By Justin Whitaker
BROWNSBURG — As the weather gets warmer, the action starts heating up at Lucas Oil Raceway.
LOR had its weekend opening Sunday and both the oval track and drag strip were roaring with activity.
The 3rd Annual Cabin Fever Championships presented by the Champion Racing Association (CRA) featured its Late Model Sportsman and Street Stocks series’ and modified and compact racing around the .686-mile oval as well.
After an open test day April 7, the Summit Racing Equipment ET Bracket Series held their first races Sunday on the drag strip.
The first day at the track is an emotional day for some drivers who are looking forward to summer of racing.
“Honestly, when I got to the track I got a little emotional, a few tears came to my eyes because it’s finally racing season and I’m ready to get out on the track,” said T.J. Flynn, a second-year driver in the CRA Street Stock Series and runner-up rookie of the year in 2012.
For Cory Johnson, who has drag raced at LOR since buying his 1969 Chevrolet Camero in 1990, it’s finally that time of the year.
“It’s been a long winter,” Johnson said laughing. “Yeah, I’m ready to get back with it.”
The Bracket Series runs ten times at LOR on various weekends throughout the summer until September 8. Johnson, a racer who owns his own auto repair shop in Greenfield, enjoys coming to race on the weekends.
“Oh I love it,” he said. “Yeah it’s nice getting out here away from work for a while.”
The first day of racing at LOR was overcast with temperatures in the high 50s to mid 60s. After a lengthy winter and slow start to spring, Sunday was a solid day for racing to begin.
“During the winter time you’re trapped inside, you can’t really do anything,” Flynn said. “Now the weather is nice enough and the atmosphere of the race track, the roar of the engines, the smell of the gas, it’s great.”
Both Flynn and Johnson enjoy racing at LOR for different reasons.
“The history is huge out here,” said the 21-year-old Flynn. “A lot of great drivers have made it to the top series’ that have raced here.”
“They keep good care of the track and they keep it prepped well,” said Johnson, who worked as part of the clean up crew on the oval track for nearly 20 years before racing in 1990. “Sunday is the best day for me to try and get out as I own my business it’s kind of hard to get away on Saturdays.”
The preparation for both of the racing series’ is varying because of the nature of the racing.
The CRA is a touring series that hovers around the Midwest and features oval racing with all it’s beating and banging included.
Flynn said leading up to a race week is at least 40 hours working on preparations for the car.
“It’s a full week at the shop, it takes a lot of time especially depending on what happened your last race,” he said.
In the Bracket Series, upkeep is important but the dragsters do not have to necessarily spend an entire work week preparing for the racing on Sundays.
“If you’re fortunate to not have any problems you don’t have to do too much to these cars,” Johnson said. “You try to make them last as long as you can, like my car, I don’t push it to the edge because you just try to run consistent each pass so I don’t shift it real high, keep my eye on things and change the oil.”
For the full Lucas Oil Raceway schedule, visit www.lucasoilraceway.com.