CORONA, Calif. – Greg Scheidecker, Bill Rozhon and Alan Brown have spent a lot of time lately talking about rough driving in the Lucas Oil Modified Series.
It’s not a new subject for the three men. They’ve been around auto racing most of their lives, they’ve heard every excuse ever uttered by one driver to explain why he or she ran into another during a race, and they’ve offered a few excuses themselves.
They also understand that whenever two drivers are fighting for position the accidental “that’s racing” kind of contact can occur despite the best efforts to avoid it.
Their concern is with the increasing number of rough driving incidents that are occurring in the Lucas Oil Modified Series and the negative effects there could be on a series they conceived and nurtured into the best regional touring series in the country.
“We’ve got to watch it,” said Rozhon, who is both the series’ competition director and the promoter of Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. “We’ve got a group of guys who have been really good with each other for a long time, but now it seems like a rash of drivers have showed up who think using the bumper is more important than racing.
“If we allow guys to start beating and banging on the other guy, that’s not racing. What I tell them is if you’ve got enough talent to run into somebody you’ve got enough talent to drive around them.
“We’ve got a good series. We don’t need cars getting torn up because one guy doesn’t have the talent or the brains to drive around somebody.”
The issue reached a flashpoint a month ago after several incidents during and immediately after a race at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the aftermath series officials placed four drivers on probation, fined one for retaliation and announced a reciprocal agreement between the Lucas Oil Modified Series, its track promoters and the North State Modified Series to honor all disciplinary actions taken by any member of the group.
At the same time they applauded driver Scott Winters for taking some “very aggressive moves to avoid a major incident” and prevent a multi-car accident.
“We have to draw a line in the sand some place,” said Scheidecker, the series promoter. “We’ve had numerous drivers come to us and complain about different situations that have happened in races.
“Bill and Brownie (the technical director) and I have had numerous conversations about the pushing and shoving and why it’s happening. What’s causing it obviously is the tight qualifying times and the hard, competitive racing. It’s not always up front, either. If you’re running mid-pack you can be racing just as hard if not harder than the guys in front.
“We don’t want to sit on them so hard they can’t race, but we can’t let rough, aggressive driving get out of control and it has gradually become more and more of an issue.”