|Lucas Oil Speedway Promoter Dan Robinson in Victory Lane with Jimmy Owens
Sometimes when Dan Robinson is able to take a break from his many duties as the General Manager of Lucas Oil Speedway he’ll watch some TV. When he’s flipping through the channels and hears the words “Live from Wheatland, Missouri” or “Show Me 100” come through the speakers he knows what he’ll be watching.
It still blows him away to see the facility he works at on his television screen.
“I’ll be watching Mav TV or NBC Sports Network and all of the sudden a show will come on I wasn’t thinking about,” Robinson said. “I’ll catch myself in awe watching it.”
Those times to relax aren’t always aplenty for Robinson, who was voted by his peers as the 2014 RPM Great Plains Region Promoter of the Year. Running the day to day operations at one of the premier dirt racing facilities in the country can provide a hectic schedule, but Robinson embraces it.
“There’s very high expectations here at the Lucas facility with the name that’s involved,” Robinson said. “So the fans expect a lot and we do what we can to deliver for them.”
A Southeast Wisconsin native, Robinson attended asphalt and dirt races growing up. His original dream was to become a crewman for a NASCAR team, but was never able to move to Charlotte to pursue that goal.
Instead about 20 years ago he moved to Missouri and took a job lining up cars at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. That’s where he met Bill Willard who Robinson says was very influential to him.
Since 2007 Robinson has worked at the Wheatland, Missouri complex that also includes a drag boat lake known as Lake Lucas. He has been the GM since 2009. He’s also the Series Director for the Lucas Oil MLRA late models.
Being in both of those roles gives Robinson the opportunity to see different sides of racing. He likes to soak up knowledge while attending events and it’s not limited to just dirt track racing. Minor league baseball, Supercross, and monster truck shows were just a few examples he gave of events that he has learned something from.
The facility puts on several multiple day events such as the famed Show-Me 100. Robinson knows the importance of the entertainment part of the weekend. Being able to add to the experience of the race and keeping the fan engaged is something they strive for.
“We want our shows to be loud, bright, and colorful,” Robinson said. “Racing is extremely important, but you can’t forget the entertainment part of it.”
While the fan is important Robinson knows the drivers that run there on a weekly basis are an asset as well. Giving the racers a good surface to run on is a high priority for the Lucas Oil Speedway staff.
“Drivers have a lot of choices on where to race at now a days,” Robinson said. “They want a nice clean place and most importantly they want to be able to race.”
“If they get stuck in the back they want to know they have a fighting chance to get to the front.”
To be successful a promoter must wear many hats. That includes being a meteorologist. Rain is often the biggest nemesis of the promoter. Lucas Oil Speedway’s paved pit area helps thwart the threat of cancellation if a passing thundershower rolls through. Robinson says Mother Nature has to force him to rain out.
“I’m probably better weather man than the local guys on TV,” Robinson said with a chuckle. “I’ve got the weather apps on my phone and multiple radars going every night. I can pretty well predict where the storms are going to go and when we’re going to be in trouble just from watching the storms move across this area through the years.”
Lucas Oil Speedway will start the 2015 season with the 2nd Annual MLRA Spring Nationals on April 10-11.