The Lucas Cattle Company ULMA 2014 season ended in September with Jon Binning of Warrensburg, Missouri claiming the title and becoming the association’s seventh different champion in eight years. When all was said and done, it was a classic battle to the finish between Binning and Lockwood, Missouri driver and recent UNOH graduate Dwight Niehoff.
When the association formed during the fall of 2006, the original intent was to design a set of unified rules to align tracks and drivers, ultimately allowing them to compete while not losing the uniqueness and feel of true late model racing while retaining cars on the tracks on a weekly basis. In 2014, 78 drivers competed in 41 total sanctioned events at Callaway Raceway, Central Missouri Speedway, Double X Speedway, Lucas Oil Speedway, and Randolph County Raceway. All total, 19 different drivers claimed victories throughout the year. As a quality review process, the association will have its standings reviewed throughout the year to ensure the utmost accuracy. ULMA will once again use the 15 best points-earning night schematic to factor the championship standings.
Business partners with ULMA for the 2014 season included RacinDirt.com, Bob Douglas at Rod End Supply and RacingJunk.com, the official classifieds of ULMA.
Harrisburg, Missouri’s, Ryan Petersheim earned the title of ULMA Rookie of the Year in 2014 by accumulating 19 starts, where he came away 11th in the final standing. His best finish of the year was three fourth-place finishes at Randolph County Raceway, he recorded 12 top-ten finishes and eight top-5 finishes.
The 2010 ULMA Champion, Vance Wilson of Quincy, Illinois finished tenth in this year’s standings. Although he competed on a limited basis, Wilson registered seven victories this year, more than any other competitor this season. Wilson now has 31 ULMA-sanctioned victories and leads the all-time win’s list category.
This year’s ninth-place finisher was Larry Winn of Hallsville, Missouri, who posted 18 starts this season and a best finish of second at Callaway Raceway. Throughout the season, Winn competed at Callaway Raceway, Randolph County Raceway, Lucas Oil Speedway, and Central Missouri Speedway. He posted 15 top-10 finishes among his 18 starts.
Finishing in eighth this year was Justin Russell of Henley, Missouri. Justin recorded one victory at Callaway Raceway in early August. He competed on 22 occasions this season and scored 14 top-10 finishes this year with five top-5 finishes to his credit.
Todd McCoin of Barnett, Missouri finished seventh this year. In 21 starts, he recorded 17 top-10 finishes. The highlight of his year came in mid-July when he posted his first-ever ULMA victory after many years of trying. McCoin’s victory came at the tight confines of Double X Speedway in California, Missouri in one of ULMA’s two appearances at the beloved track this year. Among his other achievements were seven top-5 finishes.
After years of being one of the most active ULMA drivers, Ashland, Missouri’s Zeke Langley recorded his best-ever season and finished sixth. Among his 19 starts this year were 15 top-10 finishes and 11 top-5 finishes with a best finish of third in multiple events. Langley also earned the title of Track Champion at Callaway Raceway.
This year’s fifth-place finisher was Jake Williams of Lockwood, Missouri. Williams posted 19 starts with 16 top-10 finishes, 11 of those being top-5 finishes. He recorded three strong runner-up finishes and one victory this year, which came on April 26 at Lucas Oil Speedway, where he was Track Champion. Williams also claimed this year’s Triple Crown Shootout Championship over the July 4th holiday weekend.
This year’s ULMA iron man was Jefferson City, Missouri driver Chris Cox, who had an amazing 34 starts out of a possible 41 events. Cox recorded his first-ever ULMA victory this year after many seasons of coming close! He led the ULMA points well into the season and went on to register six top-5 finishes and 26 top-10 runs during the 34 races he competed in.
Last year, second-generation upstart Payton Looney earned the Rookie of the Year title. For his second year competing with ULMA, Looney again posted another solid season, including three trips to victory lane. He competed on 24 occasions throughout the year. Among his highlights was finishing in the top ten in 22 of 24 of the races he competed in. Looney also registered 14 top-5 finishes with an average finish of 5.1.
Dwight Niehoff of Lockwood, Missouri, finished in the runner-up position this season. Niehoff’s year featured a myriad of emotional highs and lows in his bid for the title. During the heart of summer he and his crew escaped serious injury when the hauler he was driving containing his and Payton Looney’s cars was involved in a grinding crash that caused extensive damage to both cars but thankfully no injuries to Dwight or his crew.
Niehoff’s season-long battle with friend and fellow competitor Jon Binning came down to the wire at Lucas Oil Speedway on the final night of competition. Niehoff’s numbers included 26 starts and three victories, including one trip each to victory lane at Callaway Raceway, Lucas Oil Speedway and his first-ever win at Central Missouri Speedway. He registered 20 top-10 finishes with 15 top-5 finishes.
Jon Binning joined the likes of Brett Rollert, Jason Bodenhamer, Kevin Kaiser, Vance Wilson, Rylan Long, and Jason Russell as ULMA champion this season. Over the years, no driver has participated in more events than Binning, who has racked up an impressive 186-career ULMA starts. For every champion, there are stand-out statistics that make a “championship year.” Those statistics for Binning were his double-win weekends registered over the Memorial Day weekend at Central Missouri Speedway and again at CMS as well as Randolph County Raceway in Moberly in late August. Binning posted 25 nights of competition this season at all five of the sanctioned tracks in collecting five victories along the way, three at Central Missouri Speedway and one each at Callaway Raceway and Randolph County Raceway. Three of his five wins came in the final few weeks and placed him in position to seek his first-ever ULMA championship. Along the way he garnered 13 top-5 and 20 total top-10 finishes.
Although the season just recently completed, a few tracks have already released a preview of their 2015 schedules, including ULMA’s mainstay track, Lucas Oil Speedway, which once again averaged over 20 cars on a weekly basis during last year’s events.
Twelve weekly race programs with ULMA participating are slated for the Lucas Oil Speedway season, highlighted by the special Thursday night, July 2 race program, which will again be part of ULMA’s annual ‘Triple Crown Shootout.’ For additional information, visit www.lucasoilspeedway.com.
Central Missouri Speedway in Warrensburg, Missouri also has released some tentative dates for 2015, which at press time; include six appearances by ULMA Late Models. Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, Missouri is expected to release its tentative schedule in the coming weeks. Further developments regarding next year’s schedule will appear as tracks release their approaching season event schedules.
For more information, news, information, standings, and more visit www.ulmaracing.com.
Image via Facebook, ULMA Racing.