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August 13, 2020

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Dalton Imhoff earning his stripes in ULMA Late Model

Dalton Imhoff is coming off a third-place finish in just his fourth Warsaw Auto Marine ULMA Late Model start of the season. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
WHEATLAND, MO. (August 13, 2020) - A third-place finish in the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model division doesn’t typically raise eyebrows, but for Dalton Imhoff his strong run the last time out definitely was an attention getter.
The 24-year-old Imhoff only has a handful of Late Model outings over the last couple of seasons, while sharing the car with his dad, Walt Imhoff. The younger Imhoff’s top-three run has given him a boost of confidence entering this Saturday’s program at Lucas Oil Speedway.
“We have been struggling all year,” Dalton Imhoff said. “We got that new (Black Diamond) car this year and we’ve been having a hard time figuring it out. We’ve been talking to Black Diamond and they’ve been helping us and changing quite a bit of stuff up.
“We kind of threw the book at it. Finally, something just happened to work out right and we went from there.”
Imhoff, from Jamestown in central Missouri, finished behind three-time reigning track champion Johnny Fennewald and current points leader Cole Henson in the Aug. 1 feature. Keeping that sort of company is a sure sign of progress that Imhoff hopes to continue as the ULMA Late Models get ready to run a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win feature this Saturday.
“You never have the mindset that somebody is gonna have a bad night and you’re gonna get lucky,” Imhoff said. “If you do good it’s because you hit something right and were on your ‘A’ game. The guys down there are all good. Any of them can win a feature on a given night.”
Dalton Imhoff also has a Street Stock and the original plan for the last two seasons has been for Walt to drive the Late Model and Dalton the Street Stock. But the family construction business keeps both extremely busy and Walt, just as he did a year ago, has turned the Late Model duties over to Dalton in the second half of the season.
Dalton has two top-10 finishes in four outings this season and sits 15th in track points - one spot behind his dad. Combined, the Imhoffs would have enough points for eighth overall.
Walt has been racing since about 2004 and Dalton would always tag along. It was a natural that Dalton would up behind the wheel.
“I actually started out in a Late Model back when I was 16, in about 2012,” Dalton Imhoff said. “I only ran it about five nights, on and off. Our old car, we got it about 2015 and had a hard time with it, too. We had a hard time getting a consistent car out of it. Then it started to become, ‘let’s focus on one instead of two cars.’ ”
Now that he’s starting to drive the Late Model more often, Dalton Imhoff said he’s starting to cut into a steep learning curve.
“I had a hard time with it last year,” he said. “I’d race the Street Stock one week and the next I’d go and race the Late Model. The Street Stock is a lot more steering with the steering wheel and being consistent with your throttle. The Late Model is a lot more driving with the throttle and not so much with the steering wheel.
“I’d go out and usually every hot laps session, I’d spin out and have a heck of a learning curve trying to figure out what I was doing. There’s a big mental aspect to it. The faster you’re going, trying to get everything to click in your head … it definitely has felt a lot more comfortable this year and especially the last couple of weeks as we’ve got the car working better.”
Imhoff said he pays attention to lines more-experienced drivers are using. He said Henson, along with Henson’s crew chief Rob Schlup, have been helpful.
“We’re pretty good friends with Rob and Cole and get feedback from those guys,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that help, just being around those veteran guys.”
With the season winding down, Imhoff said he just wants to keep building positive vibes.
“Our main goal always is to make sure we show up with a consistent car, one that is gonna be fast right off the trailer,” Imhoff said. “Hopefully we can have a strong ending so we can have a good start next year.
“I have to give a shout-out to Joe Creason Race Engines, out of Troy. He’s been our engine builder since the start. Also, Ron Stuckey with Black Diamond and shout-out to Russell Kueffer. He’s come on the last couple of years and been a big asset. Has several years experience with Late Models on his resume and he’s helped us out in the shop and is a big part of the team.”
NMI/VMG Marketing and Wild Animal Safari Presented Round 11 of the Weekly Racing Series also will find Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks and Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods also continuing points battles. Meanwhile, Pure Stocks will race for $300-to-win as a special guest class, using Dallas County Speedway Pure Stock rules and the MO-KAN Pure Stock rules.
"Beat the Heat, Sit in a Suite" again this week: The "Beat the Heat" special will continue at the dirt track with individual suite tickets available at $24 apiece. Spectators can sit in air-conditioned comfort or view the action from seats outside, overlooking the front stretch. Contact admissions director Nichole McMillan (417) 282-5984 for more info.
Two-seater raffle: Raffle tickets will be sold for a chance to win a ride in the Lucas Oil Speedway 2-Seater Late Model, driven by track General Manager Danny Lorton, during intermission. All proceeds from the raffle will go toward the Ozarks Area Racers Foundation, via the Promoters' Race that Lorton will participate in on Aug. 20 at Dallas County Speedway during the USMTS Wehr's Machine Bullring Bash.
Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the evening with the winning ticket drawn just prior to intermission. Tickets will be sold for $2 each, six for $10 or 12 for $20. Fans must be 18 years of age or older to participate and sign a waiver form. The starting lineup for the Aug. 20 Promoters' Race will be determined by how much each promoter raises for the Ozarks Area Racers Foundation, a non-profit group that preserves area racing history and holds an annual Reunion and Hall of Fame ceremony each winter.
Kids club pit tour: The Frogs Signs Junior Fan Club Kids Pit Tour also continues as eight lucky kids will get to tour the pits before the races with flagman Mike Striegel to get an up-close look at the cars and drivers. The tour will be from 5:15-6 p.m. and then the kids will get to attend the drivers' meeting before going back to the grandstands.
Youngsters ages 5-12 can sign up from 4-5 p.m. on the midway, next to the gift shop trailer on the south end of the midway. Parents will have to sign a waiver form allowing the kids to go into the pits for the tour.
Saturday's ticket prices:
Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Pit pass $30
Individual suite tickets $24
For ticket questions or information for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at for more information.
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984