WHEATLAND, Mo. — The long wait was worth it for Blake Hahn, who won Saturday night’s ninth annual Jesse Hockett-Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway.
The event was sanctioned by the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series.
“I want to thank the fans for hanging it out for this awesome, long race,” Hahn said after earning the ASCS Winged Sprint crown-jewel win to cap a program that started more than two hours later than scheduled due to rain earlier in the day.
Hahn had never won at Lucas Oil Speedway until Thursday night, when he captured the night one preliminary feature. He made it win number two there on Saturday and it was a major.
Hahn survived a scrap with Dylan Westbrook, as the two battled for the lead with five laps remaining, to pick up the $10,000 win. Mark Smith finished second with Brady Bacon third.
“This is probably one of the biggest wins of my career,” Hahn said. “I’ve always wanted to win here at Lucas Oil, but I’ve also always wanted to get the Hockett Memorial. I looked up to Jesse as a driver, for being kind of an outlaw, not being afraid to jump into any car he had an opportunity to.
“He was a big hero of mine and I’m very fortunate to be able to win this awesome race.”
Front-row starters Hahn and Josh Baughman, winners of preliminary features the first two nights, showed their dominance early with Hahn leading the way as the duo ran 1-2 for 15 laps.
Baughman got together with Derek Hagar the next time around in turn four and, while able to make the save, Baughman faded to eighth and soon after pulled off the track.
Westbrook inherited second and was giving chase to Hahn in a lengthy green-flag stretch as the leaders weaved through lapped traffic. Then as Hahn and Westbrook were about to complete lap 36, they touched wheels in turn four and Westbrook wound up on his top and Hahn made a fishtailing save.
“I hate to see anybody turn upside down,” Hahn said. “I was trying to get underneath some lapped cars and got into the slop down on the bottom and just pushed up in front of him. It was my fault.”
As action resumed with five laps remaining, Hahn led ninth-starting Smith, Hagar and Bacon, who started 16th.
Hahn was up to the challenge, finishing 2.27 seconds in front of Smith as the checkers flew with Bacon third, Derek Hagar fourth and Seth Bergman fifth.
“I kept my car freed up all night,” said Smith. “We had been struggling the last couple of nights trying to get it figured out because I’d never been here. We stayed steady on the bottom and we had a couple of misfortunes with some other guys and we passed some cars too.”
Feature (40 Laps): 1. 52-Blake Hahn, ; 2. M1-Mark Smith, ; 3. 99-Brady Bacon, ; 4. 9JR-Derek Hagar, ; 5. 23-Seth Bergman, ; 6. 95-Matt Covington, ; 7. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, ; 8. 35M-Jonathan Cornell, ; 9. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, ; 10. 11-Roger Crockett, ; 11. 91T-Tyler Thomas, ; 12. 14-Jordon Mallett, ; 13. 9$-Kyle Clark, ; 14. 3P-Sawyer Phillips, ; 15. 47X-Dylan Westbrook, ; 16. 22-Sean McClelland, ; 17. 21-Miles Paulus, ; 18. 29-Clinton Boyles, ; 19. 21K-Kameron Key, ; 20. 81-Jack Dover, ; 21. 5D-Zach Daum, ; 22. 21X-Brinton Marvel, ; 23. 21P-Robbie Price, ; 24. 28-Scott Bogucki, ; (DQ) 17-Josh Baughman,