Officials at the High Banks of the Lebanon I-44 Speedway are happy to announce that the driver known as the "Mayor of NASCAR" and soon to be NBC NASCAR analyst Jeff Burton will be the Grand Marshall for the 2nd Annual Mercy Masters of the Pro's 144. The JEGS/CRA All-Star Series presented by Chevrolet Performance returns for this marquee event on May 17th to take on the the O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Whelen All American Series competitors as Lebanon I-44 Speedway hands out a whopping $8,000 to the winner of the Pro Late Model showcase.
Burton was the 1994 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year while driving the Stavola Brothers Raybestos Brakes Ford. From there he moved to Roush Fenway Racing in 1996 and in the 1997 through 2000 seasons was best known as the driver for the Exide Batteries Ford. In that stretch Burton was always considered a contender for each and every race while never finishing lower than 5th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. In 2004 Burton moved to Richard Childress Racing and in 2006 Jeff not only made The Chase but won in Dover and was leading the points for much of the 10 race Championship battle. Jeff was a mainstay at RCR through 2013. In 2014 Burton is driving for Michael Waltrip Racing and enjoying a little more time with his family.
Burton has started 692 NASCAR Sprint Cup Races while winning 21 times at the top level along with 254 top 10's and 6 poles. In the Nationwide Series, Burton has captured 27 wins while placing in the top 10 153 times with 11 Pole Awards.
Burton's son Harrison who is racing in both Pro Late Model events and Super Late Model events will be competing in the Mercy Masters of the Pro's 144 going after the Green Jacket and the high paying prize money. "We are very excited to compete in what has become one of the marquee pro late model events in the country and I was honored to be asked to act as Grand Marshal of the race" said Jeff Burton.
Harrison, only 13 years old is starting to make a name for himself as a top contender in the South and East as he finished second in the overall points in the 2014 World Series of Asphalt Racing this season during Speed Weeks at the NASCAR Whelen All American Series sanctioned New Smyrna Speedway. Young Burton took home 2 wins during that week of action. Harrison will be driving the DEX Imaging number 12 with legendary crew chief Freddy Query making the calls while trying to make the scheduled 28 car starting grid for this year's marquee event.
In last years' 1st Annual Mercy Masters of the Pro's 144, Dawsonville Georgia's Chase Elliott set a new Pro Late Model record by stopping the clock at a 14.344 in time trials on the high banked 3/8 mile oval. Elliott took the lead just past the pit stop break at lap 99 from Eddie Hoffman and never took on fresh tires in grabbing the $8,000 victory. "Our 2013 event set the bar so high and we are very blessed to have a great partner like Mercy Hospitals as a partner" said Lebanon I-44 Speedway General Kevin Greven "Jeff Burton, The Mayor of NASCAR was very gracious to come in as our Grand Marshal and I am very excited to see his son Harrison entered in the event with the great finishes that he and Freddy Query have teamed up to put together in the last year".
Last year's Mercy Masters of the Pros 144 drew 39 entries. There is a mandatory caution at lap 100 that allows a 10 minute pit stop break in which the teams can make adjustments to the car along with the option of changing only 2 tires. It offers the fans and drivers a great finish as the laps after the break under caution do not count. There is also a special autograph session in which the fans get a chance early in the evening to meet and greet the drivers competing before they do battle. "We are excited to sponsor the Mercy Masters of the Pros 144 again this year. It is Mercy co-worker appreciation night, and a great chance to come out and see some incredible racing. I couldn't be more pleased with how the event is coming together" explained Mike Gillen, President of Mercy Hospital Lebanon and Regional Hospital Operations.
Mayor of NASCAR is Grand Marshal for Mercy at I-44
Jeff Burton is Grand Marshal as Harrison Burton enters the Mercy Masters of the Pros 144
I-44 Speedway PR
Harrison Burton in victory lane with his dad Jeff Burton. (Speed51.com photo)