Davey Hamilton Jr. David Sink Photo

By David Sink
(November 29, 2023) When the Open Wheel Showdown officially kicks off Thursday afternoon at the “Bullring” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, they will have a bullseye on their back, and for good reason. The Kirk Morgan Racing team, with driver Davey Hamilton Jr., are at the top of their game currently.

If you are going to leave Las Vegas with the 50K first place prize money, you must first figure out how to stop this team. They are the winningest pavement sprint car team in the country currently with 8 total wins this season, and fresh off a win in the recent November 4 ‘Sandi DeCaire Classic 41’ at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, Florida. The event is the biggest winged pavement sprint car race on the Florida based Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series schedule.

The team is owned by Tampa, Florida businessman Kirk Morgan. Morgan started the team in 2020, but it wasn’t until late 2021 that Morgan hired Davey Hamilton Jr. to do the driving duties. After winning the 2022 SSSS series championship, the team hit its stride this season. They picked up the non-wing Dave Steele 15 at Florida in February. Since then, they have also won 3 times with Must See Racing and added several second-place finishes with the series. They also finished second to Evan Margeson in the 27K to win Pink Lady Classic at Meridian, Idaho in September.

Driver Davey Hamilton Jr. is the promoter of the Open Wheel Showdown. But he will now get to focus on being a driver now that race weekend is upon us. He has handed over all responsibilities to capable individuals so he can focus on being just a driver. The team might be one of the early favorites to take home the 50k this weekend based on their performance in 2023.

Owner Kirk Morgan indicated the success of the team is due to team chemistry. Everyone knows their role.

“I must admit, I’m happy with our season” team owner Kirk Morgan commented. “We’ve won a bunch of races and had a bunch of second places. We’re a little disappointed in some of those Must See Racing second place finishes. At times we weren’t on our game as much as we would have liked. But we put up a good fight and had a lot of fun doing it.”

“The Must See series is a lot more fun than I ever thought it would be. We raced at a lot of good facilities up north. Jim Hanks and his wife Nancey put on one heck of a show. We like the competition level and running with those guys”.

The team is headed by crew chief Todd Schmidt. Schmidt is one of the mot respected pavement sprint car crew chiefs in the sport. He has worked with Dave Steele and Troy DeCaire. He was won multiple races and championships prior to his tenure with the Morgan team. He won the 2009 Little 500 with Dave Steele.

“it’s the package, its everything” explains Morgan. “Its Davey, its Todd, its me, its crew member “Luigi”, and it’s our commitment. We win our races at the shop. We don’t win them at the track it’s our commitment. We work three night a week on the car at the shop.”

Being on the road has presented challenges for Moran trying to run a business and race this season, but he’s enjoying the experience. “It’s hard. When I’m on the road I speak to the office daily. I have 5 offices in Florida, but I speak to them on the regular while I’m on the road. It presents a challenge, but I’ve hired good, smart people to stand in my place while I’m gone.”

“Todd has been with me from day one. I was fortunate to grab him when I did. I enticed him to be a team member and we’ve had a lot of fun since. As everybody knows, Todd is a wealth of knowledge. He’s a sprint var guru. He’s our engine builder and a chassis guru. He does the setup and shocks too. Todd is the guy at the track everybody comes to for advice. He’ll help anybody.”

“Luigi is one of the hardest working guys I know. In the shop he works non-stop. He just keeps on going. We all eat, breath, and sleep it.”

Morgan likes the team’s chances to take the 50K back to Tampa. “We go into every race with our heads held high. This is the most stacked pavement race we’ve ever witnessed. There are 20 guys that could win this race and another 20 that could surprise everybody. That’s the neat think about this race. The money has lured everybody to Las Vegas. We’re ready to compete with the top guys from all over the country.”

There is one thing Morgan can predict about this weekends race. “If we win it, the 50k is coming home with us. I’m not much of a gambler” concluded Morgan.