If Charlie Lockhart’s weekend in Memphis at the Great American Guaranteed Million includes a dry hop then you know it’s been a good time.
The bottom bulb standout only breaks out the dry hop if he reaches a footbrake final round, and if that happens during Memorial Day Weekend, it would be the biggest weekend in Lockhart’s racing career. Just don’t expect him to get too uptight along the way.
“(The dry hop) helps remind me what we’re doing is fun,” Lockhart said. “It’s something where you can cut up a little and do something a little out of ordinary. I’m here to have fun – win, lose or draw.”
Of course, Lockhart would like to end his weekend with a victory and he’s well aware of the magnitude of the race.
The Mayfield, Ky. native lives less than three hours from Memphis and has raced at the facility numerous times. Lockhart was also a member of the Dream Team Challenge Winner in 2018 in Memphis, hoping he can turn that momentum into another successful performance at a race promoted by Britt Cummings and Gaylon Rolison.
This one has a bigger prize and a bigger spotlight, precisely why Lockhart is so excited.
“It’s the best bang for your buck racing with them,” Lockhart said. “They run a tight ship and I expect this race to make history. There’s races that are big, but this one here is really going to be something. It’s going to be life-changing for somebody and it’s something you can’t pass up.”
In that regard, Lockhart will look for any advantage he can get, which is why he’s looking forward to racing at Memphis.
He’s there at least a half-dozen times a year, making it almost like a second home.
“I think that definitely eases your mind,” said Lockhart, who has a $10,000 Southern Footbrake Challenge victory to his credit. “I know if I go to Memphis, the track is going to be there and it’s going to be good. It does add a comfort aspect. In a race like this, you’re looking for any advantage you can get, so you better try to take that and run with it.”
Lockhart will have his S-10 and ’75 Monza with him at the Great American Guaranteed Million, but again looking for the best path to victory, he may just stick with the Monza as he traverses through several days of competition.
He compared each day to a marathon – though Lockhart hints at he’ll mix in a little fun along the way – and the Monza may allow for the best chance to stay in a long-term groove.
“I’m comfortable in either one, but the Monza seems like a little better car and it’s a little more forgiving,” Lockhart said. “I feel like I don’t have to be quite as sharp and the car is always there. The truck bounces around a little, so you have to really be on your game.”
The Great American Guaranteed Million starts with testing on Tuesday, includes a trio of $40,000-to-win races during the course of the race, and then, of course, the main event, which will start on Friday, May 22 and conclude the next day.
It’s a lot to digest and even harder to stay locked in, but Lockhart will try to shove that pressure aside.
That’s clearly easier said than done in a race with this much on the line, but Lockhart’s biggest goal is to make the most of the historic weekend. His year is already off to a great start thanks to a runner-up finish at the King of the Coast race, but a career-making performance is what he’s after in Memphis.
“It’s five days of racing, but I’m used to that,” Lockhart said. “Plus, it’s all about having fun for me. I try to treat them all the same, treating it like I’m staging at my local track. When you roll into Memphis and race for this kind of money, of course you can’t turn the nerves off. But at the end of the day, this is what I do for fun. This is my hobby and I’m blessed to be there. It’s very humbling and I try not to forget that.”