For the third time in as many races this season, the Bandit Big Rig Series saw a first-time winner in its June 22 race at Lebanon I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Missouri.
Marshall Davis claimed his first win in a race that had four caution delays in the first four laps. Davis started the event in 11th place out of 16 truck racers and slowly worked his way up through the field before taking the lead from polesitter Mark Noble on lap 15 out of 30.
The race started with a bang as a caution flag flew before the first lap was completed. Craig Kruckeberg attempted to pass Bob Mitchell on the high side in turn three but ran out of real estate and went off the track, then Mitchell lost control of his truck coming out of turn four and hit the concrete barrier wall, bringing out the yellow flag.
After an extended delay to get fluid and other debris cleaned up off the track, Luke Whitmire’s truck had mechanical problems on the restart, bringing out another caution and further delaying the race.
Finally, after another delay, the racers were able to complete a lap with Mark Noble leading the way. However, on lap four, debris littered the track after multiple trucks made contact, bringing out the third caution of the day.
On the next restart, Noble again jumped out ahead of the pack with “88 Mike” Morgan on his back bumper. Later in that lap, however, Kruckeberg and Tim Ashley collided, spinning Ashley’s rig into the wall on the front stretch, bringing out the fourth and final caution of the day.
On the final restart, Noble once again maintained his lead as racers behind him jockeyed for position. Davis worked his way up through the field and, with 15 laps to go, passed Noble on the outside and never looked back, claiming his first Bandit Series win in his second season with the series.
Finishing behind Davis were Noble, Hungarian truck racing rookie Bendegúz Molnár, Morgan and Allen Boles.
Following the race, Molnár continues to lead the points standings over two-time defending series champion Ricky “Rude” Proffitt. Only nine points separate the racers in the overall standings with eight races remaining on the schedule.
The Bandit racers will make a quick turnaround this week and head to Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana, for a race this weekend, June 29. The race was originally scheduled for June 8 but was postponed due to weather.
Tickets for the Salem race are available online here, priced at $15 for adults and free for children 8 and under. Track gates will open at 3 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet with Bandit drivers from 5-6:15 p.m. Racing will begin at 7 p.m.