved the track here in 1989, he never missed a beat. Larry won 23 of the 27 NASCAR sanctioned races that year and took home the Track Championship right down the road at the Historic Bolivar Speedway. Larry won the NASCAR Weekly Series National Championship a record-setting five times.

In those five years, Larry ran 167 NASCAR sanctioned races here at I-44 Speedway and other local tracks and won 136 of those races. Throughout Larry’s entire racing career, he held a 76% winning record. After Philips’ final National Series Championship in 1996 he continued to compete in the No. 75 Late Model here at Lebanon I-44 Speedway and continued to find Victory Lane.

Larry also raced a Modified regularly throughout his later years. It should be noted that Larry was also a car builder. He built all of his own race cars and also built and sold race cars to his competitors. One of those cars is still raced here at I-44 Speedway by Kennie Dickinson in the Big 10 Late Model division. Larry was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2000 but continued to compete until the first race of the 2001 season. Larry still attended races across the Midwest supporting his son Terry until he passed away in September of 2004.

The Ozarks area racers still mourn the loss of Larry Phillips, but the impact he left on the sport in this area will forever be recognized. Larry has been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Ozarks Area Racers Hall of Fame, the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame, and was named one of the 25 Greatest Whelen All-American Series Drivers of All-Time.

All of the weekly racing division will be in action on Saturday night with many tight points races shaping up as only 15 points separate the top three in several of our classes including the new Big 10 Late Models and the Pro Late Models. Kennie Dickinson now has two feature wins under his belt this season in the Pro Late Model division and is also the point leader, can he hold off the “Hurryin’ Hoosier’ of Cole Williams as he will be making his return to the High-Banks this Saturday, or will we see a new face in Victory Lane this weekend like last year’s Rookie of the Year, Jake Piel? The always consistent No. 14 car of Tim Swearengin will be looking for win number two on the season this weekend as well in hopes of closing the points gap between himself and Dickinson.

Also, the new inner track for our Charger division has already hosted three exciting features with drivers from dirt and asphalt backgrounds finding their way to Victory Lane, will we see the dirt driver, Will Garner, find his way to Victory Lane for the third time this season?

The Salute to 75 is set up to be the most exciting, action-packed, night of racing so far this season. The gates will open at 6:00 p.m. and racing starts at 7:30 p.m. Grandstand admission is $15.00 for adults, and kids 10 and under are free. Following the races will be a fireworks display.

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The Laclede County Record

100 E. Commercial St.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-9131