Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: USMTS series leader Sorensen looks to extend Wheatland success
2022-08-04 12:10dirtFan website https://dirtfan.com/dirtfan/assets/graphics/dirtfan-200x200.jpg
WHEATLAND, MO. (Aug. 3, 2022) - Growing up in the cold winters of southeastern Minnesota, Dustin Sorensen loved playing ice hockey as a slap-shooting forward.
Rising to the level of top-level youth hockey, Sorensen was on the fast track toward possibly becoming a college recruit. But all the while, another fast-paced sport - one that had deep roots in his family - fought for his attention.
Young Dustin had a knack for racing dirt modifieds. He was winning B-Mod races as a 12-year-old and, by the time he was officially old enough to drive, was ready to graduate into A Mods. Dustin's dad, Mike, had been a big winner in USRA Modifieds for several years before hanging up his helmet.
"After high school, I decided that I wanted to stick to racing," Sorensen said of the choice he had to make between his two favorite sports. It's been a solid decision as the 21-year-old has become one of the nation's best, leading the USMTS standings with the home stretch of the season beginning.
Sorensen rolls into Lucas Oil Speedway on Saturday for the 13th annual USMTS Slick Mist Show-Me Shootout Presented by Foley Equipment atop the championship chase and on a track that he likes. Second in the Show-Me Shootout last August, Sorensen swept all three nights of the USRA Modified portion of the 2021 USRA Nationals at Wheatland.
The Rochester, Minnesota driver begins a three-race weekend USMTS swing 107 points in front of Tanner Mullens and 179 clear of third-place Dereck Ramirez, the reigning series and Show-Me Shootout champ.
While drivers in his position often deny thinking about points, Sorensen is honest about his situation, with 15 races remaining in the USMTS season.
"That's our goal, to win the points," Sorensen said. "Every night, I'm trying to at least finish and not put myself in any bad situations. I'll be a little more cautious, but winning is still the main goal, every night.
"I wasn't really expecting to be in the situation that we're in now, but I wanted to be. My goal at the start was to try and make a run at the national points deal."
It wasn't that long ago that Sorensen began racing "Slingshot" cars on a small oval inside the main track at Deer Creek Speedway. After moving into the B Mod, he said his summers were extremely busy with racing and travel hockey. He said he was "all right" as a hockey player and that his dad wishes he had chosen hockey.
"He's still a little made I gave it up for racing," Dustin Sorensen said. "He thought that would have been a little smarter choice, at least when I was a little younger."
Sorensen said he even move to Omaha as a high school sophomore to play on an elite team, but returned to Minnesota after that season.
"That was interfering with racing," he said of being several hours from home, "so then I moved back home and played regular high school hockey and raced," he said. Eventually, he gave up the skates and stick.
A fan of the NHL's Minnesota Wild, Sorensen said there might be some correlation between the hand-eye coordination that it takes to play hockey and drive a race car, where instant reaction is vital to success. The toughness he learned from hockey, especially on the mental side, is a definite benefit.
"I think it's huge with racing," Sorensen said. "You see guys get on hot streak and then kind of fade for a little while and then are able to come back. Confidence is a huge thing."
Asked about future goals in racing, Sorensen said he doesn't spent a lot of time thinking about it, though driving a dirt Late Model would be appealing if sponsorship became available. Otherwise, the focus is on the near term.
"We have 15 races left and the next three are what I have on my mind right now," he said.
The three-race swing for the USMTS begins on Thursday at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas, and continues Friday at Humboldt Speedway. For complete point standings, series schedule and story archives visit USMTS.com.
The event is happening just two months before the 9th Annual Summit USRA Nationals in October, so look for a big car count with O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars and Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods also on the program. The Stock Cars and B-Mods will be running for both USRA national and Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series track points.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.
Adults (16 and up) - $25
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Youth (6-15) - $10
Kids (5 and under) - FREE
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Pit Pass - $40
To purchase tickets for any event on Lucas Oil Speedway's schedule, or to inquire about camping information, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 295-6043 or via email at email@example.com.
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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.
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About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" lives up to its title.
Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. This year marks the 12th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, "Lake Lucas." New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring a host of regional events.
Lucas Oil Speedway's dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.
In addition to the special events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Weekly Racing Series features the Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.
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