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June 14, 2018

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Escamilla having fun while contending for top-5 in Street Stocks points race

Francisco Escamilla
Francisco Escamilla of Niangua, Missouri, is contending for a top-five in Big O Tires Street Stocks points entering Saturday's Midseason Championships. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (June 14, 2018) - Unlike most race-car drivers who start out young and dream of stardom, Francisco Escamilla didn't strap in for his first race car until the age of 38. Instead of championships, his goals are a lot more simple.

"I'd like to shoot for the top-five in points and make it to the tech shed a few times," Escamilla said, noting that the top five feature finishers are required to visit the Lucas Oil Speedway tech building for post-race inspection.

Escamilla, 44, missed getting that tech-shed ticket last Saturday by one spot when former track champ Kenny Carroll passed him late. But that sixth-place finish in the Big O Tires Street Stock division helped him climb to sixth in the points race entering this Saturday night's Midseason Championships.

"We're finally starting to get this car figured out after six years with it," said Escamilla, who's clearly having fun as a regular this season in the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series.

Escamilla, an over-the-road trucker from Niangua, Missouri, is this week's Tailgate Guys Radio Spotlight Driver of the Week for Lucas Oil Speedway. He looks to keep climbing this week as the Street Stocks headline the program with a special 25-lap, $750-to-win main event as midseason champions are crowned.

Last week marked Escamilla's second straight top-10 in four starts this season at the speedway. He said getting his set-up figured out has been a key in improved runs after racing sparingly the last couple of years due to family and business commitments.

Francisco Escamilla

Francisco Escamilla and Kenny Carroll duel it out for a top-five finishing position in last week's Big O Tires Street Stocks feature. (Kenny Shaw photo)

"They say you win in the race shop before you go to the track and that's been true this year as I've been able to focus on the race car a little more," he said.

Escamilla was bitten by the racing bug six years ago, when he went to Lebanon Midway Speedway to help his friend Shawn Whitman who had a Street Stock. After a season of watching Whitman turn laps, Escamilla had other ideas.

"I was like, "The heck with this. This looks fun.' So I decided (the next year) to race," he said. "I bought a regular car the first year, then Josh Franklin built me this car and since then I've raced the same car.

"From me helping Shawn that first year, I enjoyed the atmosphere and everybody around racing. I decided I would give it a try and was hooked from there."

Escamilla admits it's tough to compete for wins against more-expensive cars in the ultra-competitive division. That's one reason he didn't race much the last couple of years.

"But this year, I told Shawn the heck with it, let's go over there and race at Lucas," he said. "It's the place I like to race. Let's go give it our best shot and see what we can do.

"So far, we're moving up in points a little bit. If our motor will hold out, we hope we'll have a pretty decent turn out in points."

Escamilla said Whitman has moved into Late Models this season. The two still help each other out during the week, along with race nights if they both are at the track the same night. Escamilla said his wife, Kelly, and friend John Dunn also provide crew help.

Sponsors include Triple T Cleaning, Fish & More Tackle, El Charro Restaurants, Empty Chamber Reloading, Whitman Trucking and his own Escamilla Trucking.

"We're having fun and hopefully we'll keep moving up in the points," he said.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday for the program presented by the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7. Look for discount coupons for admission in the Bolivar Herald-Free Press or go to to find the digital edition of the newspaper.

Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5-and-under) FREE
Family pass $25
Pit pass $30

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 Fans also can go online to purchase tickets for any event on the 2018 schedule.

The Tailgate Guys Radio Show airs each Saturday, 11:05 a.m.-noon on KICK 92.3 FM, 1340 AM or online at The show is about barbecue and sports and has a segment each week on Lucas Oil Speedway news.

Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket information and 2018 schedule can be found by visiting

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 for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

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