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Checkered flags: Speedway racing season ends, star driver retires

On Saturday, Travis Ulmer completed his final laps of a 20-year-long racing career and bids farewell to a lifelong passion.

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Stock Car driver Travis Ulmer drove in his final race at the Southwest Speedway Season Championship August 20, 2022. He is retiring after a 20-year-log racing career.
Photo courtesy of T.H.P - Tyler Hagen Photography
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DICKINSON — The action and speed at Southwest Speedway wrapped up Saturday August 20 with the Season Championship race. Although the season was cut short due to frequent rain this year, the drivers consistently put on a top-notch thrill shows.

Going into the championship, IMCA Hobby Stocks Bill Hultberg (11R) led the division in point standings, one point ahead of Cody “Mustache” Hulse (#69). The Hobby Stocks class was the closest in points this season. Hulse, who has been racing since 2009, took the win in the main feature, finishing 1st from position 7.

“My main goal was to beat Bill by one car to tie him at least,” Hulse said. “In the feature, I knew I had to get to the front as fast as I could and stay there.”

Hultberg finished right behind Hulse in second. Now, the two are tied in points, so a track champion has not been announced yet.

“It’s burning a hole in my heart having to wait,” Hulse said.

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This would be Hulse’s first championship win. Final results should be announced within the next few weeks. Hulse also took the victory in the Hobby Stocks Heat 2.

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The Speedway Season Championship featured races in all five classes including Modifieds, Stock Cars, Northern SportMods, Legends and Hobby Stocks.
Photo by Amber I. Neate

IMCA Stock Car driver Travis "The Wild Child" Ulmer led the Stock Car class with 148 points going into the finals. The Speedway Season Championship was his last race, as he announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2022 season. He finished his closing race in 3rd place behind Luke Krogh (11K) who also competes in the SportMod class. Casey Binstock (#22), took 1st in the Stock Car main feature.

Ulmer’s racing career kicked off over 20 years ago in Dickinson, but he has traveled all over the mid-west for races. His first year of racing he was named Rookie of the Year (2001). He went on to capture more than 59 career feature wins. Ulmer is a multiple-time Harvest Shootout Champion, a winner of The Paul Bunyan Stampede Feature and has won multiple track championships. In 2011 he was the only racer to ever win both heats and both features in two different divisions in Mandan. He was also a recipient of the 2011 Driver of the Year Award.

Ulmer’s wife recently took ownership at a car dealership in Mandan. He says now is a good opportunity for him to focus on his family, as he has been away at races on the weekends for the past two decades.

“My wife has been chasing me around for 20 years doing this,” Ulmer said. “It was my turn to take the back seat and let her career take off for our family. I’m going to miss racing and it will be tough… I’ll be out of a race car, but I’ll still be present.”

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Travis "The Wild Child" Ulmer
Photo courtesy of Tyler Hagen Photography

In the IMCA Northern SportMod class, Caden Roberts led the pack in points standings with 140 at the start of the night, 13 points ahead of Cole Lewis. Dickinson’s Luke Krogh sat in 5th place in points standings (114) but took the win in Saturday night’s main feature in his 47K. Behind him in 2nd was Dickinson’s Cole Lewis in the 33L.

“I actually thought Cole won the race,” Krogh said. “He made a mistake I guess and cut the corner which gave me a charity win.”

Krogh also stole the show in the SportMod Heat 1 after starting in position 3. His radiator overheated at the conclusion of the main feature.

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“The short season was nice, but it limited us quite a bit on points and opportunity,” Krogh said.

He won four out of the five races he competed in this year. Krogh’s eight-year-old son is following in his father’s footsteps and drove a slingshot (a small race car, similar to a go-kart) around the track during race intermissions this year.

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Luke Krogh dominated the track in the 47K in the SportMod class.
Photo by Amber I. Neate

First place is points for the Legends class was Drew Papke (#60) with an even 300. He recently celebrated his 100th Legend career win. The Legends A Feature 1 was arguably one of the most exhilarating races of the night. Twenty-six-year-old Preston Martin who drives the yellow Minion-themed #77 was running hot in the lead for the majority of the race. With about eight laps left, Drew Papke scooted past Martin on the outside to snatch the win. Papke also finished 1st in the 8-lap Heat 1.

In the IMCA Modifieds, the top five drivers weren't even 50 points away from each other going into the race. Zach Frederick, Travis Tooley and Marlyn Seidler were at the top of the points leader board. Bismarck, ND’s Jeremy Keller picked up the victory in the feature in his 11K after starting in position 8. Forty-two-year-old Keller has been racing since 1999. He beat 15 other drivers in the Modifieds category, the largest class of the night. Behind Keller in 2nd place was Marcus Tomlinson in the 5T out of Turtle Lake, ND.

The Speedway will host a special Harvest Shootout race September 9-10. The event will be the final race until the regular season kicks off next year around April.

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Drew Papke (#60) brought home the gold in the Legends race.
Photo by Amber I. Neate

READ MORE BY AMBER I. NEATE
Buccaneers lose to Hettinger-Scranton in lopsided final region game at home.

Amber Neate grew up in rural Skull Valley, Arizona. Her passion of covering sports of all types, including personal favorites wrestling, hockey, rodeo and football, began at an early age.

She obtained her Associate of Arts Degree from Yavapai Community College before attending Northern Arizona University for a three-year journalism program. While at NAU, Neate worked as an Assistant Sports Editor for the Lumberjack Newspaper as well as a hockey commentator for KJACK Radio.

Gaining her experience working for a small community paper, The Wickenburg Sun, as a general news and features reporter, her love for sports and a small-town community brings her to Dickinson to cover southwest North Dakota sports.

LANGUAGES: English
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