Driven by near-miss, Poe eager to chase Lucas Oil Speedway ULMA Late Model title in 2018
Wheatland, Missouri (January 11, 2018) - Though the ending wasn't what Aaron Poe had in mind, as he fell just short of winning his first Lucas Oil Speedway track championship, there's no doubt how successful the 2017 season was for the mid-Missouri driver.
"It was always my dream to drive Late Models. To be in contention at the end of the year, with the quality of the drivers at Lucas, I couldn't have asked for much more," Poe said.
Poe finished third in Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model points, just 39 behind champion Johnny Fennewald. Feature finishes of 9th and 13th in the final two races dashed Poe's championship dreams, but the fires are stoked for a title run in 2018.
"We're going to see if we can finally get that championship and get that monkey off our back," Poe said in looking ahead to his third season in the division. "The first year (2016) was more of a learning year. Then last year we had a new Bob Pierce Platinum car and had a lot of good support behind us and it showed.
"We had our first win and (five) top-five finishes. We only finished outside the top 10 twice. The stats were really good. If we can improve on that, it's the obvious goal to get that championship this year."
Poe, 31, has become a fan favorite at Lucas Oil Speedway, driving the familiar green-and-blue No. 45 color scheme made popular by the late Allen "Cowboy" Chancellor. He said a fortunate path led him to the car, which is still supported by Cowboy's widow Harriet Chancellor.
Poe had a solid career going in Modifieds before stepping away from the sport for about four years. He said before the 2016 season, "the stars aligned" for him to get back in with the right team which was the No. 45 team.
Brother-in-law Marc Carter had been approached by Harriet Chancellor about driving the car, but already was involved in Street Stocks and didn't have the time for two cars in two different divisions. Carter, in turn, recommended Poe.
"So he kind of led us down this path," Poe said of Carter. "It's been a blessing. I can't thank him or Harriet enough for what they've done for us these last two years. It's been a huge change in my life path.
"I had taken a hiatus and during those four years, I dreaded going to the race track because I knew once I did that, I'd want back in. I got this opportunity and it's been full steam ahead."
The ULMA Presented by Lucas Cattle Co., is under new management this season as Lucas Oil will oversee the series which competes in Missouri and Kansas. Poe points out positives, including a special ULMA event Oct. 5-6 at Lucas Oil Speedway in conjunction with the Street Stocks Big Buck 50 Presented by Whitetail Trophy Hunt.
"This class is heading in the right direction as far as getting the spotlight on us a little more," Poe said. "People can see we can compete at a high level and put on a great show.
"We love the ULMA class. It's great for guys who want to get into Late Models but don't want to travel across the country and spend the money on motors tires and fuel. It's a great class for that weekend Late Model driver."
As the car and motor await final freshening prior the Lucas Oil Speedway season opener on April 7, Poe said he's proud to have the entire team - including father Tim Poe and crew chief Wes Kirtley - back intact.
Sponsors include Cowboys WAR, Central Bank of Warrensburg, Solar Pro Tint 'n Tunes, Gecco Graphics, All-Star Bail Bonds, Elite Auto Repair, Spies Enterprises, McTighe Motorsports and APEX Specialty Vehicles.
The Lucas Oil Speedway 2018 season begins April 7 with the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series opener.
For ticket information, including season passes for the 2018 season, contact admissions director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or by email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com.
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and the tentative 2018 schedule can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com.
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.