The Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway, presented by Next Era Energy Resources, will resume its 2014 Winter Blast Racing Series this Saturday night, January 25th. The quarter mile paved oval is located at the Colorado River Fairgrounds in Blythe-California. Due to the ongoing cold temperatures, this event will be a day time race. The spectator gates will open at 1pm with the green flag falling on the racing action at 2pm. Saturday's racing is sponsored by the locally owned Domino's Pizza.
Providing the red hot winter racing on track action will be the speedway's Street Stock and Pony Stock divisions which will run twin 25 lap main events. The NAPA Factory Stocks will also see action on this Saturday afternoon and will treat their fan base to twin 15 lap features. As a major change of pace, the BMX Bicycle Stunt Show will be making their annual appearance to amaze the fans with their aerial acrobatics.
Saturday is also the day to officially welcome Ronnie Hasler as the new Promoter of the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway. A born and raised member of the Blythe community, Hasler has been a prominent fixture all through the racing history of this speedway.
In 1997 Hasler and his lovely wife Brenda launched Blythe Freeway Towing. Through the combination of vision and hard work, the new business venture became a success. It wasn't long before Blythe Freeway Towing became the official wrecker service for the speedway, a position it still holds till this day.
Hasler is also extremely civic minded and never hesitates to join projects that promotes and enhances the community he lives in. This is especially true of his 23 year tenure with the Blythe Volunteer Fire Department, (BVFD), where he holds the rank of Captain. In addition to responding to emergency situations within the community, the BVFD also participates in a large variety of civic events such as their annual free Fourth of July Fireworks show. Back in the 1990's Hasler was one of the BVFD volunteers who acted as a liaison between the fire department and the speedway to create the emergency services program there.
To say that Ronnie Hasler is extremely excited about his new duties as speedway Promoter would be a major understatement. You can literally hear his excitement in his voice. "I want to remind everyone that an evening at the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway is three hours of affordable family fun and I want to be proud of what we have here in Blythe," he said adding "the encouragement I have already received from my fellow Blythe residents and the local businesses here has been overwhelming and I'm extremely grateful for that support."
Hasler's official schedule has been set for several months now for the current Winter Blast Racing Series season which runs through April 19th. That schedule includes special guest appearances by regional touring series such as the USAC Honda Ignite Midgets, the Gene Price Motorsports Late Model River Series, the Southwest Tour Trucks and the Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series.
"I truly respect and appreciate the presence of these regional touring series in our racing program and they will always be welcome here. However, I don't want to exclusively depend upon these special guest visits to fill our shows and our grandstands. My goal is to create incentives to show appreciation for our local racing teams and increase their numbers. I want them to think of our facility as their home track while providing them the respect they deserve. I want to encourage them to race here and encourage the fans to support our local drivers and teams," Hasler said.
One of Hasler's first moves at the speedway was to employ the same principal used to create the success of Blythe Freeway Towing: family participation. Ronnie and Brenda Hasler will be joined by their daughter Tiffanie, already the Office Manager for the towing company, and her husband Manuel Rios who is also a member of the BVFD. Also enhancing the speedway staff line up with be daughter Jennifer and her husband Robert Garcia along with daughter Natalie and her husband Chad Lewis who will be doing double duty at the track as the driver of the #18 in the NAPA Factory Stock division.
Hasler is a first hand witness to the history of racing in Blythe and the role Lucas Oil played in that process. In the late 1990's racing had been suspended there and there were reports that local fairground officials were considering removing the track and using the acres that it sat on for a project that would better enhance the revenue stream.
That's when Lucas Oil, and their Special Events Manager Greg Scheidecker, arrived in Blythe with an offer that was completely unexpected. Lucas Oil wanted to sign a five year lease to operate the speedway. The famed oil company, based in Corona-California, was famous for using a brand placement form of marketing that had served them well since the company's inception back in 1989. Lucas Oil sponsored every form of race track, race car and special motorsports events that you could name all over the country. The response, and the return on their investment, was both huge and immediate.
However, Scheidecker's Blythe proposal was unique and made many wonder why Lucas Oil wanted to actually operate and promote a race track. Scheidecker cleared up the mystery by saying: "everyone at Lucas Oil has known for quite some time that company founder Forrest Lucas wanted to own a race track someday. We decided to lease and operate a local short track and use it as a learning curve. We needed to learn exactly what it took to operate a race track, on a full time basis, so we would be ready when the company did buy a race track."
In the midst of the five year lease for what was now known as the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway, the company did indeed purchase a dirt track in Wheatland-Missouri. Based on lessons learned in Blythe, the Lucas Oil Speedway quickly became one of the premiere motorsports parks in the country.
At the time, many feared that Lucas Oil would leave the track in Blythe after the five year lease was up. After all, it was a case of mission accomplished: Lucas Oil was now an official race track owner. But, once again, Lucas Oil surprised everyone by a series of lease renewals. That was approximately 14 years ago and the Blythe learning curve is still going strong.
Recalling those days, Ronnie Hasler said: "Lucas Oil's arrival in Blythe was just huge for our community. Their presence here just simply cannot be measured. They are truly respected on a global basis. I've already discovered that if you just mention their name in a business meeting it becomes a case of what can I do for you? That company name alone opens doors and brings a whole new level of professionalism and integrity to a business meeting."
Meanwhile Greg Scheidecker was often regarded as being the oil company's multi tasking go to man. In addition to be the General Manager/Promoter of the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway, he was also the co-creator and General Manager of the Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, a wildly successful regional touring series that boasted high quality shows with healthy car counts, a highly potent sponsorship program and a national television package. When his company purchased the CORR, Championship Off Road Racing, Series, Scheidecker also became the Operations Manager for the newly named Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series which also became an instant, nationally televised, success. All of this activity was in addition to frequent company road trips to administer to the needs of many other company motorsports ventures.
It was approximately a year and a half ago when Lucas Oil decided to lighten Scheidecker's load by finding someone to take over the Promoter's duties at the race track in Blythe. That's when Scheidecker and Hasler started meeting and talking. Hasler presented the idea to his family and the Haslers quickly decided it was time to go racing on a very grand scale. u
Scheidecker was very pleased with their decision and said: "Ronnie Hasler's standing in the community of Blythe is impeccable. He's a well known successful businessman, he's very civic minded and he's very personable. Those three qualities by themselves creates the making of a good promoter. I've had the pleasure of working with Ronnie for many years now. There's no doubt in my mind that the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway is in very good hands."
On Saturday, Domino's Pizza, race day the general admission tickets are $10. Patrons can receive a two dollar discount on one general admission ticket by presenting your AAA card at the ticket gate. Tickets for seniors, military personnel and the handicapped are $8. Teen tickets, age 13 to 17, are $5. Palo Verde High School students can receive a one dollar discount by presenting their ASB cards at the ticket gate. Kids tickets, age six to 12, are $3 while kids five and under are admitted free. The speedway also offers a budget friendly family pack for $20 which admits two adults and two kids age 17 and under.
For out of town race teams and fans, the America's Best Value Inn is the official motel of the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway. Located at 850 West Hobsonway, they offer beautiful and spacious rooms at very affordable rates. For reservations call 760 922 5145 which can also be made online. Racing teams and fans are reminded to mention the discount code, Lucas Oil, when making reservations.
For more information regarding the Winter Blast Racing Series dial up the official website at I 10 speedway (dot) com or call Ronnie Hasler at 760 922 0333.