WHEATLAND, Missouri (October 1, 2019) – Much of the intrigue surrounding this weekend’s 6th annual Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt will be surrounding the O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks, which is understandable considering the $10,000 check awaiting Saturday night’s feature winner.
But the storyline for the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models also is shaping up as a dandy. Full programs are set for both Friday and Saturday nights, with feature winners collecting $1,000 and $2,000. A season champion of the Lucas Cattle Company ULMA Series also will be crowned.
For Aaron Marrant of Richmond, Missouri, it’s a chance to lock down his second ULMA title in three years. He enters the weekend 54 points ahead of Rookie of the Year leader Cole Henson and 92 in front of Ryan Johnson, another top rookie contender.
“It means the world to us,” Marrant said of another championship bid for him and car owners Michael Meise and Bob Morton. “I couldn’t even imagine trying to do what we’re doing without those guys and just everything they do for me. They give me the opportunity to race every week. I’ve had my own race team and I know what it takes.
“For those guys to let me do the fun part, it’s just awesome. Hopefully we can bring it home.”
Marrant said the ULMA division has rapidly ascended in the quality of competition the last few years. He cites the last two Lucas Oil Speedway points chases, in which he’s been locked in a three-way battle with eventual champion Johnny Fennewald and Kaeden Cornell until the final lap of the final race the last two years.
“This class, this is my fifth year in it and it has advanced to much from when we started,” Marrant said. “It’s gotten so competitive. All of us, when it comes down to two or three points in the top three positions, it shows nobody has a real advantage on the other. It’s who starts where, who gets out front. We’re all so close to the same speed. It’s just how things fall.”
Marrant has six feature wins and 11 other top-five finishes this season. He’s only been outside the top five one time in 18 ULMA events.
Marrant said he’s focusing on his usual strategy of chasing wins and top-fives and letting the points shake themselves out.
“That’s how we approach it every week,” Marrant said. “You figure if you go there and win, the points will take care of themselves. As long as we do what we’re supposed to do, the points will fall into place.”
Not far behind the top trio at Lucas Oil Speedway this season was Henson, a fast-learning newcomer to the Late Models. The Russellville, Missouri, driver has four feature wins and 10 other top-five finishes in ULMA features in 2019.
“It’s been a great season,” Henson said. “We started out and didn’t focus on points a lot. We were just focused on top-fives and getting as many wins as we could. We’ve picked up some great wins this year, some that are the biggest of my career.
“As the season started to wind down, we noticed that we were in the hunt for this championship. We started to focus on it a little more and make sure we were running as good as we could. My car owner Rob Schlup has been working hard and Tony Jackson Jr. has been helping us. It’s been a great season.”
Henson said he knows overtaking Marrant in points will be a longshot, adding that “some things will have to happen” to Marrant in order for that to happen.
“I never want to see anything bad happen to any of my competitors,” Henson added. “I want to race as hard and clean as I can, just like I want them to race me. Our focus is to just go out there and finish the best we can. If we win it, that would be amazing. But we would be happy with winning Rookie of the Year and finishing second in points. That would be pretty awesome.”
The ULMA Late Models will have heat races, B-mains and features both Friday (25 laps) and Saturday (30 laps).
“We’re excited. It’s always fun to get to stay at a track and run two nights in a row like this,” Henson said.
Check out ULMAracing.com for a complete look at the season schedule, results and points.
The three-night Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt opens Thursday with practice for both divisions and time trials for the Street Stocks. Qualifying heat races are set for Friday along with dashes for the top two finishers in each heat, before the alphabet mains and 50-lap Street Stock feature on Saturday.
There’s both prestige and big money on the line. Saturday night’s Big Buck 50 feature winner will earn $10,000, plus a free entry (valued at $3,000) into this fall’s Whitetail Trophy Hunt in mid-Missouri. Visit Whitetail.net for more info on the hunt.
Other special sponsorships have been added for the race. They include:
TJR Fast Time Bonus: Tony Jackson and Tony Jackson Racing again will provide $500 for the Fast Time Bonus to the driver quickest in time trials on Thursday. Jackson, a veteran Late Model standout, has become a leading builder of Street Stocks through Tony Jackson Racing.
Ray’s Lake Service Hard Charger: James Ray, owner of Ray’s Lake Service in Lake Ozark, will award $500 as the Hard Charger Sponsor for the driver who advances the most positions in the Main Event 50 Lap Feature.
Alamo Arms Non-Qualifier Bonus: Alamo Arms again will award $500 to the first non-qualifier to the race. Alamo Arms, in Montreal, Missouri, is a go-to place for firearms, ammo and reloading supplies. It’s located at the junction of Highways 7 and E. For more information, call (573) 346-9944. This October marks the seventh anniversary of Alamo Arms, which is owned by Tom and Becky Carroll.
Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt
Weekend Event Schedule
Thursday, October 3
4 p.m. – Gates open
6-9 p.m. – Open practice for Street Stocks and ULMA Late Models
9 p.m. – Street Stocks qualifying time trials
10 p.m.-1 a.m. – “Party in the Pits” in the tech building. The Detour Dance Band will play.
Grandstands – FREE
Pit Pass – $25
Friday, October 4
4 p.m. – Gates open
6:30 p.m. – Hot laps
7:05 p.m. – Racing begins. 10-lap heat races for Street Stocks, dashes for first and second-place finishers in heat races, plus a full program for Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models.
Adults (16 and over) $15
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $12
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $35
Pit Pass $35
Saturday, October 5
4 p.m. – Gates open
6:30 – Hot laps
7:05 – Racing begins. Last-chance “alphabet” races for Street Stocks before the 50-Lap, $10,000 to win main event. Warsaw Auto, Marine & RV ULMA Late Models with a full program with $2,000 going to the feature winner.
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $50
Pit Pass $40
For questions about tickets or camping for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@LucasOilSpeedway.com.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984