Lucas Oil Modifieds gaining speed on and off track
BY JIM SHORT
The season is one-third complete and a quick review of the first three races indicates that the growth so evident in recent seasons of the Lucas Oil Modifieds Series presented by LoanMart has accelerated in 2013.
There have been more entries, more race winners, more demand for events and more media and fan interest in the regional touring series former short-track rivals Greg Scheidecker and Bill Rozhon created seven years ago.
The series foundation is the consistent enforcement of a limited rules package that encourages close, crowd-pleasing competition and both the race fans and race teams have responded favorably. The 2012 season-ending race in Las Vegas had a series-record 48 entries trying to qualify for a 26-car field and that momentum has carried over into the new season.
There were 33 cars vying for 22 starting spots in the opening race at Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, March 2; 29 cars trying for 22 spots at Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway in Blythe, California, April 6; and 42 to compete for 26 grid positions in Las Vegas May 5. That's an average of 34-plus cars per event, up from an average of 26 last season.
Those cars are coming from all over the West, with regular entries from Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California and New Mexico, and that has been partially responsible for the series expansion. The Lucas Oil Modifieds will make their first visit to Utah's 3/8-mile Rocky Mountain Raceways on June 15 and return to the fast 1/2-mile at Irwindale (California) Events Center August 17, and talks are proceeding for a possible return to Tucson, Arizona, next year.
The cars are well-prepared and the competition intense, too. Last season there were just three main event winners, with two-time champion Jim Mardis making it a trio by capturing the season finale. So far this season there have been three different main event winners (Chris Gerchman, Mardis and Dylan Kwasniewski), three different fast qualifiers (Doug Hamm, Mardis and Kwasniewski) and three different BILSTEIN Trophy Dash winners (Jason Patison, Roger Brown and Mardis). Just for good measure, eight different drivers have been on the podium after the three races.
The future looks extremely bright and exciting.
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart is supported by a potent marketing concept known as "Team Lucas" whose members include Lucas Oil Products Inc., E3 Spark Plugs, General Tire, GEICO, Canidae All Natural Pet Food, MAVTV-American Real, Speedco Truck Lube and Tire, Optima Batteries and LoanMart.
Additional sponsorship is provided by BILSTEIN Shock Absorbers, K&N Filters, Hoosier Tire West, Budweiser, Blue Water Resort and Casino, Sunoco Race Fuels, Frank's Radio, Racing Plus, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Aero Racing Wheels, DJ Safety, ASI Racewear and Protect the Harvest.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
The remaining schedule for the Lucas Oil Modifieds Series presented by LoanMart:
June 15 – BILSTEIN Shocks Great Salt Lake 75 presented by GEICO, at Rocky Mountain Raceways, West Valley, Utah
July 20 – ProtectTheHarvest.com Summer 75 presented by MAVTV American Real, at Madera Speedway, Madera, California
August 17 – LoanMart Hot August 75 presented by AERO Race Wheels, at Irwindale (California) Events Center
September 28 – Topless 100 presented by Canidae All Natural Pet Foods, at Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway, Blythe, California
October 19 – Speedco Truck Lube & Tires 75 presented by K&N Filters, at Havasu 95 Speedway, Lake Havasu City, Arizona
November 16 – Lucas Oil West Coast Short Track Championship presented by General Tire, at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway