April 22, 2014
Lucas Cattle Company ULMA drivers participated in a pair of championship points-earning events over the weekend. Callaway Raceway in Fulton hosted its second race of the season as Lucas Oil Speedway kicked the season with their first regular race program of the year.
Action began on Friday at Callaway Raceway as seven drivers competed in a pair of heat races. Last week’s winner, Vance Wilson and Todd McCoin claimed the heat wins and in the process claimed front-row starting positions for the main event.
When the main event began, McCoin led the opening lap but when the field came back around for lap number two, Wilson assumed command and relegated McCoin to second where he ran solidly until he went too high in turns one and two to draw a caution flag. Once racing resumed, Jon Melloway came forward to the second position but by lap ten Wilson had extended his lead to nearly a half straightaway.
Meanwhile McCoin was unable to gain ground as he battled with Zeke Langley, Chris Cox and Terry Gallaher behind the lead pair. Wilson used the middle lane in turns one and two and the high side in three and four while Melloway stayed glued to the high side all the way around the track.
On lap 17, McCoin retired from the event but racing continued. Melloway actually gained a little bit of ground on the leader in the late stages of the race as Wilson had just enough trouble maneuvering the corners for Melloway to gain ever so slightly. In the end, it wasn’t enough as Wilson easily cruised to his second straight Callaway and ULMA victory in as many weeks. Melloway settled for second, followed by Langley, Cox, Gallaher and McCoin.
Racing continues on Friday evening at Callaway Raceway. Visit the raceway online at their all-new website, located at www.callawayraceways.com. Gates open at 5, hot laps begin at 7 and racing starts at 7:30.
For opening night at Lucas Oil Speedway, 24 cars checked in for the night and competed in three heat races. Preliminary heat race action was close throughout each of the events. In a hard-fought battle during heat one, Chris Cox and Ethan Young waged a battle for the ages to sort out the win. Cox went on to narrowly claim the win over Young and Jake Williams.
Heat race two produced another barn burner as Lane Ehlert ran strong throughout as he inherited the lead when then leader Brian Schutt spun. Ehlert held off former track champion Tommy Cordray and Kenny Mudd to claim the win. In the final heat race, Larry Jones claimed the win ahead of returning racer Dwight Niehoff, and J.D. Hubert, who led the event until the last turn as he coasted across the line with mechanical issues.
Larry Jones and Chris Cox paced the field as 23 drivers set sail for 25 laps while battling for $1,000 to win. Jones took command of the race early on with Ethan Young and Lane Ehlert giving chase. By lap four, Jones developed a 10-car length lead over his closest pursuer, which remained Rookie of the Year candidate Young.
Kenny Mudd started the race seventh but that did not deter him from making his way into the top five by lap five. Around the same time Mudd moved into fifth, Jeremy Kelley and Jon Binning had slight contact in the turn 3 and 4 area with Binning losing ground while Kelley moved forward.
By Lap 7, Young closed in on Jones at the front while former Track Champion Tommy Cordray and Mudd were battled to sort out fifth position. A caution flew over the field by lap 9 for a pair of spinning cars as Jones led Young, Dwight Niehoff, Ehlert, and Cordray inside the top five on the restart.
Last year’s ULMA Rookie of the Year, Payton Looney experienced a rough restart and lost several spots after an incursion through the infield while the race stayed under green-flag conditions. On lap 11, Jones was under heavy pressure from Niehoff as the lead duo got together heading down the back stretch, leaving Jones’ car veering out of control and narrowly missing a run-in with the backstretch wall and relegating him to second.
Young found himself in command with Niehoff Evan Hubert and Jones running close inside the top five by lap 14. On lap 17, the second caution flag waved over the field for a single-car spin, leaving the lead cars scrambling to find a safe way around the disabled car, luckily all of them missed and the race quickly resumed.
Young led the field back to green with Niehoff, Hubert, Mudd and Cordray now holding down the rest of the top five positions. The restart was a wild one with several battles going three-wide down the front straightaway taking place shortly before the third and final caution flew a couple laps later.
Mudd held the second position behind Young with Niehoff, Kelley and Cordray close behind. Jones’ bad luck continued as he was shuffled back outside of the top ten during the final two restarts. On lap 22, Niehoff too command of the race with Young, Mudd, Cordray and Jake Williams inside the top five.
Niehoff held off the strong field in the end to claim his first-ever ULMA Late Model victory and first late model victory in general. Young finished a strong second, followed by Cordray, Mudd and Williams inside the top five. Niehoff, who recently graduated from UNOH after fielding a UMP Modified for the last couple years was grateful to his parents in victory lane and complimented the track staff for the well-prepared track.
Rounding out the top ten were Kelley, Looney, Ehlert, Cox and Justin Russell. The Speedway hosts its second weekly championship series race, Saturday, April 26, for more information visit www.lucasoilspeedway.com.
ULMA membership forms are located on the website at www.ulmaracing.com. Drivers are encouraged to complete their membership forms prior to taking their first green flag of the season. Membership for the remainder of the year is $100. Drivers should be expected to complete their membership paperwork upon checking in at each of the affiliated tracks.
Visit ULMA’s title sponsor at www.lucascattlecompany.com. ULMA thanks Hoosier Tire Midwest and Rod End Supply for their continued support. For more information on ULMA, visit www.ulmaracing.com.
Friday, April 25 – Callaway Raceway
Saturday, April 26 – Lucas Oil Speedway
Friday, May 2 – Callaway Raceway
Saturday, May 3 – Central Missouri Speedway
Friday, May 9 – Callaway Raceway
Saturday, May 10 – Lucas Oil Speedway
Saturday, May 10 – Randolph County Raceway
First picture courtesy of Chris Bork of CB Race Photos, #23 Ethan Young and #9d Dwight Niehoff race for the win in the closing laps last Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland.
Second picture courtesy of Ashley Duncan of A to Z Photography, #7x Todd McCoin and #B1 Vance Wilson run close in the early stages of last Friday’s main event at Callaway Raceway in Fulton.