Tuesday July 17, 2018
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Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Veteran Sammy Swindell one to watch at Hockett/McMillin Memorial

WHEATLAND, Missouri – After decades of hauling coast-to-coast and becoming one of open-wheel racing’s short-track icons, Sammy Swindell’s pace has slowed a bit these days.

Not that the 61-year-old Swindell has lost any speed when he does climb behind the wheel. It’s just that his schedule, which includes this week’s Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway, is on his terms.

“We’re just doing a few races, here and there,” Swindell said earlier this week. “Most of the time in years past, I was always running a team and having to go do too many things. Now, I’m just going and driving for some people. It gives me time to do some other things in life.”

The three-time World of Outlaws Sprint champion and five-time winner of the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals nearly won the Hockett/McMillian Memorial, a crown jewel on the Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprint Series, a year ago.

In a classic final-night battle that had a big crowd on its feet, Swindell finished runner-up to Wayne Johnson. He returns this week, again driving the car owned by A.G. Rains he brought to Lucas Oil Speedway a year ago.

“We were right up there about every night last year,” Swindell said. “Just a couple of times we had to start a ways back and had to work our way up. But it was good. It was fun.”

Fun is what Swindell, from Germantown, Tenn., is having in his curtailed – yet still busy by most standards – racing schedule. He’s made 37 starts in 2017 and been ultra consistent, with 19 top-10 finishes and three feature wins.

But after so many years of living and breathing racing 24/7, Swindell said it’s gratifying to now “do what other people do” on weekends – or whenever. A baseball fan, he’s taken in Memphis Redbirds games and visited several ballparks all over the country.

“Some of it is just slowing down,” Swindell said. “Taking the boat out on the lake and just doing things other people do with their time off. Just kind of whatever comes up. Just do whatever feels good that day.

“It’s where you don’t have to have a plan – other than going to those few races. That’s the only thing you have to do. You can do whatever works that day.”

Describing himself as an avid sports fan, Swindell said he never was a devoted follower or fan of any specific teams in the various sports because of his hectic, laser-focused racing schedule.

“I just enjoy watching the games,” he said. I haven’t ever had the time where I could sit down and dedicate myself to a certain team. I’m that way with most sports.”

Swindell, whose career included sampling of Indy-car and NASCAR racing, said he views the health of sprint-car racing as strong these days.

“It seems like it’s doing OK,” he said. “The economy and everything in general, people seem to be spending a little more money than they have in the past 5-8 years or so. Most of the places we’ve been to have had decent crowds and a lot of enthusiasm.

“We can tell a little bit by our shirt sales. They’ve been a little better than in the last few years.”

The Hockett/McMillin Memorial will see the elite of the Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprint Cars and the POWRi WAR Wingless Sprint Cars on hand with full programs Thursday through Saturday, culminating with Saturday’s $10,000-to-win feature for the ASCS Winged Sprints.

The event is named in memory of open-wheel champion Jesse Hockett, who lost his life in a shop accident in 2010 and his cousin and crew chief, Daniel McMillin, who was killed in an auto accident in 2006.

“For the 360 series, it’s one of their major races,” Swindell said of the event. “I knew Jesse quite a bit. I’ve known the whole family for a long time.”

Sam Hafertepe Jr. of Sunnyvale, Texas, enters the weekend with a commanding lead in the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour championship race. Haftertepe has 13 wins and 19 top-five finishes in 31 starts this season and sits 239 points in front of second-place Aaron Reutzel of Clute, Texas.

Reutzel held off Hafterepe to win the ASCS Bob Westphal Memorial Sizzlin’ Summer Speedweek Finale at Lucas Oil Speedway back in June.

In the POWRi WAR Sprint Cars division, Korey Weyant of Springfield, Ill., has a 110-point lead over Chris Parkinson of Gladstone, Mo., in the points chase.

For more information including news, schedules and points standings on the Lucas Oil ASCS, visit ASCSracing.com. Go to POWRi.com for stories, schedules and points standings in the WAR Sprint Car Series.

Schedule and ticket prices:
Gates open at 4 p.m., hot laps at 5:45 and racing at 6:35
Adults (16 and up) $20
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $17
Youth (6 to 15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $40
Pit Pass $35
3-Day Pit Pass-$100

Gates open at 4 p.m., hot laps at 5:45 and racing at 6:35
Adults (16 and up) $20
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $17
Youth (6 to 15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $40
Pit Pass $35
3-Day Pit Pass-$100

Gates open at 4 p.m., hot laps at 5:45 and racing at 6:35
Adults (16 and up) $25
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $22
Youth (6 to 15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $50
Pit Pass $40
3-Day Pit Pass-$100

Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket info and schedules 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.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking “Like” at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.

The three-day Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial is set for Thursday through Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway.

About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five race tracks in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just a quick hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, dubbed the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks,” Lucas Oil Speedway certainly lives up to the title.

Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. 2017 marks the 7th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, Lake Lucas. Two nationally televised Drag Boat Races featuring the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series will be held in 2017. New for 2017 will be an all new purpose build Off Road Racing facility featuring the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as a host of other regional events.

Lucas Oil Speedway hosts some of the largest and most popular events in the Midwest! National and regional touring series appear frequently for Special Events on the Diamond of Dirt Tracks. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro-Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.

In addition to the incredible Special Events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series features the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Big O Tires Street Stocks and the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, racing weekly.

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