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Cody Holtkamp Mid-Missouri driver Cody Holtkamp came close to winning the ULMA Late Model National Championship a year ago. He hopes to get it done in 2018. (Kenny Shaw photo)

WHEATLAND, Missouri (April 5, 2018) - With a new Rocket-chassis Late Model to dial in, Cody Holtkamp learned a few things during last weekend's Lucas Oil Speedway test and tune.

"We worked out a couple of bugs and we were ready to go and try to make a good showing this weekend," Holtkamp said.

But those plans for Holtkamp - and everyone else - were thrown a wintry curveball. This Saturday's season-opening program at Lucas Oil Speedway was cancelled due to an awful weather forecast. While disappointed, Holtkamp tried to look on the bright side.

"Now we'll have another week to go back to the shop and do a little more work," Holtkamp said. "We'll do a couple of suspension adjustments and maybe get ahead in tire preparation. That takes some time and we'll try to use it to our advantage."

Holtkamp, a 28-year-old form Holts Summit, Missouri, has set a lofty goal in 2018. He wants to win the Lucas Cattle Company ULMA Late Model National Championship after finishing a mere two points behind Aaron Marrant for the title a year ago.

Much of that work will include chasing a track title at Lucas Oil Speedway, where he wound up fourth in last season's Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model points chase. Overall, he had 17 top-five finishes with one of his three second-place finishes occurring at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Turn one of those runner-up finishes into wins, and it's likely that Holtkamp would have enjoyed the championship spoils instead of Marrant.

"We came close," Holtkamp said of the national championship. "Everybody called me 'Mr. Consistent' last year. We had several top-10s, top-fives and seconds. We just couldn't get it done" and win.

"Yep, that's my goal," he said when asked about the national title. "I want to try and add that to my resume. Something that I can take into the future."

Holtkamp has been racing Late Models for about four years after getting his start in Street Stocks. He's excited to get into the new Rocket, hoping it's exactly what he needs to take the next step in his racing career.

"It's 10 years newer than what I had been running," Holtkamp said. "So it's 10 years' newer technology. Those guys (at Rocket headquarters) in West Virginia definitely do their homework. They know their stuff.

"I've just been in it one time so far so it's hard for me to tell about it so far, handling-wise. We'll get that figured out as the races come and we get some track time. I'm looking forward to it."

The first Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program, which includes the ULMA cars, is set for April 21 after the 5th annual MLRA Spring Nationals get things going at Lucas Oil Speedway on April 13-14.

Holtkamp said he plans to mix it up in open Late Model company a few times this season when he's not racing the weekly shows at Lucas.

"Since we don't have any Friday races in the ULMA other than some special shows, we're going to go over into the St. Louis and Illinois area into UMP territory and race a little over there on Fridays," Holtkamp said. "We also have some special shows we'll attend and try to make the Show-Me 100. We were just a couple of spots away from making the Show-Me the year before last.

"We're looking forward to the new season. I'm blessed and lucky and couldn't do this without my dad (Joe Holtkamp) and brother (Tyler Holtkamp). They own the truck and trailer and Tyler is kind of like my crew chief. He calms me down if something doesn't go my way which, unfortunately, sometimes happens."

Holtkamp's sponsors include Spectators Sports Bar and Grill, Melloway Fast Signs, Renee Conklin Show Horses, Fast Shafts, KB Marine Services, Prison Brews Restaurant, Scotty and G-$Money$, Kelly Stewart Professional Auctioneering, Schaeffer's Racing Oil, Aces Pest Solutions, Bodies by Schell, Holtkamp Motorsports, Mid-State Vacuum Center, Hoover Enterprises, Calwood Auto Sales, Giest Family, Affordable Towing, ISP Safety Products, PEM Racing and Air Photography.

For ticket information for any event in 2018, including general admission or three-day reserved seats for the 26th annual Show-Me 100 Presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com.

Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket information and 2018 schedule can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com. Fans also can purchase general admission tickets for any 2018 event on the web.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway