Corona, California (February 6, 2017) – There are a lot of phrases in our language that just don't seem to go together, like open secret, living dead, deafening silence and the ever-popular jumbo shrimp.
Affordable racing belongs on that list too. Any racing series director or track promoter can tell you that in a sport where going fast usually means spending more money it's an ongoing challenge to find ways to hold costs down for the competitors.
Officials of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by GEICO have taken a couple of giant steps in that direction, however, by reducing entry fees and increasing prize money for the 2017 season.
Entry fees for the 8-weekend, 13-race championship season have been reduced by 30 percent and prize money has been increased by 15 percent for all four Pro classes in what series director Ritchie Lewis said is an effort to make it a little easier for the racers to showcase their talents.
"The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is continuing to do its part to help our teams with their annual budgets," Lewis said. "We listened to our teams and we worked through a lot of ideas to help them with their weekend expenses. We're showing our support with the reductions in entry fees and the boosts in purses, and we've also trimmed costs through the elimination of hot pit and spotters stand fees.
"We sincerely appreciate all that our teams do and we hope these changes will help everyone have a great season."
The restructured entry fees for Pro 2 and Pro 4 are $980 for 2-day weekend events or $490 for the single-day events at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, Nevada, August 26 and Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, California, September 16.
Pro Lites will get in for $630 or $315 and Pro Buggies for $490 or $245. It's $300 or $150 for the new Production 1000 UTV class and $250 or $125 for the Modified, Jr. 1 and Jr. 2 Karts.
In the improved purse structure the payoffs for the top three finishers in each round of Pro 2 and Pro 4 will be $2,415 for first, $1,725 for second and $1,265 for third, scaling down from there to $100 for 11th-place and beyond.
The Pro Lites podium visitors will get $1,265 to win, $920 to place and $805 to show and for Pro Buggy it's $1,150, $862.50 and $747.50, with both those classes also paying $100 to those finishing 11th or lower.
Production 1000 entrants will take home $500 for first, $450 for second and $400 for third, down to $100 for ninth and lower, and all three Kart classes will earn $375 for a win, $250 for second and $175 for third, with the Mod Karts getting $50 and Jr. 1 and Jr. 2 $25 for sixth and beyond.
The race purses only make up a portion of the compensation drivers can earn for the season, though. There's also a championship points fund that offers cash awards to the top 10 in each class at season's end, with the number of participants in each class factored into the prize money totals.
The Pro 2 champion will get an $8,460 share of a $47,000 pool and the Pro Lite titlist will get $5,400 from a $30,000 pool. The payouts are the same for Pro 4 and Pro Buggy, $5,040 to the champions and $28,000 totals.
In the Production 1000 UTV class the title-holder will take home $2,160 from a $12,000 pool. The Modified Kart champion will get $1,440 of the $8,000 total, and the Jr. 1 and Jr. 2 winners each will take $900 from those $5,000 pools.
In addition to addressing concerns about financial issues series officials have responded to another request by many of the teams for more track time by adding a third round of practice each race weekend.
The extra practice session will be added to the two practices normally held the day before race day. Those practices will be on Thursday at Lake Elsinore (California) Motorsports Park, where the season opens with racing on Friday and Saturday, March 24-25, and on Fridays for all other events on schedule.