It’s been talked about for years. It took 18 months to actually build. And now, a long time coming, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series finally made its debut in the Midwest at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. And the Geico Off-Road Shootout Presented by General Tire was filled with action.
During the Pro-2 race, Kyle Hart was battling door to door with Rodrigo Ampudia. Ampudia made a hard landing and Hart was sent flying into the air. Both drivers were okay, with minor injuries. Kyle LeDuc had a hard weekend in the Pro-4 class with mechanical issues both days. That would open the door for Carl Renezeder to put his gold truck on the podium in Round 7. The next day, Doug Mittag got redemption, taking the top spot on the podium after an on-track altercation and black flag in Round 7. Pro Lite is always a tough class to win. The number 77 of Jerett Brooks was way out front in Round 7 making up time with each flight of the ski jump. He was not so lucky the next day, as Brandon Arthur worked his way up fighting through the pack to win. In the premiere Pro-2 class, Metal Mulisha General Brian Deegan led the field to a checkered flag in Round 7. In Round 8 there were a few lead changes. Jeremy McGrath sat quietly in the middle of the pack, striking on the last lap for the win. Darren Hardesty swept the weekend in Pro Buggy.
Owned by Forrest Lucas, the land wasn’t always a racing facility. It started life as a soybean field nestled in the middle of nowhere, near the town of Wheatland, which boasts just over 300 residents. Wheatland residents Ron and Mary Jenkins turned the field into a dirt oval track in 2001. A few years later, Forrest Lucas bought the property and invested millions of dollars into it. He started with improving the dirt oval and adding a bar, restaurant, gift shop, and suites. Next, work began on a world-class drag boat racing lake that has seen some of the top racing speeds in the country.
Then the off-road track was born: a 1.3-mile track with high speed jumps, turns, and an over-under bridge, the likes of which are seen on no other off-road track in the series. A large ski jump on the back side of the track sent trucks flying into the air.
Apparently events at Lucas Oil Speedway are a big deal for the state of Missouri. Lieutenant Governor Michael Parson took time out of his busy political schedule to get the crowd fired up and say those famous words in motorsports: “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!” Parsons grew up near the Speedway and has always supported Forrest Lucas and his endeavors around the state.
As one of few off-road races in the area under the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series banner, the Geico Off-Road Shootout Presented by General Tire was an exciting inaugural event, and we’ll be sure to come back next year.