East Bay, big-purse races highlight Lucas Oil's slate
Kicking off with Florida Speedweeks at East Bay Raceway Park and featuring four traditional events paying at least $30,000 to the winner, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series released its 2010 schedule on Friday, a slate with 41 dates in 19 states.
The schedule for the sixth year of the series also includes first-ever visits to three tracks: Beckley (W.Va.) Motor Speedway, Wythe Raceway in Rural Retreat, Va., Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway and 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. Most of 2010 venues appeared on the 2009 series schedule while Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va., and West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells, W.Va., are among tracks returning to the schedule.
"We are blessed to sanction events at really great tracks every year, and 2010 looks to be no exception" series director Ritchie Lewis said in a series release.
The Lucas Oil schedule kicks off with a bang in February with six straight events at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla., highlighted by a $12,000-to-win finale at the third-mile oval near Tampa.
Later in the season, the tour also includes some of Dirt Late Model racing's richest events, including the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. ($30,000); the Comp Cams Topless 100 at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway ($40,000); the Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky. ($50,000); and the 42nd annual Hillbilly 100 ($42,000), which moves to West Virginia Motor Speedway after running a dozen years at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va.
Lucas Oil Speedway's Diamond Nationals, previously held in mid-May, has shifted to Memorial Day weekend for 2010, the holiday weekend that West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway has scheduled its Show-Me 100 for 17 years. (The Show-Me 100 was sanctioned by Lucas Oil last year). West Plains owners Don and Billie Gibson, who put their track up for sale in '08 with plans to retire from promoting, are negotiating to sell the Show-Me 100 name to the Lucas Oil Series, the track and series said. "We will be running at Wheatland that weekend, and it could very well still be the Show-Me 100 at Wheatland," Lewis said in a phone interview. "We've made them an offer on the name of the race, and have had very positive negotiations with them about things."
Lucas Oil has also scheduled its third annual Road to Wheatland, a program providing bonuses to drivers who keep perfect series attendance starting at East Bay through Lucas Oil Speedway's Diamond Nationals.
The Lucas Oil tour had 22 winners in 40 events in 2009 with Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist winning the championship. The Mooresburg, Tenn., driver has said he'll return to defend his title in 2010. Overall, the series drew more than 600 drivers to series events in '09 and had more than a dozen full-time competitors.
2010 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule
Feb. 1, East Bay Raceway Park, Gibsonton, Fla., $5,000
April 23, Bedford (Pa.) Speedway, $10,000
Oct. 9, Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, Ga., $10,000
Oct. 10, Rome (Ga.) International Speedway, $10,000
Editor's note: Clarifies with details about the Diamond Nationals and Show-Me 100; adds Brownstown's March event.