Corona, California (June 2, 2017) – Hello, welcome. It's good to have you along. Climb in and get comfortable. Look through that stack of CDs and pick out some good traveling music.
Be sure to get that great new one, Off Road to Wheatland by the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series officials. Slide that in and crank it up loud. Now fasten your seat belt and sit back. We're going on the road again.
The trip, to Wheatland, Missouri, is the one drivers and teams who compete in the ultra-competitive Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series will be making in a few weeks for the GEICO Off-Road Shootout presented by General Tire July 21-23 at Lucas Oil Speedway.
The event, on a new track unlike any the racers have seen in the series' nine-year history, already promised to be a special one, but Lucas Oil is making it even more so by introducing the Lucas Oil Off Road to Wheatland Tow Money program.
The race track in southwest Missouri is about 1,700 miles from southern California, 1,500 miles from Las Vegas and 1,300 miles from Phoenix, Arizona, the three areas where most of the teams are based. It will be the longest trip most of the teams have made (a week or more away from home for some) and the most expensive.
That's why series director Ritchie Lewis got together with Lucas Oil officials to create the unbelievably generous Off Road to Wheatland Tow Money program.
"On behalf of Forrest and Charlotte Lucas and the entire Lucas Oil team, we want to welcome everyone to the brand new Off Road Short Course at Lucas Oil Speedway," Lewis said. "The work that's been done by Gary Hubert and (general manager) Dan Robinson and their teams has been miraculous
"Our goal from the very beginning has been to host a world-class Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event, while also introducing the local community to the Production 1000 UTV and Mod Kart classes with an eye to eventually hosting local and regional Off Road Clubs."
The Lucas Oil Off Road to Wheatland Tow Money program will pay $1,500 to each team competing in Pro 2, Pro 4, Pro Buggy and Pro Lite and $1,000 to each team in the Modified Kart and Production 1000 UTV classes.
Lewis and company didn't stop there, however. They've announced that teams competing in two or more classes will get tow money for each class. And to add interest to an already world-class event they are offering the same tow money packages to qualified entrants from short course series in the Midwest and East.
The only requirements are that drivers and crew members have a current LOORRS competition license, the vehicle adheres to LOORRS rules, and approved Lucas Oil Off Road to Wheatland and LOORRS decals are prominently displayed on the race vehicle throughout the event.
"The Lucas Oil Off Road to Wheatland Tow Money program is an incentive program that will help every short course team compete with the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Lucas Oil Speedway," Lewis said. "That's why we're offering this incentive to all short course racers. The tow money incentive will be in addition to their race earnings, thanks to Lucas Oil Products and our Team Lucas partners. Anyone who hasn't registered can do it on-line at Lucasoiloffroad.com.
"We also want to encourage the teams to get ready for some serious television time that weekend because our award-winning Lucas Oil Production Studio team will be at Lucas Oil Speedway to cover this momentous event LIVE for LucasOilRacing.TV, CBS, CBS Sports and the extremely popular MAVTV.
"This West Coast versus the Nation mega race really is a must-see event. It's a bucket list event for some people and for others it's a way of life!"
What's that you're asking? Where's Wheatland and how do we get there? Well, it's a couple of hours southeast of Kansas City and about an hour north of Springfield. It would be nice to go through Kansas City and get some barbecue at Arthur Bryant's or some fried chicken at Stroud's, but that's out of our way.
We're going to follow the same route the Rams did when they moved out of St. Louis last year. You know, the one they wrote the song about that "winds from Chicago to LA, more than 2,000 miles all the way." They used to call it Route 66 and it's Interstate 40 now but it's all the same – "you'll see Amarillo; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino ..."
I'm pretty sure that's on one of those CDs and we can play that a few times, too. It's going to be a long drive, but it will be worth it, for sure.