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Forrest Lucas eager to expand IndyCar reach
Lucas is the co-founder of Lucas Oil, which among other things has the naming rights to the Indianapolis Colts’ football stadium. He has a long history of involvement in racing, from sponsoring race teams and building tracks to sponsoring races and creating racing television programming.
“I think it’s very important that we have American names out there again,” Lucas said. “We still need to have a little Formula One and some of that atmosphere to it, but it needs to be an American company for people here to root for it because people are watching to see their guy win.”
Part of the program focused on Lucas‘ patriotism. The U.S. flag has been a part of the Lucas Oil shield since it was created in 1989 and the company’s branding statement is “American Real.” Lucas hopes he can play a part in bringing U.S. fans back to IndyCar racing.
“I think Indy racing kind of got off track years ago,” he said. “Americans stopped watching Indy racing. They started watching NASCAR and NHRA and things like that, so I think it’s very important that we have the Americans back in it, and it’s extremely important that we’re getting a lot of traction here.”
Lucas also owns MAVTV, which has naming rights for the IndyCar race in Fontana, Calif. American driver Ed Carpenter won the 2012 race, Hunter-Reay finished fourth, American Graham Rahal was sixth and another U.S. driver, Marco Andretti, was eighth. MAVTV has naming rights for two more years.
“In a time when motorsports are a little down, we are going forward just full bore,” Lucas Oil spokesman Stuart Rowlands said.
Lucas explained that television is facing an uncertain future.
“There’s a huge flux in television,” he said. “Nobody really knows where it’s going. Everybody’s guessing and betting, and there’s going to be a lot of people with their handhelds.”
Rowlands said Lucas Oil Network would immediately increase the company’s reach.
“They’re trying as hard as they can and this is the obvious way to do it,” he said. “If we can’t build the racetracks over there and there’s no local television or cable networks, hey, if you can show your product on the internet, you can watch it on the computer.”
Lucas expects MAVTV to remain successful, but he’s preparing for the day that television becomes less prominent.
By John R. Bolton
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