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Russell, Looney recognized at ULMA banquet

October 28, 2013

in Racing

Rookie of the Year and 2nd in points #12 Payton Looney, #B1 Vance Wilson 3rd in points, and #2j Jason Russell 2013 ULMA Champion, battling for the win in August at Lucas Oil Speedway. Photo by Chris Bork.

By Sam Stoecklin
ULMA Public Relations

October 22, 2013

MOBERLY – The seventh year of Lucas Cattle Company ULMA competition officially came to a close Saturday evening in California, Missouri with the recognition of drivers finishing among the top ten in the final point standings as well as Rookie of the Year honors after a successful 2013 season.

The banquet featured a self-catered meal prepared by ULMA officials followed by an awards presentation for drivers and their guests. Prior to the presentations, attendees were told that preparations for the 2014 season, which marks year number eight for ULMA, were well underway. Since the first sanctioned race in 2007, ULMA drivers have competed in 345 races.

Prior to the recognition ceremony, ULMA officials stated that without the support and belief of Lucas Cattle Company ULMA racing would not be possible nor would the end-of-season driver’s point fund. In addition to Lucas Cattle Company, Hoosier Tire Midwest, FastShafts, Rod End Supply, and RacingJunk.com were also acknowledged for their support and contributions to ULMA.

Eight drivers raced their way into victory lane in 2013, including Jason Russell (15), Vance Wilson (14), Payton Looney (3), Kenny Mudd (2), Mike Montague (2), J.D. Hubert (1), Jason Bodenhamer (1), and Tommy Cordray. (1). Vance Wilson’s 10 wins at Randolph County Raceway was the most for a single driver at one track.

ULMA sincerely thanks the four Missouri-based tracks that hosted 51 drivers competing in 39 sanctioned events this year. Tracks include Randolph County Raceway (13) in Moberly, Callaway Raceway (12) in Fulton, Lucas Oil Speedway (12) in Wheatland, and Double XX Speedway (2) in California.

The overall average car count for the year was 16 while a total of 15 races fell to wet weather this season. The 2013 season also so the rise of several young drivers including Rookie of the Year Payton Looney, Jon Melloway, Bobby Penney, and Dalton Imhoff; these drivers help ensure the future of Late Model racing.

Earl Roark finished tenth this season and recorded 17 starts. Among his achievements were 12 top- ten and 5 top-five finishes with a best finish of second. Ninth place went to Larry Winn who accumulated 19 starts with 16 top-ten finishes and 10 top-five runs along the way with a pair of runner-up finishes for his best of the year.

Finishing in eighth was Todd McCoin of Barnett, his best-ever points finish. McCoin recorded 23 starts with 5 top-five and 15 top-ten finishes throughout the season with a best finish of second. Seventh place went to Tommy Cordray, who recorded one win in 2013 among his 16 starts that also included 9 top-five and 11 top-ten runs.

ULMA drivers receive their trophies at the season-ending banquet. L to R: Jon Melloway, Larry Winn, Todd McCoin, Justin Russell, Vance Wilson, Payton Looney, Kenny Mudd, & champion Jason Russell. Photo by ULMA.

Jon Melloway experienced a late-season surge in which vaulted to sixth in the overall standings thanks to 14 top-five and 17 top-ten finishes in 20 appearances this season and a best finish of second. Fifth position went to Kenny Mudd, who claimed two wins on the season in 15 starts. Mudd posted an impressive 13 top-five and top-ten finishes, this year. Justin Russell registered his best-ever ULMA season by finishing fourth. He recorded a best finish of second with 10 top-five and 16 top-ten finishes to his credit in 24 starts and while receiving his awards stated, “Without my Dad, none of us Russell Boys would be able to race.”

Vance Wilson, who was the 2010 ULMA Champion, recorded another phenomenal season this year by going to victory lane 14 times in 24 starts, which included 22 top five and top ten finishes. His phenomenal finishing record translated to a 92 percent top-five finishing record. Wilson went to victory lane in 58 percent of the races he entered. After accepting his accolades, Wilson stated, “I enjoyed racing with everyone this year and I look forward to coming back again next season.”

Not only did second-generation driver Payton Looney capture the 2013 Rookie of the Year title, the young ace also went to victory lane on three occasions, including a $1,000-to-win victory against 25 fierce competitors at Lucas Oil Speedway. Looney’s rookie season of 23 starts included 15 top-five and 19 top-ten finishes, which secured his second-place finish in this year’s standings. A visibly thankful Looney recognized the Russ Niehoff Family and his Parents when accepting his awards and said, “None of this would be possible without Russ and my Parents and I thank them for all their support.”

Jason Russell

Without question, Jason Russell turned in one of the most dominating seasons in Late Model sanctioning body history this year. His incredible journey saw him break the single-season ULMA wins record with 15 victories, which actually accounted for his 15 points-accumulating starts.

Among his stats were 24 race appearances, 23 top-five and top ten-finishes, which amounted to a 96 percent top-five finish ratio. His win percentage was a staggering 63 percent. Russell also became ULMA’s first-ever repeat champion.

In accepting his awards, the Champion recognized a large group of people including family, crew, and friends as well as his car owners, Luis and Stephanie Murga. “I have a great group of people that help make all of this possible and I am looking forward to racing with everyone again next season,” said a thankful Russell.

ULMA would like to thank the California Shooter’s Club for the use of their facilities and for their part in making the banquet possible. The association was recently pleased to learn of additional drivers either making the switch to late models for the 2014 season or making a return to ULMA action for the 2014 season.

A change in the way points are accumulated throughout the season is expected to be announced in the coming weeks by ULMA while the release of car-class and general-race rules will follow closely behind to coincide with off-season tradeshows and events.

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