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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Lucas Oil Raceway retains key revenue stream with naming rights extension

March 11, 2016
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Lucas Oil Raceway will remain Lucas Oil Raceway—for at least a couple more years.

Officials for the facility once known as Indianapolis Raceway Park and O’Reilly Raceway Park this week extended the track’s naming rights deal with Lucas Oil Products.

Lucas Oil first put its name on the track just west of Indianapolis in January 2011.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Officials for the National Hot Rod Association, which owns the facility, said it’s a multi-year agreement. Lucas Oil Products founder Forrest Lucas said he recalls that it's a three-year deal with a value short of $1 million. Sports marketers estimated Lucas Oil is paying $300,000 annually to have its name on the storied track.

“This is a great deal for our company for a number of reasons,” Lucas told IBJ on Thursday. “A lot of it is about Indianapolis. We want the city to be successful. And that facility is a major drag racing facility in this country. We want it to be successful, and we want the NHRA and drag racing to be successful because it’s been a great marketing tool for us.”

Lucas said the naming rights deal is a natural fit because many drag racers and drag racing fans use Lucas Oil’s racing oil and additives. Lucas also manufactures products for street-legal vehicles.

“This deal is about more than selling oil to drag racers,” Lucas added. “That track holds some of the biggest events in drag racing, and we do a lot of networking and corporate entertaining there. We host a lot of parties and get a lot of business done there.”

The NHRA U.S. Nationals, held every year during the Labor Day weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway, is the oldest and most prestigious race in the NHRA. It draws tens of thousands of fans.

While the track is best known for hosting races on its 4,400-foot drag strip, it also has a 0.686-mile oval track and a 2.5-mile road course. The track formerly hosted a popular NASCAR Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) race the night before the Brickyard 400, but that moved to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2011, much to the chagrin of many area stock car racing fans.

Lucas Oil is headquartered in Corona, California, but Lucas is an Indiana native, and the company has a strong presence here.

In 2006, Lucas Oil signed a 20-year, $121 million deal to put its name on the Indianapolis Colts’ new home, which opened in 2008 and hosted the 2012 Super Bowl.

Lucas Oil's involvement with NHRA extends beyond the local track. The company is the primary sponsor of one NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota. Lucas Oil also provides primary sponsorship to several stars in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series—including Top Fuel drivers Richie Crampton and Morgan Lucas (Forrest’s son) and Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors Hector Arana and Hector Arana Jr.

In addition, Lucas Oil Products partners with John Force Racing as well as legendary Top Fuel racer Chris Karamesines. On top of that, the company is the series sponsor of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and provides sponsorship support to several  of its teams.

“Lucas Oil Products is a world class company and its full line of products are well known to the racing community,” Randy Simpson, general manager of Lucas Oil Raceway, said in a statement. “This extension will allow the facility to build upon our successful promotions and continue to present top flight events for fans who visit the facility from around the globe.”
 

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