CORONA, California – When the three men who created the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart get tired of putting on auto races they might have futures as event planners.
Just look at the way they’re celebrating the 10th anniversary season of the West’s fastest-growing and most competitive touring series.
There are 10 points races to determine the champion driver and two other lucrative non-points events;
There is the continuing support of LoanMart and the other superb Team Lucas and series sponsors;
There will be television for all 12 events thanks to MAVTV American Real, which will have them all recorded by a superb production team for broadcasting at a later date;
There will be more money in the race purses, more in an expanded tow-money program and much more in the Hoosier Tire West Points Fund, which will double the champion driver’s payoff to $5,000;
There will be a new points system to determine the series’ 10th champion, one that places more emphasis on winning and lessens the potential damage a poor finish can do to a driver’s position in the standings;
There has been attention paid to race procedures, technical issues and other aspects of the series, too, and as a result promoter Greg Scheidecker is “more excited than I’ve ever been about starting a new season.”
There also is work being done off the track between Scheidecker, LoanMart Madera Speedway promoter Kenny Shepherd, North State Modified Series founder Jeff Stephens and others to standardize the rules and create big events with the still-affordable Lucas Oil Modifieds as the star attraction.
“It makes perfect sense for each of the tracks to help in any way we can,” Shepherd said January 10 during the 2014 Awards Banquet at the BlueWater Resort and Casino in Parker, Arizona. “Everyone needs to be on the same set of rules.
“It’s about creating an event (with racing as the centerpiece and other activities in support). Then we can go after other sports fans and market the living daylights out of those events.”
Shepherd, who developed the Twisted Tea Modified series into a staple of his schedule in Madera, is doing his part. His track will play host to the Lucas Oil Modifieds twice this season, on June 6 and October 10, with the second race paying a season-best $7,777 to the winner.
There are several other lucrative stops, too – $2,000 to win at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah July 25, $3,000 for a victory at Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, California, August 29, $3,000 for a win in the final points race at Havasu 95 Speedway in Arizona November 7, $4,000 to win in the non-points Winter Showdown at Kern County (California) Raceway February 28 and $4,000 to win the season-ending Race of Champions at Las Vegas November 21.
In addition Lucas Oil has added $1,000 to the purse of each race, the money to be distributed among the drivers finishing third through 12th, and the tow money program that helps the teams pay travel costs has been expanded from the top 20 to the top 24 in the standings. The Trophy Dash has been eliminated and the prize money from that used to increase the payoff to the winner of the B main from $300 to $500.
There’s a bigger pot at the end of the rainbow as well, thanks to Hoosier Tire. The long-time series sponsor and tire supplier has added a total of $6,000 to the points fund, increasing that to more than $13,500 to be distributed to the top 15 in the standings at season’s end.
The point system that has been in use since the series began in 2006 has been scrapped. In its place is a system that better rewards winning or running up front and makes a subpar finish less damaging.
The previous format awarded 50 points to the race winner, 48 to second place, 46 for third and so on, down to a minimum of 8 points. Unfortunately, that resulted in those who finished their night after the B main scoring as many points as someone who finished 22nd in the main event.
This year, a race winner will get 75 points and second place will receive 70 points. Each position after that will get 2 points less down to 14 points for 30th in a main event. The top five in the B main will score points on a 12-10-8-6-4 basis and all others will get 2 points.
The bonus point format is under review as well. That decision will be announced at the appropriate time, as will decisions on any changes in race procedures or technical issues.
“The rules will be pretty much the same,” Scheidecker said, “but we’ve added people to the tech crew (Chuck Taylor for body issues and Andy Lawler for running gears, rear ends, etc.) so we can do a better job of enforcing everything.
“This is going to be our 10th season and I can’t believe how far we’ve come in such a short time. Obviously we couldn’t have done it without the support and suggestions from all our terrific sponsors and the unbelievable professionalism of the best group of racers you’ll find anywhere.
“What I really have a hard time believing is that we’re just getting started.”
-Lucas Oil Modified Series Press Release