Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Army veteran Striegel enjoys strong season in two Modified divisions
Wheatland, Missouri (July 19, 2018) - Mike Striegel beams with pride at public events, such as pre-race ceremonies at Lucas Oil Speedway, when those with military connections are recognized. He said it's an honor to be included.
"That's always special to me," said Striegel, the long-time Modified driver and 10-year United States Army veteran. "A lot of people who find out I'm a veteran will look at me and say, 'You're pretty young to be a veteran.' Well, I am fairly young, but I went into the Army when I was young.
"We have younger veterans as well as older ones. It's always nice to recognize all of them and race fans are some of the best at doing so."
Lucas Oil Speedway gives extra recognition to the Military members this Saturday night with its annual Military and Veterans Appreciation Night. The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program, Presented by Fox 5 KRBK, offers free admission to active and retired military personnel who present their ID.
Hometown driver Striegel, 48, is having an outstanding season with double duty in both his Pitts Homes USRA Modified (he's eighth in track points) and Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod (he's third in points). This week's Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight Driver of the Week also ranks among the top-10 in USRA national points in both divisions.
It's shaping up as one of Striegel's best seasons since the "Wheatland Outlaw" began racing after retiring from the Army and opening his plumbing business and Outlaw Race Bodies. He recalls his military years with pride, signing up to serve after graduating from high school in 1989.
"I was in the Army for seven years as a tank driver and really enjoyed it," Striegel said, noting that he was stationed for a time in Germany but never was called to war duty. He followed those seven years with three more in the Army Reserves out of Springfield.
Striegel said dirt-track fans are, almost unanimously, patriotic. So are the drivers and crew members.
"You hear about other sports and people kneeling or not standing during the national anthem," Striegel said. "To my knowledge, at any race track I've been to, I've never seen anybody sitting when the national anthem is playing and about 90 percent of them have their hands over their heart. The same goes for the pits. About 90 percent of the race teams are stopped and standing beside their cars."
Striegel, a long-time fan favorite, has been known to bring the crowd to its feet. He has seven feature wins overall in 2018, including a B-Mod win at Lucas Oil Speedway on April 28.
Racing two cars is not without challenges, both in preparing them during the week and hopping from one to the other on race night. He credits his son, Tanner, with helping him get the John Stewart-owned machines ready for action.
"If it wasn't for Tanner, we wouldn't have time to get it done," Striegel said. "We both work full-time jobs. When he gets home from work, we'll put in another 6-8 hours in the shop on the cars.
"It's a lot of work, but it's worth it in the end when you run good."
Race nights are hectic, particularly when the modified classes run back-to-back.
"When you don't tear anything up, it's pretty entertaining and enjoyable," he said. "When you have a mishap or a hiccup, it becomes a little more work."
Striegel said the goal for the rest of the season is to finish top-five with both cars in the USRA national standings.
"The top 10 would be acceptable, but as hard as you work, you set your goals as high as you can and top-five would be a stellar season," he said. "And if we can win some races, that's a bonus, too."
The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program on Saturday will see the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods headlining the action with a 25-lap, $750-to-win feature. Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Big O Tires Street Stocks and Warsaw Auto Marine RV ULMA Late Models also will be in action.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7.
Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over) $9
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Military/Veterans (with ID) FREE
Family pass $25
Pit pass $30
Off Road during the day: Those wishing to make it a full day of racing action, the Level 5 Off-Road Series returns to the Lucas Oil Speedway Off Road course during the day. Pro Unlimited, Production 1000, RS1, Sportsman and Youth divisions are scheduled.
Tickets to Level 5 Off Road include free admission to the dirt-track races Saturday night. Gates to that event open at 6:30 with practice at 10 a.m, heat races at 11:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies at 3, with features following.
Level 5 Off Road spectator admission (includes dirt-track):
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Weekend pit pass $40
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.
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.