In 2009, Lucas Oil stepped up and created the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series after the demise of Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) when it closed its doors in 2008. At the time CORR was the sanctioning body for off-road racing in the United States.
K&N has been a major sponsor of LOORS since just about the beginning of the series
“Forrest Lucas, the founder of Lucas Oil, didn’t want to see hundreds of off-road racing teams without a series. So he joined forces with Tony Vanillo, a veteran off-road racer, chassis builder, and series director, and started the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series,” explained Alex Striler, Director of Sales and Marketing for Lucas Oil and Director of Team Lucas.
According to Striler, Lucas tapped into Vanillo’s experience and connections in the off-road industry and Vanillo was given access to Lucas’ resources.
“At the time, Lucas Oil owned several different racing series and had already been creating content for television networks that covered racing including Versus, ESPN, and Speed Channel,” said Striler.
Vanillo used his knowledge of the industry to gather experienced directors and technical personnel including Lee Perfect, Gary Lane, and Tommy Morris. This group adopted many of the rules and procedures followed by CORR.
Promotion of the new series relied exclusively on word-of-mouth and yet the story of the new organization spread like wildfire.
Along with track signage, K&N gets TV air time on NBC Sports, CBS, CBS Sports, MAVTV, and more
“Early on the base of support for the organization were the fans of the racing teams that had previously raced for CORR,” said Striler. “The sponsors then followed the fans.”
Within a year, companies including K&N, Rockstar Energy Drink, Toyota, General Tire, and GEICO started supporting the series. K&N and Lucas Oil also just announced that they will continue their partnership through 2017.
“K&N has been involved with the series and most of the teams from the very beginning,” said Striler. “K&N Filters and Lucas Oil are perfect partners because when you change oil you also have to change your oil filter. Moreover, off-roaders need to clean their air filters more frequently than commuters who only drive on pavement.”
As the series grew, Lucas Oil began building tracks. According to Striler, Vanillo designed the Lake Elsinore, California, track to appeal to the motocross fans of the Inland Empire. The Reno, Nevada, track that he designed featured high banking berms that cut into the hillside.
“We experimented with different tracks and ideas,” noted Striler, “but not all of them worked. The track at Primm, where we raced once in the early days, was too windy and didn’t attract a lot of spectators. The track in Surprise, Arizona, where we raced for a few years, went out of business. We thought about racing at Pala for fans in San Diego, but the small road going to the raceway has switchbacks and turns that are too tight for 18-wheelers or large motorhomes pulling a long trailer. We also looked at property in San Angelo, Texas, but there is still some debate on whether or not the teams will make the long haul without additional sponsor funding. Today, Ritchie Lewis is running the series and he’s building a new dirt track at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. It’s in the middle of the country, so teams from all over can race. After Wheatland is finished, Ritchie’s goal is to keep expanding into new areas.”
Bird's eye view of the new Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series track in Wheatland, Missouri
Striler points out that the goal of Lucas Oil is to make the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series a household name.
To help with that, a movie called DIRT, will soon open around the country. A full-length feature film starring Kevin Dillon, it is based on the off-road racing series.
K&N has a lot of exposure in the movie because the K&N logo is on all the winning trucks, noted Striler.
“While we made the movie to promote the Lucas Oil Racing Series, it’s also one way for us to say ‘thank you’ to our sponsors. All the brands who support us are featured in the movie,” continued Striler.
According to Striler, a major goal of the series is to let consumers know what companies support racing so they can support those companies.
As Lucas Oil expands internationally, like Estero Beach, Mexico, K&N will be along for the ride
He also noted that many of the sponsors including K&N are part of a program called Team Lucas.
“Team Lucas is a marketing co-op in which we put on more than 400 different events a year including the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series,” continued Striler. “We create over 300 hours of network television. Our Team Lucas shows are now aired on NBC Sports, CBS, CBS Sports, MAVTV Motorsports Network, and the Lucas Oil Racing TV Network.”
Team Lucas programs reach millions of race fans every year. As a result, Lucas Oil’s product sales are at an all-time high.
“Our audience is a middle-class do-it-yourselfer who likes to tune up his car and change his own oil, filters, and plugs. He buys Lucas Oil because he’s willing to make the investment in a premium brand that will extend the life of his vehicle.
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series events are held at seven tracks – Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino, California; Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, Lake Elsinore, California; Wild West Motorsports Park, Sparks, Nevada; Utah Motorsports Campus, Tooele, Utah; Wild Horse Motorsports Park, Chandler, Arizona; Estero Beach, Ensenada, Mexico; Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Missouri.
The 2017 Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series Schedule
K&N also sponsors several LOORS racers, like #24 Bradley Morris
• April 22-23 Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ.
• May 20-21 Estero Beach Resort, Ensenada, MX
• June 24-25 Utah Motorsports Campus, Tooele, UT
• July 22-23 Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, MO
• August 26-27 Wild West Motorsports Park, Sparks, NV
• September 15-16 Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino, CA
• October 21-22 Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ