Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Former Late Model track champ Cole Henson eager for return

2022 Victory Lane
2022 Victory Lane(2022 Victory Lane)
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 12:18 PM CDT
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Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Former Late Model track champ Cole Henson eager for return


MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndal Scranton (

WHEATLAND, MO. (March 21, 2023) - Cole Henson’'s 2022 Lucas Oil Speedway season - not to mention his chances for a third straight Hermitage Lumber Late Model track championship - went up in smoke moments before the big 4th of July fireworks display.

That was during the Thursday Night Thunder feature last June 30 when Henson, battling for the lead with Larry Ferris and Justin Wells, felt his motor pop coming off turn two. A plume of smoke trailed from the exhaust. Not an inexpensive fix and with no spare power plant, the misfortune ended Henson’s season.

Now, a new season has brought new optimism - not to mention a new motor.

“I’m pumped to get back in the seat. It’s been too long. I’m ready to get back after it,” Henson said.

The Russellville driver is scheduled to make his return as the new Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series season begins on Saturday night. A special $1,000-to-win 25-lap Late Model feature highlights the action. Joining the Late Models in the first Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program will be the Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars.

“We’ve got the same car, a Rocket XR-1. It only has a handful of races on it,” Henson said. “Last year, the few races I got to run, I felt really comfortable in that car and that means a lot. I’m excited to get back after it. We have a good little shock program and car program behind us.

“Larry and I were pretty dominant together. It was fun racing him. We’re ready to go back door-to-door with him and the other guys.”

Henson and Ferris shared the Midseason Championship last year, with both winning two features and each taking a pair of runner-up finishes. Ferris went on to win four times overall to capture his first Lucas Oil Speedway championship.

“That was pretty heartbreaking, but it’s part of racing,” Henson said of his blown motor. “You’re going to have that sometimes. We just kept our head up and regrouped. I said at the time that if I couldn’t win the championship, I hoped Larry could.

“Larry’s one hell of a guy. When I blew my motor, Larry was one of the first to call me and offer me a spare motor and to come down and get it. That meant a lot to me. He’s just an all-around great guy. I kept up with how Larry was doing the rest of the season and was happy for him.”

Since last season, Henson said he’s now the primary car owner though former owner Rob Schlup remains a valued team member who will accompany him to the track.

“We’re still good and we’re still going racing together,” Henson said. “We just hope to have a good, fun year of racing. That’s what it’s all about, go out there and make it fun with family and friends. They say it’s like riding a bicycle. Hopefully I can get back on the bicycle and ride good, just like we were doing last season.”

Gates are scheduled to open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.

Weekly Racing Series ticket information:

Advance discount tickets (online only, ages 16 and up) - $12

Adults (16 and up) - $15

Seniors (62 and up)/Military - $12

Youth (6-15) - $5

Kids (5 and under) - FREE

Family Pass (two adults up to three youth) - $35

Pit Pass - $35

Improved points fund awaits B-Mods: Drivers competing in the USRA B-Mod divisions at Lucas Oil Speedway and Dallas County Speedway can take home some extra points money during the 2023 season. Both tracks, in conjunction with the United States Racing Association, will pay their B-Mod track champions $1,000.

Places two-through-10 in points - as long as drivers compete in a minimum of 80 percent of scheduled points events at each track - also will earn extra money. Those who fall under 80 percent will receive normal USRA B-Mod points payout.

Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Danny Lorton noted that the second-place driver in points will earn what was previously the championship total with additional money also dispersed throughout the remainder of the top 10. Those figures are: 2nd - $600. 3rd - $425. 4th - $300. 5th - $250. 6th - $200. 7th - $175. 8th - $150. 9th and 10th - $125.

Both Lucas Oil Speedway and Dallas County also will continue paying a $250 bonus to any B-Mod or Stock Cars driver who can win both features on the same weekend at the tracks.

Kids’ Power Wheel races at intermission: Kids’ Power Wheel racing is scheduled for intermission of Saturday’s program. For ages 3-through-9, the races will be on the front straightaway during intermission, navigating a course outlined by orange cones.

Youngsters can enter their own battery-powered Power Wheel cars by signing up for the Frogs Jr. Fan Club on the south end of the Midway prior to the races. Other Kids Power Wheel nights are scheduled for April 29, May 13, June 17, July 29 and Aug. 26 when a mini-season-champion will crowned along with the four regular Weekly Racing Series classes.

One Kids Power Wheel class will be the 6-12 volt cars and another will be for the 24-36 volt class. No power or speed enhancement modifications will be allowed.

The youngsters can bring their Power Wheels to the Frogs Jr Fan Club sign-in, or drop them off at the pit gate and the Power Wheels will be brought to the front stretch at intermission.

Drivers must register on MyRacePass: If they have not done so already, drivers must register their information on MyRacePass for the upcoming season and may do so on the Drivers’ Dashboard portion of The driver forms link will allow drivers to find both their membership and license application along with driver/owner W9 and driver medical form.

Downloading those forms and filling them out ahead of time and returning to Office Manager Laurie Looney at before opening night is preferred. The forms also can be printed and dropped by the office at the Test and Tune or prior to opening night.

Announcing crew seeks info for MAVTV telecasts: The announcing crew for Lucas Oil Speedway and MAVTV Motorsports Network need the drivers’ help in gathering driver information for the upcoming season. If you plan on racing at Lucas Oil Speedway, please take a few minutes and fill in the Driver Profile Electronic form. It will help in promoting you, your sponsors, and the sport.

Enduro Easter Bowl 150 entries remain open: Drivers planning to enter the Enduro Easter Bowl 150 on April 8th also can find the entry form online and return it. Pre-entry is $100 if received by March 30 and $150 after that.

SRX roster of drivers expands, with tickets on sale: General admission tickets for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) race scheduled for Aug. 17 at Lucas Oil Speedway remain on sale. The SRX Thursday Night Thunder event will be the finale in the six-race series, which features some of racing’s biggest names.

Drivers previously announced for the Wheatland event include Tony Stewart, Kenny Wallace, Hailie Deegan, Brad Keselowski, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Helio Castroneves, Clint Bowyer, reigning SRX Champion Marco Andretti, Paul Tracy and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Tickets for the SRX event will be $35 in advance and $40 at the gate (ages 16 and over). Kids (ages 6-15) will be $20 with ages 5-and-under free. Advance tickets can now be purchased via Stubwire - Pit passes are $50 and must be purchased the day of the event.

For more information about any event at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2023 contact admissions director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at for more information.