By Lyndal Scranton – WHEATLAND, Missouri (March 24, 2020) – Ashlee Lancaster speaks for all race-car drivers – and sports fans in general – when she was asked about the on-hold status of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It sucks,” the Lucas Cattle Company ULMA Late Model regular from Sturgeon, Missouri said this week.
Lancaster is coming off a season in which she finished ninth nationally in ULMA points and 13th in the weekly standings for Lucas Oil Speedway’s Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA division. She called it an “up-and-down” season and was eager to make amends.
After a winter of hard work, she and her dad, Kenny Lancaster, were ahead of the curve in preparation and had the No. 16 car ready to roll well ahead of the scheduled April 4 opener at Lucas Oil Speedway.
But then the world was jarred and many things – racing included – ground to a half. With the ULMA and Lucas Oil Speedway schedule pushed back to a tentative May 9 start, Lancaster is trying to be patient and positive.
“We’re actually on time this season, which is like a minor miracle for us,” Lancaster said. “This time last year, we were still with a bare chassis for the most part.
“The only thing we’re waiting on now is the wrap and we’re getting that put on this week. Everything else is pretty much ready to go. I guess we can take extra precautions and go through everything one more time if we feel like we skimmed over anything, just to be ready for practice day.
“The extra time isn’t going to hurt us, by any means. We can go over everything again.”
Lancaster, 31, began racing when she was 16 and has driven a Late Model most of her racing career. She had a solid 2018 season, finishing eighth in the points both at Lucas Oil Speedway and in ULMA national standings.
Last year, however, was a struggle to get a new car dialed in.
“We had pretty high expectations,” she said. “We struggled. It just didn’t pan out for us. Hopefully, we have a more consistent season ahead.”
Meanwhile, asked about how she’ll spend her Saturdays until the world-wide health threat passes and racing resumes, Lancaster laughed and said, “that’s a good question. I have no idea.
“Whenever they give us the go-ahead, we’re gonna be ready.”
The Lucas Cattle Company ULMA and Lucas Oil Speedway seasons are tentatively scheduled to kick off on May 9. The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series is due to have action in four divisions – Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks.
Fans may also “like” the Lucas Cattle Company ULMA Facebook page to follow series news throughout the 2020 season.