Lucas Wolfe knew he couldn’t sit around.
It was fine during December and January. Race tracks across the country were dark, and Wolfe was busy trying to piece together road racing prospects and wanted to give his new project his full attention.
Wolfe isn’t giving up on that dream. But now that the dirt-track season has kicked up in Florida and will begin in central Pennsylvania and across the nation in two to three weeks,he had to have a concrete plan.
The Mechanicsburg driver found a good one as the driver of the Todd and Susan LaHaise No. 82 out of Sioux Falls,S.D. The car is sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings and was piloted by Justin Henderson last season.
“It was current economics,” Wolfe said in a phone interview. “I’m not stopping the pursuit of [road racing]. It’s just going to take a little while.
“Crew chief Greg [McCormick] called me again and offered it to me. I was their first choice,and they were willing to work around any obstacles that may come up during the year.”
The team will debut with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) Feb. 22 in Tucson,Ariz.,before making the trek to Las Vegas to compete with the World of Outlaws.
Wolfe will run a loaded schedule that includes in the neighborhood of 100 shows. He will be the true outlaw,picking and choosing races across the map.
The race dates are flexible. The team, which is headed by McCormick –he has worked with Sammy Swindell and Terry McCarl –plans to run with the ASCS,World of Outlaws and other sanctioning bodies.
He may even make a couple trips home to Pennsylvania.
“By the second week of April,I will have run almost 20 races,” Wolfe,26,said. “It’s good to have a side deal that is in good shape.
“We don’t have a precise schedule,but it includes stuff at home and World of Outlaws trips. It’s kind of a deal where we make the schedule,and it comes together.”
Wolfe has competed as a regular with the World of Outlaws the last five years. Jim and Laura Allebach were his car-owners and big supporters of his career.
But it was tough making ends meet on the road. It got to the point where the team was running a shoe-string budget,and it was difficult to make it to the next race if there was mechanical failures the night before.
“It’s good to have an opportunity where stuff is ready to go,” Wolfe said. “It’s good not to be in a position where you don’t know what is going to happen next.
“I had a lot of good opportunities with Jim and Laura,but the economics of it was too much. We were always in survival mode and in a bad way compared to the teams we were running against.
“It’s good to have a plan worked out and the direction is forward.”
This seems like the perfect merger.
Wolfe is coming off a year in which he struggled early but came on in the second half of the season. The LaHaise-owned car driven by Henderson was competitive, placing fourth at the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway and also winning a preliminary night at the prestigious Knoxville Nationals.
For Wolfe,it’s a chance to race. Drivers have to stay sharp to remain competitive. This opportunity provides that,as well as letting him look at other avenues in the sport.
“This is a good opportunity to improve on last season,” he said. “Especially the second half of last season.
“Sitting around doing nothing isn’t good. I was really getting worked up about racing, and it’s a relief to have this opportunity.”
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