Lucas Oil re-signs with Gerhart for 12th straight season; starts at Daytona 2015

Lucas Oil re-signs with Gerhart for 12th straight season; starts at Daytona 2015

(TOLEDO, Ohio – December 10, 2014) – Bobby Gerhart Racing (BGR) has announced that it has re-signed Lucas Oil for the 2015 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.Gerhart Brothers discuss at Daytona

"The 2015 season marks our 12th year with Lucas Oil,” Bobby Gerhart said.

“We are very proud of our association with Lucas Oil and the success that we have enjoyed together at Daytona. We are looking forward to another strong effort in the 2015 Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real at Daytona."

“Another strong effort” is what most have come to expect from Gerhart when it comes to Daytona.

The Lebanon, Pennsylvania veteran, with his brother Bill Gerhart as Crew Chief, is the all-time winner at Daytona with eight victories among 10 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s. He is also atop the all-time ARCA lap leader total at Daytona, leading 518 laps overall in 14 races, the equivalent of 1,295 miles. His Daytona career marks also include four Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell.

“We’re shooting for our seventh win with Lucas Oil and ninth overall. We won three in a row twice with Lucas on the car. It’s been a great relationship, and we’re honored to bring it back for ’15.”

The Gerhart brothers have always attributed their success at the “World Center of Racing” to a vigorous testing schedule.

ARCA Ilmor 396 in Bobby Gerhart's car"We’ve never had less than two cars at the test, and more often than not, it’s as many as four cars,” Bill Gerhart said. “We’ve got the new ARCA Ilmor 396 engine already in our Lucas Oil Chevrolet, so we’re very eager to get down for testing to begin learning our new engine package. We’ve attributed much of our success at Daytona to pre-season testing; for us, it’s made all the difference. It’s going to be a busy and exciting time for the BGR Lucas Oil team.

“Both cars we’re bringing are former Daytona winners,” Bill added. “They have four victories between them, each winning twice. They have both exclusively only been used at Daytona.”

Gerhart, 56, will be going after his ninth victory at Daytona on February 14, 2015 in the 52nd annual Lucas Oil 200.

Bobby is also a big proponent of testing when it comes to Daytona.

"Testing for Daytona, in my opinion, is paramount to winning the race,” Bobby added. “It's very difficult to win there without testing, so if you want to win, you've got to get serious about testing.

"We do not utilize the test to promote ourselves. I'm not suggesting that it would be wrong to do so; I'm just saying we don't concern ourselves with topping the charts at the test. All we do is all we've ever done - to try and make gains on a legitimate basis. We don't feel the need or desire to get on top of the charts for promotional purposes."

And if you compare over the years, one would note that Gerhart's test speeds, which hover mid-pack, are fairly consistent with the speeds he brings back to the table come race time.

"If we can't come back and back up what we've been able to accomplish and learn at the test, then we're wasting our time.

This year's Daytona ARCA 200 will be Gerhart's 28th consecutive start at Daytona, a record for consecutive starts there.

Bobby Gerhart in Victory Lane at Daytona in 2012"I came to this series at this track in 1988 to learn how to race. I keep coming back for the same thing, to learn how to race.

"You either keep learning, or lose. It's always a step by step process for us. We do what makes me comfortable in the car; then we try and get the speed. From there, I drive by the seat of my pants. We never stop working on our car. You point the car in the right direction and let the car do most of the work. If it means coming up a lane, then you go where the car wants to go. You've got to get creative behind the wheel.

"But it's still Daytona, the same track they built 50-plus years ago. Some of the same things still apply that did 50 years ago. Lots of people get lost in forgetting that.”

Outside of the occasional fuel mileage gambles, Gerhart says there are no big secrets to his success at Daytona.

"I surround myself with really good people. We’ve developed a very close tight-knit group, all with the same focus on winning. It's a grass-roots operation and done without a lot of data acquisition, certainly no wind-tunnel time. We have our shop dyno that provides valuable information, and we spend an enormous amount of time tuning our cars very sharply in the shop so that we only have to tune on them mildly at the track.

"We concentrate completely on our own package and we don't get lost in what everyone else is doing."

It's no secret that Gerhart places more importance on Daytona than any other event.

"Daytona is so special to me personally. I grew up coming with my parents to Daytona. I was very vocal at a very young age that I would one day race here. In the back of my head, I kept telling myself I would win here too. It is such a privilege to race here, and I've never lost sight of that fact.

"We build cars exclusively for Daytona; they don't go anywhere else. Everything else is off the plate. Even though Talladega is very similar to Daytona, we don't mix the cars between the tracks. For me, there is Daytona, and then there is everywhere else."

In addition to the miles Gerhart will put on at Daytona, he'll also add a couple thousand more driving his transporter to and from the track.

"I love driving the rig to and from Daytona. It takes me out of the office and puts me in a different environment. I get a lot of time to think. In those moments I put together my mental agenda to help prep for the race. And if you're fortunate enough to win the race, the ride back is even more enjoyable. It's too difficult to capture the moment in victory lane. It takes a while to download and process the enormity of that just happened. It usually starts sinking in on the ride home."

Despite being 56, Gerhart sees no signs of slowing down, not when it comes to Daytona anyway. There are more goals to set and hills to climb.

"Our ninth victory is our next goal."

Gerhart's potential ninth win at Daytona isn't the only goal that's got his attention.

"I'm close enough in age, I can't quit now. I think Iggy Katona is the oldest superspeedway winner in history, in ARCA, NASCAR, or anywhere else. He was 57 when he won at Daytona in 1974. That's a record that I'd like to break, and I'm feeling good enough to get there. Now that would be a neat record to hold.”

@DonRadebaugh
dradebaugh@arcaracing.com

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