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September 14, 2021

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: With eye on the ASCS big prize, Covington seeks first Hockett/McMillin Memorial win

Matt Covington, second in ASCS National Tour points, will be aiming for his first Hockett/McMillin Memorial win at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 14, 2021) - As one of the veterans on the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series Presented by MAVTV Motorsports Network, Matt Covington is qualified to rank this week’s 11th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway as one of the biggest events of the season.
 
“For the national tour as a whole, the Hockett/McMillin race is definitely in the top three,” Covington said. “The Knoxville Nationals, The Dirt Cup and the Hockett/McMillin are probably the three majors we would consider our biggest races.
 
“A lot of it is just the names that are associated with it,” he added, pointing to a three-day racing extravaganza that honors the legacy of Jesse Hockett, from Warsaw, Missouri, who was a star in both the winged and non-wing sprint divisions when he lost his life in a shop accident in 2010. His cousin and crew chief, Daniel McMillin, was killed in an automobile accident in 2006.
 
“You take that and combine it with what is the best facility that we race at all year and the big car count,” Covington said. “You get 60-something winged sprint cars there, quality cars, so you get stiff competition racing for a good memorial race. And it pays $10,000 to win.”
 
That’s the big prize in the Saturday-night finale for the ASCS winged competitors. Drivers in both the ASCS winged and POWRi WAR wingless divisions compete both Thursday and Friday with combined points from heat races, qualifiers, B-mains and A-mains helping to set the lineup for Saturday night’s ASCS main event and $3,077-to-win WAR feature.
 
Covington, from Glenpool, Oklahoma, also sees three nights of action as an opportunity to shake up the points battle. Entering a Tuesday night race in Spencer, Iowa, fellow Oklahoman Blake Hahn held a 63-point lead over Covington with J.J. Hickle 76 behind.
 
“As a national tour driver you also look at it as a race you can make up some real ground on somebody because of the stiffer competition and car count,” he said. “A lot of the races we go to, there’s only 24 cars there and a lot of times you take your top three or four points on the national tour and we all run first, second, third and fourth. Or run third, fourth, fifth and sixth. It always seems we’re right there next to one another.
 
“So when we get to a race where there is more quality cars, it has a tendency to shake things up.”
 
Covington, a member of the Quarter-Midget Hall of Fame, said it’s impossible - with only a handful of events remaining on the 2021 schedule - not to think about winning the championship.
 
“You think about it a lot, but at the same time … I’ve traveled around with the tour for a long time and you have to take it one race at a time,” he said. “I try to drive the same way every single week with the same mentality. It would be too easy to get worked up. Say you’re in the points lead, it would be too easy to get conservative. Or say you’re behind a little bit and you feel you have to push the issue to make up ground and you end up making a mistake.
 
“If you can approach every race the same way, with the same mind-set, that’s the way I try to be.”
 
Covington, 31, would love to win his first Hockett/McMillin on Saturday for more than the points and prestige. While he raced against Hockett only a few times before Jesse’s tragic death, Covington knows what “The Rocket” meant to the open-wheel racing world. Winning this race would be an ultimate tribute.
 
“I didn’t know Jesse very well personally, but he was one of the fastest guys and most-popular guys,” Covington said. “It didn’t surprise me that they had a Hockett race because everybody liked Jesse. He was a real likable guy and was just starting to prove himself in a winged car, on his way to being one of the top winged guys there was.”
 
Covington said he’s hopeful that this is the year, on a Wheatland oval he enjoys, that he finally is able to pay tribute to Hockett from victory lane.
 
“I had a rough go there last year, but that’s not the norm,” he said. “Normally, we’re on the podium and in contention for the win. I haven’t won a race there yet, but I’ve run second and third a crap-ton and I feel like I’m due to win one there.”
 
Schedule and Ticket Prices
Thursday and Friday
Pits open: All day
Grandstands open: 4 p.m.
Hot Laps: 6 p.m.
Racing: 7:05 p.m.
 
Adults (16 and up) - $20
Seniors (62 and up)/Military - $17
Youth (6 to 15) - $5
Kids (5 and under) - FREE
Family pass (2 adults, up to 3 kids or youth) - $45
Pit Pass - $35
 
Saturday
Pits open: All day
Grandstands open: 3 p.m.
Hot laps: 5:30 p.m.
Racing: 6:35 p.m.
 
Adults (16 and up) $30
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $27
Youth (6 to 15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass (2 adults, up to 3 kids or youth) - $70
Pit Pass $40
 
For ticket information for any event during the 2021 Lucas Oil Speedway season, contact admissions director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com. Fans also can use the online ticketing system.
 
CONTACT:
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984 
# # #
 
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and schedules 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 ninth season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, "Lake Lucas." 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 Weekly Racing Series features the ULMA Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.
 
 
2021 Official Lucas Oil Speedway Marketing Partners
 
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2021 Lucas Oil Speedway Supporters Include:
Advanced Automotive Repair, AM Pyrotechnics, Angler's Resort, Arizona Sport Shirts, Ash Grove Aggregates, Ball Tree Service, Benton County Tire, Berry Tractor and Equipment Co., Big Adventure RV, Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick, Bolivar Auto Sales & Detailing, Bolivar Farmers Exchange-MFA, Boone's BBQ Barn, Boubin Tire/American Racer, Branstetter & Lightfoot LLC, Bridal Cave, BWI Sanitation, Camden on the Lake Resort, Candlelight Creations-Dick's Wild Root Horseradish, Casey's General Stores, Cedar Creek Beef Jerky, CED Electric, Central Life Sciences, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, City Magnet, Clearlight Inn, Comfort Inn-Bolivar,DirtonDirt.com, Dixie Chopper, eBay Motors, Eibach Springs, Evans Pipe & Steel Co., Farmers Insurance Agent Kristy Reynolds, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, Frog Signs, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Heritage Tractor Inc., Hermitage Lumber, HICKAMO Country Store, Highway 54 RV Park, Hobbytime Motorsports, Hoosier Race Tires, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps, In the Garden of Eden, Kettle Treats, Keyser Manufacturing, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, LimeBank, Lucas Cattle Company, McCoy Logging LLC, Merck Animal Health, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welding, Missouri Land Co. LLC, Missouri Welding Institute (MWI), MyRacePass, Nemo Quarry, NMI/VMG Marketing Group, Nutrien Ag Solutions, OakStar Bank, O'Bannon Bank, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Ozark Golf Cars, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper, Ozarks Community Health Center, PFI Western Store, Pitts Homes, Pitts Realty, Pitts Cattle, ProThings Apparel, RACEceiver, Racinboys.com, RacinDirt.com, RacingJunk.com, Rains Ice Company, Real Racing Wheels, Rod End Supply, Ron Jenkins Accounting & Tax Service, Rugged Radios, Ryan E. Murphy Law Firm LLC, SBU Athletics, Safety Kleen, Schlesselman Fencing, Scott Furniture, Sidetrack RV Park, Southwest Electric Cooperative, Square B Ranch, Stillwater Resort, Stover Milling, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sunflower Resort, Superior Products, TA/PETRO, Transportation Distribution Co. (TDC), US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Wheatland Motel, White's Marine Center, Wild Animal Safari, Windsor Livestock Auction, Woods Supermarkets, Wrisco Industries, ZINPRO Performance Minerals.