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WHEATLAND, MO. (September 19, 2019) - The ninth annual Jesse Hockett / Daniel McMillin Memorial opened with a bang in Thursday's Mesilla Valley Transportation preliminary as Zach Daum of Pocahontas, Ill. glided to the race lead on lap 17 and held on for his sixth-career POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League victory.
Opening with the unique addition of group qualifying, the four flights to open the night saw Garrett Aitken (14.735), Thomas Meseraull (14.521), Chris Windom (14.551) and Riley Kreisel (14.900) top the charts.
In heat race action, the four-car inversion offered several thrilling starts as drivers sliced and diced for position with points on the line. In the end, Garrett Aitken (Hinchman Racewear Heat 1), Landon Simon (Bell Racing HQ Heat 2), Chris Windom (Schure Built Suspensions Heat 3) and Riley Kreisel (Wilwood Brakes Heat 4) took wins.
A trio of qualifiers spiced it up further with a six-car inversion in play, creating some on-the-edge charges as guys like Thomas Meseraull won High Side Design qualifier one from fifth, Chris Windom won Indy Race Parts qualifier two from sixth and Zach Daum won Chalk Stix qualifier three from fifth.
Setting the stage for the 25-lap preliminary feature, one final twist was thrown into the mix as the top eight in combined points were inverted, slotting Chris Windom and Riley Kreisel on the fourth row with three daunting duos in front of them.
At the drop of the green flag in feature action, Mitchell Moore of Edgerton, Kans. took advantage of his pole position and guided his No. 51 entry to the point while the war for position ensued behind him.
Holding a steady command early on, Moore paced himself while the battle for second brewed between Daum, Schudy and a storming Windom from eighth. Seeing the cross flags at halfway, Moore's lead began to shrink as Daum and Windom mounted a run at the No. 51.
Pulling within striking distance, Daum made several peeks to the inside before cashing in off turn two on the 16th circuit, gassing it off exit as he snuck underneath Moore and powering by him down the backstretch. While Daum focused on his lead, attention turned to Windom, who after taking second away from Moore ended up biking his No. 5G in turn two, but miraculously saved it and only lost one spot.
Catching the first and only stoppage of the race on lap 24, the field was reset after a top-ten running Terry Richards went wildly flipping in turn three. He was okay, but certainly heated afterwards. Coming to the green-white-checkered restart, Daum stayed committed to the bottom while Windom tried to go side-by-side for Moore in pursuit for second.
In the end, neither Moore and Windom could catch Daum, as the Pocahontas, Ill. native drove the No. 5D from fifth-to-first and earned his sixth-career POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League victory. Coming on night one of the Jesse Hockett / Daniel McMillin Memorial, Daum's win mathematically guarantees him a spot in Saturday's pole shuffle at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Chasing Daum to the finish line and earning a runner-up bid was Mitchell Moore, who had no more than 12 hours ago put the finishing touches on a freshly-built No. 51 machine. Rounding out the podium with Daum and Moore was Chris Windom, who capped his stellar night with an eighth-to-third run in the NOS Energy Drink No. 5G.
Closing out the top ten was Kory Schudy in fourth, Joe B. Miller in fifth, Garrett Aitken in sixth, Landon Simon in eighth, Ty Hulsey in ninth and Chris Phillips in tenth.
After Thursday's opening preliminary, Chris Windom (250l) eads the points situation ahead of Zach Daum (248), Joe B. Miller (218), Mitchell Moore (214) and Garrett Aitken (213). Full points can be found on WAR Sprints social media.
The ninth annual Jesse Hockett / Daniel McMillin Memorial rolls on tomorrow as the second half of the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League field competes in Friday's Rockwell Security Preliminary Night at Lucas Oil Speedway. IF you can't make it, you can watch LIVE on www.lucasoilracingtv.com.
For more information on the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League, you can visit www.powri.comonline, follow @WARSprints on Twitter or Instagram, or like POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints on Facebook.
Group Qualifying - Flight One (3 Laps):
Group Qualifying - Flight Two (3 Laps):
Group Qualifying - Flight Three (3 Laps):
Group Qualifying - Flight Four (3 Laps):
Hinchman Racewear Heat One (8 Laps):
Bell Racing HQ Heat Two (8 Laps):
Schure Built Suspensions Heat Three (8 Laps):
Wilwood Disc Brakes Heat Four (8 Laps):
High Side Design Qualifier One (10 Laps):
Indy Race Parts Qualifier Two (10 Laps):
Chalk Stix Qualifier Three (10 Laps):
Hoosier Tire B-Main (12 Laps /4 Transfer):
POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League Main Event (25 Laps):