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Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Hahn looks for repeat at Hockett-McMillin Memorial

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Blake Hahn of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, goes for a repeat in the Lucas Oil ASCS Winged portion of the Jesse Hockett-Daniel McMillin Memorial, this weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Hahn looks for repeat at Hockett-McMillin Memorial

By Lyndal Scranton

WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 15, 2020) – Blake Hahn never got to race against Jesse Hockett, but a lasting impression was formed when a young Hahn watched “The Rocket” drive a non-winged sprint car around Tulsa-area dirt tracks.

“I didn’t know him personally, because I wasn’t quite racing sprint cars yet, but I looked up to Jesse,” Hahn said. “He ran a bunch of ASCS (American Sprint Car Series) stuff, so I was able to watch him when I was able to go to the races.

“It stuck out to me that he drove a yellow car and I always loved yellow. Just the way he was able to jump from one car to the next and be as competitive as he was, it was something I looked at. He was a true outlaw, being able to run everything and anything he got into.”

Those memories of Hockett, the legendary sprint car driver from mid-Missouri, made it a special moment when Hahn captured the Jesse Hockett-Daniel McMillin Memorial one year ago at Lucas Oil Speedway. He goes for a repeat this weekend in the 10th annual edition of the open-wheel major.

At least 137 cars, combining the Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprints and POWRi Lucas Oil WAR wingless sprints, are entered for three nights of racing beginning on Thursday. Hahn, 25, would like nothing more than to park his yellow No. 52 winged machine in victory lane again in a race that honors the memory of Hockett, who died in a shop accident in 2010, and his cousin and crew chief Daniel McMillin who died in an auto accident in 2006.

“The race gets bigger and bigger every year,” Hahn said. “It’s a prestigious race, paying $10,000 to win, a big race on our schedule. You see a bunch of big names coming just for that race.

Lucas Oil Speedway

“Then the aspect of it being the Hockett Memorial, having Jack Hockett (Jesse’s dad) there, it’s pretty neat. Seeing him on the front straightaway and being able to talk to him after our win, that was pretty neat.”

Hahn said 2019 was nearly a perfect weekend as he won the Thursday preliminary and finished a strong seventh on Friday to lock into a second starting spot for Saturday’s big-money finale.

“We had a fast car all weekend and Saturday were able to capitalize,” Hahn said. “It seemed like everything fell into place.”

Hahn called the preliminary nights crucial in collecting enough points to secure a good starting position in Saturday’s main event.

“You pretty much have to go forward every time you touch the track,” he said of Thursday and Friday. “Being able to start toward the front come Saturday, it makes all the difference with that stiff competition. It seems like with these harder races, if you’re not starting in the first two or three rows, it’s hard to win.”

Just like the name Hockett rings a bell with open-wheel fans, so does the name Hahn. Blake, of Sapulpa, Okla., spent much of his childhood in the pits at Creek County Speedway in the Tulsa-area track owned by his grandfather, Emmett Hahn, a former racer and member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Emmett Hahn founded the legendary Chili Bowl midget event and the American Sprint Car Series.

Blake’s dad, Tommy, also drove midget and sprint cars. Blake now carries on the family tradition behind the wheel, a place that seems natural to him.

“Pretty much since I was growing up, I wanted to drive a race car,” Blake Hahn said. “My grandpa drove a yellow No. 52 and since my first car, I knew mine was gonna be a yellow 52.”

Hahn raced weekly at Port City Raceway, a Tulsa track for kart, mini-sprint and midget racing that has spawn the careers of several top racers. He raced the ASCS2 mini-sprint national series and beat, among others, Christopher Bell for the championship in 2010. Bell has gone on to race in the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series.

Since 2014, Blake Hahn has been a Lucas Oil ASCS regular. He’s looking for a strong finish to what he considers a sub-par season to this point and hopes the Hockett-McMillin Memorial will be the jumpstart he needs.

“We should have better results than we do, but we’re sitting 4th in national points. That’s not too bad considering,” Hahn said. “But I know it can be better. If we do what our team is capable of, we should be able to finish the year out strong.”

10th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial

Thursday-Friday schedule:

4 p.m. – Grandstands open

5 p.m. – Drivers’ meeting

6 p.m. – Hot laps

7:05 p.m. – Racing begins

Saturday schedule:

4 p.m. – Grandstands open

4:45 p.m. – Drivers’ meeting

5:30 p.m. – Hot laps

6:30 p.m. – Racing begins

Thursday-Friday admission:

Adults (16 and up) $20

Seniors (62 and up)/Military $17

Youth (6 to 15) $5

Kids (5 and under) FREE

Family Pass $45

Pit Pass $35

3-Day Pit Pass $100

Saturday admission:

Adults (16 and up) $30

Seniors (62 and up)/Military $27

Youth (6 to 15) $10

Kids (5 and under) FREE

Family Pass $70

Pit Pass $40

3-Day Pit Pass $100

Advance tickets can only be purchased online. Otherwise, tickets will be available at the gate. To reserve camping spots, contact the Lucas Oil Speedway office at 417-292-5984.

For more information on the two race series, visit ASCSracing.com and POWRi.com.

For ticket questions or information for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

By Lyndal Scranton

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