The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series heads to Missouri this weekend to race at Lucas’s namesake track for the first time.
It’s been three years since series drivers had the chance to do battle on an all-new track, and a decade since Wheatland, Mo. hosted a short course off road race. The clock resets on both this weekend as the series heads to the newly constructed off road track at Lucas Oil Speedway. And that track will be unlike anything the off road racers have seen before.
“It’s basically three racetracks in one,” says Ritchie Lewis, the series director. “It’s got some big high-speed stuff, Sone Reno-style big sweepers. It’s got a big Daytona turn on it – this thing is huge. It’s got jumps that mirror the tallest jumps that have ever been in off road. It’s got a gnarly rhythm section and it’s got a crossover where the cars go under and jump over.”
Laid out by Lewis and Gary Hubert, who has built many of the tracks on which the series races, the track is the longest on the schedule and features nine turns. Aside from the crossover, the track’s signature feature is a big-radius, steeply banked turn that leads into a massive jump – longtime fans will remember the big jump at Primm, Nev., and this one mirrors that tabletop. Then just as the trucks land and the suspension is into a good compression, there’s a tight left-hand turn, similar to the step-up at Lake Elsinore – although not as dramatic, Lewis notes.
“We feel like we’ve got a really good track. We look forward to showcasing more of the mindset of how Lucas Oil thinks and builds and does things wen we own the property. There are limitations when you have leases or partnerships and it limits how deep you want to dig in,” Lewis says.
Fans and crews will appreciate the covered grandstands, along with a lot of the other amenities that come with a permanent motorsports facility. The track also affords a unique opportunity to the teams and fans with its short track dirt oval racetrack that will host several weekly racing series on Saturday night that teams and ticketholders can attend. Other facilities include fishing ponds – the lake built for drag boat racing is also stocked.
“Off road is a big part of Lucas Oil. But we’re into so many other things as well that it sometimes gets lost from this group. So it will be cool to see the drag boat track and the Saturday night racing,” says Lewis.
Lucas Oil announced a tow fund last year for drivers making the long trek from their mostly Southern California and Nevada bases. But the race is also expected to draw some drivers from the Midwest as well. Chad Hord is slated to be there in a Lucas Oil-sponsored Pro 4, and former series regular Kyle Hart is expected to make his return as well.
Gates open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For those who can’t be there in person, you can catch it live on LucasOilRacing.tv, or the delayed broadcasts on CBS Sports Network and MAVTV.