WHEATLAND, Mo. – Kory Schudy rolls into the ninth annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial looking to add to an already-successful first year with the POWRi WAR Sprint League.
Schudy’s season included a feature win back in May at the Open Wheel Showdown at Lucas Oil Speedway, one he’s hoping to replicate over the three-day weekend.
“That was big. It gave us confidence right out of the box and going back to Lucas to end the season,” said Schudy, who hails from Springfield. “Hopefully, we can have another good run.”
The Hockett-McMillin Memorial features the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour and POWRi WAR Sprint League in one of open-wheel’s crown jewels.
Full programs for the ASCS winged 360s are set for Thursday and Friday, paying $3,000 to win the features and helping set the field for Saturday’s $10,000-to-win feature.
The WAR Sprints will be split, with half running on Thursday and half on Friday. Drivers will be competing for points every 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.
Schudy will be in the Thursday portion of the preliminaries, looking to set himself up for another chance to win at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2019.
He said there are few more meaningful events in the open-wheel world than this one, which honors the late Hockett, a star in both the winged and non-winged sprint divisions when he lost his life in a shop accident in 2010.
Hockett’s cousin and crew chief, Daniel McMillin, was killed in an automobile accident in 2006.
“Those guys were as good as you can get,” Schudy said of Hockett and McMillin. “Just having the opportunity to be in this race this year is big for me. If we could run good enough on our preliminary night to set us up for Saturday, just to have a chance to win it … that would be the biggest race of my career.”
Schudy, 33, is a second-generation open-wheel racer. His dad, Pat Schudy, still races midgets on occasion.
That meant a large contingent of family and fans were cheering on his win at Wheatland earlier this year.
“It’s kind of in our blood,” Kory Schudy said of the appeal of this form of racing. “We grew up and became fans of it at an early age. You can’t get away from it once you become a part of it.
“It’s so exciting. You know that one wrong move usually doesn’t end up very well for the race car. So it brings a different element to it, I think.”
Schudy began racing micro-sprints as a teen, “and then I took a break through my 20s, but got back into it when my dad started running midgets again,” he explained.
Driving for Jon Sawyer Racing, the 33-year-old finished up the points portion of the WAR schedule just 11 points behind Riley Kreisel.
While he said it’s agonizing to just miss out on earning a championship, Schudy called it a great year.
The partnership with Sawyer to run a full WAR schedule came about during last winter’s Chili Bowl Nationals.
“He was looking for a driver and I was looking to race more full time than on a hit-and-miss basis,” Schudy said. “Timing was the key and it worked out from there. I ran for him four or five years in midgets, but this is the first year for me in the sprint car.”
In 15 WAR Sprint features, Schudy has two wins, 10 top-five finishes and 13 top 10s. It took a near-flawless season from Kreisel to keep Schudy from the championship.
“We’re happy with it,” Schudy said of the season, “though we’re competitive and wanted to win (the championship).
“Overall, we’ve had a great season and we’re looking forward to this weekend.”