If they handed out track championships for miles traveled to race, Lucas Gibbs would be an instant contender at Lucas Oil Speedway. Each week during the season, Gibbs and team make a 500-mile round trip from Udall, Kansas, with their USRA Modified.
That means there are times he rolls into the driveway at home as the Sunday-morning sun is rising. But Gibbs said the grind is worthwhile.
"We're about 45 minutes south of Wichita," Gibbs said. "It's a long drive, but it's well worth it. We enjoy racing there. All the people, all the staff and the drivers. We're lucky to be able to race there."
Gibbs is eager to fire up a new Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series season in a few weeks. He's coming off a solid fifth-place points finish in the Pitts Homes USRA Modified division, which included four top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 12 attempts.
A new MB Customs car is about 75 percent completed, but Gibbs said he plans to open the new season in the MB Customs machine that he drove to a season-best third-place feature finish in last year's Lucas Oil Speedway weekly finale.
Overall, the season was probably Gibbs' best since he began racing Modifieds in 2013. He said regular mechanical input from Tommy McCoy, who also has helped Kansas racers Darren Fuqua and Lance Town, was key.
"We started off the year struggling pretty hard," Gibbs said. "We've never been that great (at Lucas). But Tommy came over and started helping and we kind of partnered up. It's been really good since then. We got a lot better, a lot more consistent - and the driver got a lot better in general.
"I'm really excited to get going," he said of a new season, which begins April 4. "We kept our old car and will start out with it. I'll probably practice with the new one on Test and Tune day (March 28). I'm really confident about starting a new year. I'm not cocky or anything, I'm just excited to see how we start."
The primary goal is to get into victory lane. Gibbs said chasing a points championship is not something that will consume him.
"I would look to try and win some races and we'll see where the points fall," he said. "I'm not a big points guy. If you get too wrapped up in the points, it can take the fun out of it."
Fun is how Gibbs describes the sensation of driving a USRA Modified, with its combination of big horsepower on 8-inch tires. He selected the No. 51 because that was the number his maternal grandfather, Lonnie Cooper, had when he raced.
"Not everybody can afford to run the Modified and I feel fortunate to be able to," Gibbs said. "It's very competitive and that's the main thing that interests me."
"My aunt and uncle, Missy and Matt Swiggart, have raced in the past," Gibbs added. "We've just always been a racing family. I started racing go-karts at about 7. It's something we've always done as a family and it's always kept me intrigued. Racing is always evolving.
"I have a lot of people who help me. My Mom and Dad (Jim and Brenda), sister Bailey, girlfriend Irene and aunts and uncles Vic and Barbara and Matt and Missy. They go when they can. They ride in a truck nine or 10 hours a week when they could be doing other things."
Team sponsors include Dynamic NC, TMR Technologies, Scott Bailey Racing Engines, Schaeffer Oil, Joe Archambeau, Dynamic Drivelines and Mel Hambelton Ford Racing.
The Lucas Oil Speedway season kicks off with the Open Test and Tune on March 28, with the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series opening night set for April 4 with action in all four divisions - Pitts Homes USRA Modified, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks.
Season passes for 2020, along with gift cards which can be redeemed in any department of the speedway, are now available. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at email@example.com for more information.