Dsc 6541 Speed Sport Woo Lburg Mcfadden Nearpass Photo
James McFadden en route to victory at Lawrenceburg Speedway. (David Nearpass photo)

KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race

It’s time for our weekly Friday morning tour around the racing world.

From hot laps to the main event, here’s what’s on our mind this week.

Hot Laps: Big Opportunity

Corey LaJoie has the opportunity of a lifetime ahead of him this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The regular Spire Motorsports driver will substitute for Chase Elliott in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, giving the third-generation driver a chance to prove what he can do with the best equipment in the business.

He’s been solid all season in the No. 7 Chevrolet, which will be handled by Truck Series regular Carson Hocevar at Gateway. It will be Hocevar’s Cup Series debut.

Qualifying: Suspension

I’ve seen thousands of races over the years, but it seems I don’t know what I’m looking at anymore. I saw no reason for a suspension to be handed down in the Chase Elliott-Denny Hamlin incident at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Looked like good old-fashioned hard racing. That said, I never dreamed NASCAR would suspend its most popular driver, so kudos to officials for trying to treat all incidents the same.

First Heat: Highs & Lows

It’s only June 2, and it’s already been quite a year for Australian sprint car driver James McFadden.

McFadden won two World of Outlaws races earlier in the season, but he and the Roth Motorsports team were suspended after failing a tire test April 14 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-44. But after serving the suspension and paying an $8,200 fine, the team returned to action in mid-May and McFadden was back in victory lane May 29 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.

All three victories have been with a Toyota engine in the familiar No. 83 machine.

Second Heat: Big Splash

Jake Trainor has been quietly making his way through the open-wheel ranks in recent years, but he made a huge splash during the Memorial Day weekend.

First, he won the national midget feature during the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. But the 18-year-old wasn’t finished as the following night he became the first rookie to win the Little 500 sprint car race since Greg Leffler in 1981. It was only Trainor’s second race in a sprint car. It came at the wheel of a car owned by third-generation team owner Matt Seymour.

Third Heat: Still Rolling

Lance Dewease turns 58 years old on June 10.

You wouldn’t know it by his results on the race track. He won big-money races at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal and Williams Grove Speedways over the Memorial Day weekend. This weekend, Dewease and the Don Kreitz Jr. No. 69k are hitting the road for a pair of races with the All Star Circuit of Champions in Wisconsin.

Fourth Heat: Hot Streak

Sprint car driver Derek Hagar is on a hot streak. Hagar has won four consecutive USCS sprint car features during the annual early summer Speedweek for the southern-based 360 sprint car tour. The latest victory came Thursday night at North Alabama Speedway.

Dash: Celebrate Good Times

It was refreshing to see such jubilant and humble winners as Josef Newgarden and Ryan Blaney won the Indy 500 and the Coke 600. Their celebrations in the grandstands were the types of things that make youngsters into lifetime fans.

Semi: Sidelined

Chase Sexton won the Monster Energy AMA Supercross title by being consistent and remaining injury free through the 17-race winter and spring grind. However, it took only one race into the summer Pro Motocross season for Sexton to hit the injury list. He’ll miss this weekend’s second round — the Hangtown Classic — with a concussion.

Feature: Hall of Fame

Congratulations to SPEED SPORT’s own Ralph Sheheen and Max Dolder on their induction into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame on Saturday. SPEED SPORT President and longtime racing announcer Sheheen, as well as photographer of all things sprint cars, Dolder, are part of a 13-member induction class.

Both are music aficionados. Sheheen is a graduate of the Headbanger’s Ball and Dolder plays a mean blues harmonica.

The other inductees are Ken Hamilton, Chad Kemenah, Cory Kruseman, Bobby Marshall, Joey Saldana, Johnny Capels, Paul Hazen, Tommy Sanders, Alan Kreitzer, Johnny Vance and Joie Ray.

Watch the induction ceremony at 2 p.m. (ET), Saturday on the Sprint Car Hall of Fame Facebook page.

Parting Shot: Marks Wins

Ross Chastain hasn’t won a race this season, but his boss has. Trackhouse Racing co-owner Justin Marks won the Trans-Am race at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day Monday.