Lucas Oil Speedway Preseason Spotlight: Garner looks to close the deal in 2024

William Garner captured one Lucas Oil Speedway feature and came close on numerous other occasions in the O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Car division in 2023, finishing second in points behind Mason Beck. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)

After turning in a good season in 2023 at Lucas Oil Speedway, William Garner is shooting for a great one in 2024. Garner knows the margin between good and great can be small. The 23-year-old from Lebanon wound up second in O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars points a year ago, finishing 94 points behind Mason Beck. It felt a whole lot closer.

“We had some heart-breakers where I know we could have won the show and let a couple get away from us,” Garner said. “This year, we have big plans.”

Garner ran near the front consistently, with 13 top-fives in 18 features, but only captured one feature victory at Lucas. He came home second five times, losing a couple of those by less than a car length. He knows it was so close to being a spectacular season.

It’s one reason he has high hopes – and plenty of motivation – for what’s coming up.

“If we could turn some of our runs we had last year into wins this year, and start out real strong, I think we’ll have a good season,” Garner said. “We’re gonna try to do our best to win the points at Lucas this year.

“We were making up ground last year and had a real good chance. We just let it slip away and hopefully this year we can seal the deal.”

Garner and the 20-year-old Beck, from Urbana, are two of several talented young drivers who are part of the highly competitive division. Garner said that while he and Beck occasionally “give each other a hard time” they are good friends and enjoy the competition.

Things are starting to ramp up in the race shop as Garner just about has his Franklin chassis ready for a new-look wrap on his No. 7 machine. He plans to open the season at Arrowhead Speedway in Oklahoma in a few weeks before turning his attention to the Big Adventure Weekly Racing Series at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Some special events also are on his radar, including the $100,000-to-win Yankee Dirt Track Classic at 300 Raceway in Iowa at the end of August, a week after the points season concludes at Wheatland. That race already has attracted approximately 300 Stock Car entries.

Garner said no matter the prize fund or race track, he feels better equipped to find victory lane after the near-misses and lessons learned of last season.

“Just how hard you have to work,” Garner said of what he’s learned the most since he began racing. “That shows you at the end of the night, at the end of that week, how hard you worked and how your work is paying off. The more work you put in, you’re gonna have better results most of the time.

“Each year it feels like I get a little smoother and calmer in the race car. That seems like it helps a lot. Just more knowledge helps a bunch, too.”

Team sponsors include Bar T Cattle, Leerose Puppies, G&M Transport, Eagle Machine, Franklin Motorsports, Garner Construction, Mitchell Capital Management, Richardson’s Carpet, Icon Graphics and Apparel, Johnny Fennewald Roofing & Seamless Gutters, E-Co Equipment and Solutions and Midwest Sheet Metal.

The 2024 Lucas Oil Speedway schedule begins with an Open Test & Tune on Saturday, March 30, from 2-6 p.m. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 295-6043 or email her at [email protected] for more information on season passes for any event on the schedule.

High Limit Racing Diamond Classic tickets on sale: Reserved-seat tickets plus two-day passes for one of the most-anticipated racing events on the Lucas Oil Speedway 2024 schedule, the inaugural Lucas Oil Speedway High Limit Racing Diamond Classic, are now on sale.

The High Limit Diamond Classic is set for June 28-29 when the High Limit Racing Series makes their first ever appearance at Lucas Oil Speedway. The High Limit Sprint Car Series is co-owned by Brad Sweet and Kyle Larson and features top 410 sprint car drivers from around the country.

Support class for the The High Limit Racing Diamond Classic is the Modified Invitational featuring the Heartland Modified Tour. An invitational format will be used to select 24 modified drivers to compete alongside the High Limit Racing Sprint Cars both nights. 

Show-Me 100 3-day passes on sale: All reserved seats and remaining 3-day passes for the 32nd annual Show-Me 100 are now on sale. The 3-day passes are $115 apiece and do not include pit passes. Those must be purchased separately if access to the pit area is desired.

Campground reservations also are now being accepted for the Show-Me 100, which features the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and Lucas Oil MLRA.

Fans can contact McMillan at (417) 295-6043 or via email at [email protected] for more information about any event on the 2024 Lucas Oil Speedway scheduled.