CORONA, Calif. — In the retail business they key might be location, location, location, but in auto racing the key is car count.
The more cars the better for the race tracks, sponsors, spectators and the racers, especially those in a regional touring series like the Lucas Oil Modified Series.
When they sat down to talk about possible changes for the 2014 season series promoter Greg Scheidecker, Race Director Bill Rozhon and Technical Director Alan Brown focused on maintaining or improving last season’s average of 30 cars per event.
“Keeping the car count up is the real issue,” Scheidecker said. “That’s what keeps our series alive. That’s what keeps track promoters interested in our series, the car count we bring and the entertainment value we bring.”
They addressed the issue by increasing the size of the main event starting fields for all 10 races on the schedule, increasing the K&N Filters tow money and Hoosier Tire West points fund bonuses, revising the format and purse structure for the B mains and adopting a format that will make more drivers eligible for the Bilstein Trophy Dashes.
Series officials discussed increasing the main event starting fields with the managers of the six tracks that host Lucas Oil modified races and got unanimous support for the idea.
As a result, the fields will increase by two cars at Havasu 95 Speedway (22 to 24) in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway (22 to 24) in Blythe, Calif.; LoanMart Madera Speedway (24 to 26) in Madera, Calif.; and Rocky Mountain Raceways (26 to 28) in West Valley City, Utah. There will be 28 starters at Tucson Speedway in Tucson, Ariz., which returns to the schedule, while The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will start 26 cars (up from 24) at its May event and 30 instead of 26 for the season-ending race in November. The Irwindale (Calif.) Events Center also is adding four cars to the field and will have 30 starters.
At every event the field will include four provisional starters based on the point standings and four cars from the revamped B mains, which will be either 20 or 40-lap races depending on the number of cars.
If there are 12 cars or more that fail to qualify on time the B main will be a 40-lap contest divided into two segments. The top four cars after 20 laps will pull off the track and transfer to the main event and the remaining cars will run another 20 laps. The winner of that segment taking home $300 and everyone getting at least $100.
With fewer than 12 cars the B main will 20 laps with the top four transferring and the fifth-place driver collecting $300. All of those not transferring also will get eight points in the Hoosier Tire West standings.
Those eight points could prove to be extremely valuable because Hoosier is adding money to the points fund bonuses which the drivers finishing 11th through 15th will receive at season’s end. The teams will also receive more in this year’s two-tier tow money program. Those in the K&N Filters Winner’s Circle, for the top 10 in the standings, will get a minimum of $250 per race, those in 11th through 20th will get $200, and those amounts will be doubled for the races at Tucson and Madera and tripled for the event in Utah.
The Bilstein Trophy Dash will have a different look, too. The fields for those six-lap races have been the fastest half-dozen cars in qualifying. This season it will be on a rotating basis – 1-6 for the opening race, 7-12 for the second, 13-18 for the third and so on, with the winner still getting $200 and two bonus points.This year, the tires that a driver races on at an event must be purchased at that event, and all Universal Product Codes will be checked during tech inspection before qualifying.