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Lucas Oil Speedway Flagman Mike Striegel Enjoys Introducing Young Fans To Sport Of Racing

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Lucas Oil Speedway Flagman Striegel enjoys introducing young fans to sport of racing

Lucas Oil Speedway Flagman Mike Striegel Enjoys Introducing Young Fans To Sport Of Racing

By Lyndal Scranton

Photo Credit: GS Stanek Racing Photography

WHEATLAND, MO. (June 29, 2021) – Whether he’s waving checkered flags for others or sometimes seeing them as a race-winner himself, Mike Striegel is widely recognized as an ambassador for dirt-track racing in the Ozarks.

A former Lucas Oil Speedway track champion who’s in his second season as flagman at his hometown track, Striegel still gets his kicks behind the wheel once in a while. In just six starts in his USRA B-Mod in 2021, Striegel has feature wins at Old 71 Speedway in Butler and Lebanon Midway Speedway, plus a pair of runner-up finishes at those tracks.

Lucas Oil Speedway Flagman Striegel enjoys introducing young fans to sport of racing

But Striegel’s biggest impact might be in generating interest in dirt-track racing for youngsters. Before each Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program at Lucas Oil Speedway, he leads the Frogs Jr Fan Club Pit Tour, for youngsters ages 5-12. The kids can sign up on the midway, behind the main grandstands, before 5 p.m. with eight names drawn for a special pit-area tour at 5:15 p.m. with a smiling Striegel leading the way.

It’s an idea that Striegel and Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager Danny Lorton came up with a couple of years ago and put into motion last season.

“They’re the future of the sport,” Striegel said of why giving youngsters a special, behind-the-scenes view of the racing operation is important to him. “Without the kids getting involved, the sport dies off. It’s generations that keep the sport going. If kids don’t get interested and all of us old guys quit, who’s gonna take over the sport?”

On the Pit Tour, the kids get to meet some of the drivers, see the cars up close and attend the drivers’ meeting prior to returning to the midway. Each of the youngsters receive a Frogs Jr Fan Club T-Shirt, checkered flag and a gift bag sponsored by RaceGear Unlimited to put items in they receive from the drivers.

The next pit tour is during Casey’s and KY3 Thursday Night Thunder this week, a special edition of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series. Along with post-race fireworks, the event is highlighted by the Frogs Jr Fan Club Kids’ Bicycle Giveaway during intermission.

Striegel, 50, calls himself “a big kid at heart.” He appreciates how the Lucas Oil Speedway drivers have embraced the youngsters during the pit tours.

“They’ve enjoyed it, probably as much as me,” Striegel said. “Really, besides seeing the kids smile every week – and I’m about as much a kid as they are – it’s really just seeing those smiles that makes it special for me.

“The drivers have taken it on and helped it be what it is. Some of them let the kids get in the car and sit in the seat. It’s been really enjoyable. Everybody says, ‘Good job Striegel, this is cool.’ But it’s not about me. It’s about those kids and I can’t thank the drivers enough for supporting it.

“It’s been a great experience. Me and Danny kicked it around a couple of years ago and now whenever you get down there, the drivers have gotten used to it. They have their hero cards and are ready for the kids. Some of them may get a new fans. They really interact good with it.

“I’ve had a couple of repeat kids come and go more than once, which means they’ve enjoyed it. Some of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever come to the races, been at the track. It’s really great when you get one never been to the track before. They’re a little shy, but the drivers make them feel comfortable.”

The bicycle giveaway on Thursday is another way to give the kids – some of whom might not otherwise have access to their own bike – a special racing memory.

Both girls’ and boys’ bicycles are being accepted at the speedway office during regular business hours this week, or they can be brought to the pit office on Thursday night. Monetary donations can be dropped off at the speedway this week as well, toward purchase of new bicycles.

For questions or more details, contact Lisa Lorton at the Lucas Oil Speedway office (417) 282-5984 or via email at Lisa@lucasoilspeedway.com.

Youngsters ages 5-12 can sign up for the Frog’s Signs Junior Fan Club on the midway upon arrival at the speedway on Thursday with a drawing for the bicycles held during intermission.

“I think we gave away 48 or 49 bicycles last year. Hopefully, we’ll be able to grow it bigger this year,” Striegel said.

The Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models will headline the on-track action with a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win feature courtesy of Rains Ice. The Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars also will continue their points chases.

Following the final checkered flag, the lights will go out and the area’s biggest fireworks show, courtesy of AM Pyrotechnics, will light up the sky to celebrate the 4th of July Weekend.

Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7.
Discount coupons for tickets can be found at participating Casey’s General Stores locations.

Admission:
Adults (16 and over) – $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military – $17
Youth (ages 6-15) – $10
Kids (5 and under) – FREE
Family Pass (two adults, up to three youth) $50
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.

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.

Photo Credit: GS Stanek Racing Photography

By Lyndal Scranton | Lucas Oil Speedway

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