Danny Lorton recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of being hired as Lucas Oil Speedway's Assistant General Manager. Lorton said working at one of America's premier motorsports facilities has been everything he anticipated and then some.
"It's been awesome," Lorton said of working as the top aide to General Manager Dan Robinson. "I can't believe how well it went. The staff here has been outstanding."
Lorton, a native of Moberly and former United States Navy veteran, kicks off an offseason series of stories on staff members at Lucas Oil Speedway. His duties at the speed complex are many.
"The main duties are assistant to Dan and helping him with whatever he needs," Lorton said. "As far as the track itself, I'm the operations manager. During race-day events, it's operations/competition director/jack of all trades you might say."
Lorton brought a background as both a driver and racing administrator when hired by Robinson a year ago after three seasons as competition director at Randolph County Raceway in Moberly. He drove and owned race cars before going into the administrative side as a founding member of the ULMA Board of Directors.
Lucas Oil Speedway veteran USRA Modified driver Jason Pursley said Lorton's experience as a driver serves him well in a job in which he directly interacts with drivers on a weekly basis.
"Danny came in and did a great job," Pursley said. "He's very personable. You can tell he used to race and that's always a plus, having a guy who understands the racing part of it and the racers' side of it. He would talk to you.
"Even if you didn't always agree, you could still talk it out with Danny. I think he was a positive hire for the track."
Lorton appreciates the feedback he gets from drivers and said he tries to use his past experiences as a positive.
"Having been in both shoes, so to speak, I kind of understand the situation a little better from both sides," Lorton said.
One of the areas that Lorton worked on that fans saw was increased interaction between drivers and fans. Each week, prior to hot laps, cars were on display with drivers available to chat or sign autographs.
Lorton said this was an especially important cause for him because it involved youngsters. "That's our future," Lorton said of young fans.
Lorton's family consists of wife Lisa, daughter Tara Ragain, son-in-law Travis Ragain and three grandchildren - Trent Everhart, Lexi Everhart and Kordell Everhart.
As for goals in 2017, Lorton said topping the track's success in 2016 will be a tall order but that's a challenge he's eager to tackle.
"Dan is a great boss and Lucas Oil is a great company to work for," Lorton said. "Racing is a family and here you feel like family with everybody that you work with."
Robinson said he's looking forward to having Lorton alongside for another successful season.
"Danny is a tremendous asset to our operation here at Lucas Oil Speedway with his diverse background as a driver, track operations experience and sanctioning body affiliation," Robinson said. "He has a keen eye for detail and sets a high standard for himself and for those around him. We are proud to have him on our team."
The 2017 season begins with the Weekly Championship Series opener on April 8, followed by the 4th annual Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals on April 14-15.
Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With it's 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.
Click www.LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984. In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.