Wheatland is a town of 371, but the small Ozarks town plans to host 125 thousand race fans this season, highlighting the weekend competitions as the foundation of the sport of auto racing.
Wednesday Lucas Oil Speedway announced a full slate of events on asphault, dirt, water and the back of a bull.
“Not my idea, but I guess it’ll be good,” general manager Dan Robinson said. “I don’t know the first thing about putting on a bull ride, but I’m about to find out.”
The main event remains racing, and Lucas Oil has been a shining example of what a local track can accomplish.
“A good crowd, a good field of cars – they put on a good show,” veteran pro driver Ken Schrader said at Wednesday’ media luncheon. “Everybody comes down afterwards, you talk, you get to meet fans. Everybody leaves happy.”
Schrader and lifelong friend and Missouri-born driver Kenny Wallace will feature in the fifth annual MLRA Spring Nationals April 13 and 14. Wallace, 54, went to Schrader to learn how to drive on the dirt only three years ago.
“All these great kids who came from dirt racing here at Lucas Oil Speedway – now they’re big-time in NASCAR,” Wallace said. “I wanted to learn how to ride dirt, dammit!”
Wallace said without local, short-track racing, there is no NASCAR, echoing the sentiment from Monster Energy Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick after winning in Phoenix last Sunday.
“All the great racecar drivers in NASCAR today – or any big form of motorsports – they started at a racetrack at a place like Lucas Oil Speedway.”
Drivers will start their engines in Wheatland Saturday, April 7 for the weekly championship series opener.
Wednesday the speedway also announced the Show-Me 100 race will be televised live for the first time in its 26-year history. MAVTV Motorsports Network and LucasOilRacing.TV will showcase the the final night of the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series’s signature race May 26.