WHEATLAND, Mo. – The week open-wheel fans in the Midwest have been waiting for has arrived, with the 10th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial set for Thursday through Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway.
As of Monday morning, 76 drivers are pre-registered for the Lucas Oil ASCS winged sprint car portion of the event, while 57 are signed on for the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR non-wing sprint side.
The race honors the memories of both Hockett, who was a star in both the winged and non-wing sprint divisions when he lost his life in a shop accident in 2010, and his cousin and crew chief, Daniel McMillin, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2006.
“It’s amazing how this race has grown over the years as we honor two of the greats of the sport,” Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Danny Lorton said. “Just based on the number of entries, this one is shaping up as the best yet.”
This year there will be no split qualifying nights, with all drivers in both the winged and wingless divisions competing both Thursday and Friday.
Combined points from heat races, qualifiers, B-mains and A-mains will set the lineup for the top eight of Saturday night’s $10,000-to-win ASCS main event and $3,077-to-win WAR feature.
One year ago, Blake Hahn of Sapulpa, Okla., captured the ASCS main event and Chris Windom of Canton, Ill., won the WAR feature on the final night.
The list of ASCS contenders starts with Sam Hafertepe Jr. out of Sunnyvale, Texas. The four-time ASCS National Champion is on his way toward a fifth.
Hafertepe won the Hockett-McMillin Memorial in 2017 and 2018.
Hahn is the defending Hockett-McMillin champion. The driver of No. 52 is fourth in ASCS national points in 2020.
Meanwhile, Mark Smith, out of Sunbury, Pa., already has 17 wins overall this season in various series and could surprise, especially considering he was a close second to Hahn a year ago.
Ayrton Gennetten is having “the strongest year he’s ever had,” according to ASCS publicist Bryan Hulbert. Gennetten was ninth in last year’s Hockett/McMillin in car No. 3.
Seth Bergman has five victories in a limited 2020 schedule and is coming off a runner-up finish a couple of weeks ago at Lake Ozark Speedway. He’s in car No. 23.
Australian Scott Bogucki was the 2018 ASCS rookie of the year and is sixth overall in this year’s ASCS national tour standings, while Canada’s Dylan Westbrook is eighth in national points with four top-10 finishes.
Westbrook was dueling for the lead late in last year’s Hockett/McMillin main event when an accident eliminated him from contention.
On the POWRi WAR side, Riley Kreisel is a home-state favorite in the No. 91. The 20-year-old, from Hockett’s hometown of Warsaw, Mo., is already a two-time WAR champion and leads the 2020 points by a wide margin.
Kreisel has four wins this season, with 10 wins in three years in the series.
Garrett Aitken, out of Paris, Ill., picked up his first WAR feature win at Tri-City Speedway in August. He was sixth in a Hockett-McMillin preliminary feature and fifth in the final night main event last year.
Mario Clouser of Auburn, Ill., took the No. 6 to a runner-up finish in a 2019 Hockett/McMillin prelim and seventh on the final night. He’s fourth in WAR points.
Zach Daum has six career WAR wins, including 2020 triumphs at Lake Ozark Speedway’s non-wing nationals. The Pocahontas, Ill., driver won a prelim feature last year at the Hockett/McMillin.
And Joe B. Miller of Millersville, Mo., is a McGarry Motorsports driver with a podium finish at the recent Non-Wing Nationals. Miller has four career WAR wins.
For fans coming to Lucas Oil Speedway for the first time this season, masks are not required, but they and social distancing are encouraged. Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the facility.