LUCAS OIL MODIFIEDS TO DEBUT DOUBLE FILE RESTARTS AT LAS VEGAS
BY DAVE GRAYSON
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by 1 800 Loan Mart, will be bringing their high energy open wheel brand of racing to the always challenging Las Vegas Bullring this Saturday night, May 12th. When the green flag falls on the E3 Spark Plugs/GEICO 75, there will be a lot of noteworthy story lines to keep track of. Chief among them is the series’ debut of the double file restart concept.
Double file restarts is a concept that series officials have been discussing since last year according to series promoter Greg Scheidecker. “This is the very first time our series will be employing the double file restarts,” he said adding “I’m working very close with Tim Richter, the Race Director at the Las Vegas Bullring, to put a program together that we are very comfortable with for our modified guys. We wanted to debut the double file restarts at the Las Vegas Bullring because the three eighths of a mile track size is a perfect fit for the concept. We just didn’t feel like it would have been a good idea to launch this project on one of the smaller tracks the series races on until our guys are geared up for it.”
Series Race Director Bill Rozhon said “we spent a lot of time talking about the double file restarts. Greg, Brownie, (Head Tech Inspector Alan Brown), and myself are like a bunch of old hens who worry about our kids out there. The double file restart is something I don’t fully understand myself, but I think it will be good. I think our guys are more than up to speed on it regarding the concept and I think it will add more excitement to our racing.”
While the new restart procedure is certainly going to be a high profile story line to Saturday night at the Bullring, there will be plenty of other aspects to the E3 Spark Plugs/GEICO 75 that will also bear attention. Because the Bullring is the largest speedway on the series’ schedule, some of the teams will opt to install larger engines in their cars. Some of the teams will even exercise the option of using alcohol based fuel. That could lead to a fuel mileage issue. The series’ promotes it races as being 75 full green flag laps, with yellow caution laps not counted. It would not be the first time that the outcome of a modified race at this track was altered due to a car running out of fuel. A higher than usual amount of caution flags in this race could become a crew chief’s worst nightmare.
The numbers associated with the E3 Spark Plugs/GEICO 75 are also quite good. This race comes with a $10,000 purse with $1,500 of that going to the winner. 24 cars will start the race with a guaranteed $300 for just taking the green flag. The car count for the series’ first two events of the season has been rock solid. Bill Rozhon believes that the numbers associated with the Las Vegas event are going to attract even more teams and predicted that well over 30 cars will be there.
But the apex of this regional touring series is the winner’s share of the season ending Hoosier Tire West championship points fund. Going into Saturday night Austin Barnes leads the championship standings with 106 points based on a feature win and a second place finish.
Commenting on preparing for the upcoming Las Vegas Bullring event, Barnes said “we’re going to tape up every hole we can find and then use all of the brake duct and cooling pads we can find because at that track you will be doing everything from 160 MPH on the straights down to about 70 MPH on the turns. It’s almost like stopping. You really have to have the brakes at this track. It’s really going to be an endurance race and there’s the possibility that some teams running alcohol might run out of gas.”
Commenting on his first look at double file restarts, Barnes said “I imagine there’s going to be some big wreck somewhere during this race so we’re going to have to try and make sure we’re somewhere near the front because I’m sure there’s the possibility that a lot of cars could get collected.”
Chris Gerchman will be making his usual airline flight from his Texas residence to race his family owned modified at Las Vegas Saturday night. Gerchman, who won the series’ second race of the season, is currently ranked second in the points and only six markers out of first. Commenting on preparing for the Bullring, he said “we’re going to take the car to the shop and change out rear end gears. Then we’ll try to do a few other things to help the cooling and the aero. That’s what it takes to get things going for that track.”
The one driver that’s really looking forward to the series’ return to the Bullring is Las Vegas native Doug “Hound Dog” Hamm. This driver knows every square inch of his home track like he knows his name and address. He’s had a significant measure of success there. With a pair of top five finishes from the first two races of the year, Hamm is currently third in the standings only 14 points from the top. Commenting of the upcoming Las Vegas event, Hamm said “we’re going to have to work on the car a little bit and plan to change to the bigger motor. The double file restarts are going to be brand new to everybody. Let’s just hope that, with whatever they decide to do with it, we learn it quickly and then go back to the serious business of putting on a show for our fans.”
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by 1 800 Loan Mart, has always been a fan favorite because of the high quality, wheel to wheel racing, action. More of the same is expected this Saturday night when the green flag falls on the E3 Spark Plugs/GEICO 75. For more information, including the procedure for the double file restarts, dial up their official website at www.lucasoilmodifieds.com.
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by 1800 Loan Mart, is powered by a highly potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas.” Team members include Lucas Oil Products Inc, E3 Spark Plugs, General Tire, GEICO, CANIDAE All Natural Pet Food, MAV TV, Speedco Truck Lube and Tire/Firestone and Optima Batteries.
The series is also strongly supported by a group of associate sponsors featuring Eibach Springs, Hoosier Tire West, Budweiser, Blue Water Resort and Casino, Sunoco Race Fuels, Frank’s Radio, Racing Plus, Dart Machinery LTD, Go Pro Cameras and 1 800 Loan Mart.