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Forrest Lucas eager to expand IndyCar reach

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm •  Published: December 7, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — 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 IndyCar racing.

"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.

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