David Melloway of Hallsville, Missouri became the first winner during ULMA’s Decade of Racing anniversary celebration after racing to his first-ever ULMA Lucas Cattle Company victory. Melloway’s thrilling victory came during the association’s first-ever trip to I-35 Speedway in Winston, Missouri.
Melloway overcame a few obstacles to make his way to victory lane and will go down in ULMA history as one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. He not only outran his brother Jon, who happens to be the defending Lucas Cattle Company ULMA Champion, but he also outran former ULMA champions Jason Bodenhamer and Jon Binning and a former Lucas Oil MLRA winner a the track, Chris Smyser.
The qualifying field was made up of 11 cars for ULMA’s first-ever visit to I-35 Speedway, which also turned out to be the first ULMA points-earning event of the season after two previous cancellations at Callaway Raceway.
Two heat races got the main event’s lineup in order with Chris Smyser outrunning former I-35 Speedway multiple time Late Model track champion driver Tommy Cordray, and David Melloway. Jon Melloway raced to the win in the second heat race with Jon Binning and last year’s Rookie of the Year Dustin Hodges trailing close behind.
The field was led to the green flag by Jon Melloway and Smyser in front of a dedicated group of fans who came out and braved the 40-degree weather to see a rare glimpse of late models at I-35 Speedway. Smyser and Melloway went back and forth for several laps in what could be a preview of two of the expected championship front-runners for this season.
Smyser made himself the man to beat as Melloway eventualy slipped back behind a strong-running Tommy Cordray, who kept front-runner Smyser in his sights. For 16 straight laps. drivers fought for position all throughout the field. Unfortunately, just as Jon Melloway appeared to be rebounding in the standings, an encounter with the back-stretch wall foiled any plans he had of winning.
Meanwhile, David Melloway was working on his foray to the front of the pack by picking off his brother, Cordray, and eventually Smyser, who at one point had built an 8-car length lead on his closest pursuer. On lap 16, a caution flag flew for the stalled car of Steve Clancy. With just four laps remaining and the field once again bunched up, Smyser was unable to reassume command of the event on the restart and was forced back to the runner-up position as David Melloway cruised on to victory. Smyser finished second, followed by sixth-starting Jason Brodenhamer in third, Jon Binning in fourth, Dustin Hodges in fifth, Tommy Cordray in sixth, then Bobby Penney, Ron Binning, Wesley Briggs, Jon Melloway, and Steve Clancy.
ULMA extended their thanks to the entire speedway staff after drivers were faced with a near-perfect race surface at I-35 and they hope to return to Winston, Missouri for future ULMA events.
ULMA will try for a third time at Callaway Raceway tonight with gates opening at 5pm and action beginning at 7pm with hot laps and racing at 7:30.
Lucas Oil Speedway will begin its 2016 weekly championship race season with a special memorial event honoring the track’s former champion, Jake Williams, who sadly and tragically lost his life in an accident during the off-season. The Jake Williams Memorial event will pay the Late Model winner $1,000 for the victory. Several drivers are scheduled to honor Williams with their attendance in the event and former ULMA Champion and a close friend of Williams, Jon Binning, will pilot Williams’ familiar #72 Late Model around the track to honor his late friend.
For mor information on the season, ticket info, and full schedule, visit www.ulmaracing.com.