Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Hockett/McMillin Memorial has special meaning for rising sprint-car star Kreisel
Wheatland, Missouri (September 19, 2018) - There's no race that means more to many of those in the sprint-car world than the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial. You can put young Riley Kreisel at the top of the list.
The 18-year-old Kreisel is from Warsaw - Hockett's hometown - and has fond memories of cheering for the sprint-car champion before Hockett tragically lost his life in a shop accident in 2010.
"When we would go on a family vacation, we would always try to find a race track and it seemed like we'd end up seeing Jesse somewhere, not even knowing he was going to be there," Kreisel said. "He's someone I looked up to."
It's a good bet that Hockett would be mighty proud of Kreisel for carrying on the Warsaw winning tradition. Kreisel brings the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Series points lead into this week's Hockett/McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway. The three-night event also pays tribute to McMillin, Hockett's cousin and long-time crew chief who lost his life in an automobile accident in 2006.
This year's edition begins on Thursday and also features the Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprint Cars for three big nights of action.
"It's probably the biggest race on our schedule and it keeps on growing," Kreisel said, noting a record 80-plus pre-entries for the POWRi WAR Sprints.
"We've never been really good at this race, but hopefully this year is different," Kreisel said. "Just knowing (Jesse's dad) Jack and the whole family, it means a lot to be there and to be able to spend time with the whole family."
Kreisel has been a break-out star this season, his third affiliated with Rick and Deb Smith's team in the series. He captured his first POWRi win earlier in the season at Lake Ozark Speedway and enters this week with three wins and 12 top-five finishes on the circuit.
Consistency has been the biggest key. Kreisel said he's been able to avoid bad points nights for the most part and has a 137-point lead over Quinton Benson of Sweet Springs, Missouri.
"We try not to get too far off our baseline set-ups," Kreisel said. "We don't get ourselves way out there. Consistency is the biggest thing."
The 2018 graduate of Warsaw High School said he's tried to model his racing career - which began in Junior Sprints and Micro Sprints - after Hockett's. He recalled Hockett's competitive fire as an admirable trait that stood out, even to a youngster.
"He just never gave up," Kreisel said. "You could have kicked him when he was down and he still could have beat you. He just never gave up and that mentality is something that I try to carry through myself.
"My dad (Richard) is my other influence. He was racing whenever I was young and that's what got me into racing. But I always looked up to Jesse and I still do. That's somebody that I want to model myself after."
While Kreisel said his past visits to the Hockett/McMillin Memorial have not produced the desired success, he did make progress earlier this year at Lucas Oil Speedway with a second-place finish in the Open Wheel Showdown. He's hopeful that is something to build on.
"It is for sure. We have a pretty good baseline now for Wheatland that we haven't had before," he said.
Kreisel knows there is work to do before he can celebrate a POWRi title, but admitted that winning a championship would mean a lot to a lot of people.
"There's a lot that goes on in the shop, just working on these cars to get them ready week in and week out, that people don't see," Kreisel said. "For it to pay off, that would mean a lot."
The Hockett-McMillin Memorial finds full programs for all the ASCS Winged Sprints on Thursday and Friday, paying $3,000 to win the features and helping set the field for Saturday's $10,000-to-win feature. Total purse for the ASCS cars is just over $60,000.
There's a new format this year for the POWRi WAR Sprints. With the record number of pre-entries, the field will be split with half running on Thursday and half on Friday. Drivers will be competing for points every single time they hit the track to gather points for Saturday, when the feature will pay $3,077. The features on Thursday and Friday will pay $1,377 to win.
For more information on the series, includng full schedules and point standings, visit ASCSracing.com or POWRi.com.
Gates open at 4 p.m. each day. On Thursday and Friday, hot lap are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. with racing at 7:05. On Saturday, hot laps begin at 5:45 with racing at 6:35.
LIVE PD Watch Party: As if Saturday night's racing isn't enough, there will be a watch party for the popular reality television program "Live PD" with televisions throughout the facility tuned to the show. Members of the Greene County Sheriff's Office, including Corporal James Craigmyle and K-9 Lor, will be on hand and they will be on the midway prior to the races for a meet and greet with fans.
The hit show, which airs on the A&E Network on Friday and Saturday nights from 8-11 p.m., features law enforcement officers from across the country during their nighttime patrols. The Greene County Sheriff's office has been one of the agencies on the show since March with members like Craigmyle and K-9 Lor, plus Deputy Dustin Kendrick and K-9 Stark, becoming popular among viewers nationwide.
(Thursday and Friday)
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5-and-under) FREE
Family Pass $40
Pit Pass $35
3-day pit pass $100
Adults (16 and over) $25
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $22
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $50
Pit Pass $40
3-day pit pass $100
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 General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984