Forrest Lucas eager to expand IndyCar reach
With all due respect to the rest of the world, Forrest Lucas is
glad American Ryan Hunter-Reay won the IndyCar championship.
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.
Though his products are sold in 26 countries, Lucas couldn’t
have been happier when Hunter-Reay became the first American since
Sam Hornish in 2006 to win an IndyCar title.
”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.”
Lucas spoke during the ”Lunch with Lucas” program during the
International Motorsports Industry Show on Friday.
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
”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 June 2013, Lucas plans to launch Lucas Oil Network, an
Internet television network that will offer a heavy dose of racing
”In a time when motorsports are a little down, we are going
forward just full bore,” Lucas Oil spokesman Stuart Rowlands
Lucas explained that television is facing an uncertain
”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
”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
Lucas expects MAVTV to remain successful, but he’s preparing for
the day that television becomes less prominent.
”I wish everybody could watch television, but so many people
are going to quit watching television and start watching internet
television,” he said. ”We’re trying to cover all bases. We’re not
abandoning standard television, we’re just trying to get out there
and get the rest of it because we are a worldwide company and we
want to get more worldwide. We’re just trying to be good