WHEATLAND, Missouri (September 20, 2018) – Wayne Johnson took Thursday’s opening-night headliner at the 8th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial, leading all 25 laps of the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car feature at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Johnson earned his third national-tour series win of the season, holding off defending Hockett/McMillin Memorial champion and 2018 series leader Sam Hafertepe for the $3,000 win.
In the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint feature, Terry Richards picked up the feature victory as drivers in both divisions began the three-night open-wheel crown-jewel event. It pays tribute to Hockett, the sprint-car champ from mid-Missouri who died in a shop accident in 2010 and McMillin, his cousin and crew chief who died in an automobile accident in 2006.
“To be sitting down here in victory lane with (Jesse Hockett’s father) Jack, this is pretty special,” Johnson said. “Jesse and Daniel are looking down and having a hell of a time up there.”
Johnson, of Oklahoma City, set sail from the pole position and set the pace with Hafertepe working his way from seventh to second by lap four.
The two leaders were about to catch lapped traffic when a lap-15 caution flew. Johnson, whose left-rear brake rotor was glowing orange for several laps prior to that, seemed re-energized after the restart and opened a two-second lead by the time another yellow flew with three to go.
That proved no problem as Johnson held on for the win with Hafertepe second and Scott Bogucki third.
“Starting on the front row on a rubbered-down race track made it a little bit easier,” Johnson said. “My guys gave me a hell of a car all night long. We started third in the heat race and won that. When we started sixth in the qualifier and won that, I knew we had a good race car.”
Sammy Swindell and Tyler Blank tangled in turn three of the opening lap, with Swindell backing into the wall. That knocked the veteran, who won the opening two nights of the Hockett/McMillin Memorial a year ago, out of contention.
Richards takes POWRi win: Terry Richards of Denton, Nebraska, held off Kyle Clark on two late-race restarts to earn the opening-night preliminary feature win in the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints. Richards picked up $1,077 and valuable points toward Saturday’s feature starting field.
Mario Clouser finished third with Tyler Thomas in fourth as half the entrants took part in night one action. The remaining POWRi cars will be in action on Friday.
“Every time you have a restart with just a couple to go, you feel the pressure,” Richards said of the tense finish. “They’re all back on you. You lost the lead that you had and you lost your rhythm.”
Richards got the jump from his front-row starting position and led the first 10 laps. But Thomas Meseraull, who started seventh, worked his way into second and was putting the pressure on the lead.
Meseraull made a pass at the start-finish line to take the lead to complete lap 11 and the two battled side by side for much of the next three laps. That’s when Richards, using a crossover move in turns three and four, regained the lead.
“If Thomas hadn’t showed me to move up, he’d have drove around me,” Richards said. “Once I started picking up the pace and moved up into the rubber … I didn’t quite realize there was rubber there. A great job by him, he raced me clean. Everybody raced me clean.”
A caution flag on lap 16 bunched things up and Kyle Clark quickly moved into second after the restart and gave chase to Richards with Meseraull third. Another caution three laps from the finish set up a three-car race to the finish.
Richards and Clark were battling it out for the lead taking the white flag when the cars of Ryan Kitchen, Brandon Mattox and Casey Wills tangled on the front stretch to bring out the red flag. Mattox got upside down, but all three drivers climbed out of their cars under their own power.
On the green-white-checkered restart, Meseraull spun in turn one while challenging Clark for second. That sent the California driver from third to the back of the pack, not only costing him a chance at a victory but points toward Saturday night’s feature lineup.
The Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints will again run a full program on Friday to earn points toward Saturday’s big finale, paying $10,000 to the ASCS winner and $3,077 to the final-night POWRi WAR feature winner.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hot laps are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. with racing at 7:05 on Friday; hot laps begin at 5:45 with racing at 6:35 on Saturday.
For ticket information on all events at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2018, contact Admission Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or by email at nichole@LucasOilSpeedway.com. Fans also can go online to purchase tickets for any event on the 2018 schedule.
September 20th-22nd, 2018: 8th Annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial
The 8th Annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial is set for Thursday through Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and 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.
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
About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks” lives up to its 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. This year marks the 8th 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 are held annually. New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series as well as a host of other regional events.
Lucas Oil Speedway’s dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: 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 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.