Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas March 27 was at the company’s dirt track speedway in Wheatland, Mo., where he discussed his career as an owner-operator and small fleet owner pre-deregulation.
Lucas said he bought his first truck when he was 21, and he and his wife, Charlotte, eventually expanded to 14 trucks, primarily as part of the couple’s moving company. During that time, he developed an oil additive and used it in his trucks.
After 53-foot trailers became standard, though, and he was strapped for cash and unable to afford newer equipment, “We had to choose to pursue the oil side of it,” Lucas said. He sold his trucks and trailers and founded Lucas Oil, marketing his products in truckstops.
The company has since expanded its offerings for automotive, motorcycle and marine applications, and Lucas revived his fleet to haul products to retail outlets and other distributors. He owns 60 trucks and about 100 trailers, he said, and still uses his trucks as experimental vehicles for products being developed for the heavy-duty market.
The Lucas Oil Speedway was acquired in 2004 as part of the company’s sponsorship in racing. Upon buying it, Lucas tore it down and rebuilt it into a 3/8-mile track with an adjacent go-kart track, car wash and parts store.
The company also constructed at the facility the country’s only lake built specifically for boat drag racing.