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Cole Henson is looking for bigger things after earning Lucas Cattle Company ULMA Late Model Rookie of the Year honors a year ago. (Kenny Shaw photo)

WHEATLAND, Missouri (February 27, 2020) - Mid-Missouri racer Cole Henson realized a dream last year when he campaigned a Late Model on the Lucas Cattle Company ULMA circuit and wound up earning Rookie of the Year honors.

Henson, 24, saved his most-exciting outing for last. He made a daring last-lap pass of Johnny Fennewald to take the season finale at Lucas Oil Speedway during October's Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt, bringing the crowd to its feet and an excited Henson to victory lane.

"We tried all season to win one there," Henson said of Lucas Oil Speedway. "We needed some luck on our side and finally got it done. We waited until the last minute to get it, you might say, but it's a race that I'll never forget.

"Hopefully we can start the new season as good as we ended it. It sure gave me a lot of momentum, as a driver, and I know it gave the crew momentum as well."

Nineteen races are on the 2020 ULMA schedule, including 14 at home track Lucas Oil Speedway. For the first time, the series will visit Monett Speedway three times and go to Grain Valley Speedway twice.

Henson, who wound up runner-up in points just 38 behind 2019 ULMA champion Aaron Marrant, is setting his sights on contending for both ULMA points and a Lucas Oil Speedway championship. He will again drive a Longhorn race car owned by Rob Schlup, with a Cornett motor. Veteran open-motor Late Model driver Tony Jackson Jr. again is offering knowledge.

"Tony helps us so much," Henson said. "I got to go and help him at the MLRA Fall Nationals, where he won the last race of the season. He's always teaching us stuff. There's always something to learn, whether I'm in the car or not."

Even with beefed-up competition in the ULMA division, with the addition of former MLRA champion Brad Looney to an already strong field of regulars, Henson said he would like to win a series championship and/or a Lucas Oil Speedway title. Henson, from Russellville (just west of Jefferson City) plans to run Lucas as a regular after competing there part-time a year ago.

"Rob has been working hard to get our car ready for another great season," Henson said. "The competition in ULMA is going to be tough. But anything is possible. Dreams come true. I always wanted to run a Late Model and Rob made my dreams come true and we clicked. Hopefully we have another great year like we did last year."

"It's also kind of neat that ULMA is going to some different tracks and it's cool we get to go to Monett and Grain Valley," Henson said. "Another goal is to maybe win at one of those tracks."

But while talking wins and championships, Henson said he knows that consistency needs to be his primary objective. He said Schlup tells him every time, before rolling onto the track for a feature, to think top-five finish above all else.

"Rob tells me if you run top-five every week, your wins are going to come," Henson said. "We just barely missed the points championship for ULMA last year. You look back at some of those races and just go, 'man, if we had finished better in this race or wouldn't have have had a DNF in that race ... maybe we could have won it.

"But that's OK. It gives us a goal to shoot for."

Henson said he learned plenty in 2019 about the balance of being aggressive and smart.

"One of the first times I was leading a race at Lucas, I had a really fast car that night," he said. "We were leading and got into lapped traffic and I got impatient. I wound up getting into the wall and that knocked us out of the race.

"From that point on, I learned that you have to bide your time and keep your cool, but still be aggressive when you need to be. You have to be on your toes, but not drive over your head."

Fans can get an up-close look at Henson's car March 20-22 as it will be on display with the Lucas Oil Speedway booth at the Capital Mall Racers Show in Jefferson City.

Henson said he returns with his same roster of sponsors, which includes Superior Power Custom Homes, Windy Ridge Landscaping, Cedar Ridge Taxidermy, Scott Farms and Heidbrener Foundation Service. 

The ULMA season kicks off with the Open Test and Tune on March 28 at Lucas Oil Speedway. The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series opening night with the ULMA Late Models is set for April 4 with action in all four divisions - Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks. 

For all of the latest news and information on the ULMA, including the full 2020 schedule, fans are encouraged to visit the series website at

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