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Lucas Oil decides to stay in SoCal — for now

Lucas Oil decides to stay in SoCal — for now

A Corona-based motor oil company that owns race tracks, has its own television show, and is the namesake of the Indianapolis Colts stadium, has decided to stay put for now, despite increasing expenses to operate in California and incentives from the state of Indiana.

   The $150 million-a-year Lucas Oil Products Inc. did not dismiss a future move, but said for now it will remain in California where Indiana natives Forrest and Charlotte Lucas founded the company in 1989. The Lucas' chose their start-up location to take advantage of the proximity to the Southern California and West Coast freight networks.

   The firm evaluated a move to the East last year, spurred on by the increasingly expensive regulatory environment in California.

   “Every day California is giving us another reason to move out,” Patison told The Business Press newspaper last year. The same month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation boosting the state's minimum wage to the highest in the nation, from $6.75 to $8 an hour by 2008.

   Judging by the firm's successful track record of growth over the past year, it was probably a sound decision not to rock the boat with a cross-country move.

   A year ago, Lucas Oil rolled out its first branded engine oil in the Pep Boys chain of automotive supply stores, and in February, the new Lucas oil went on the shelves of NAPA Auto Parts stores. Two months later, the firm signed a deal with the Canadian nationwide chain Canadian Tire Corp. to distribute the entire line of Lucas Oil products.

   Last year the firm also completed construction of its own media production facilities, allowing the firm to produce about half of the content for its hour-long cable program, Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour, completely in-house.

   Part of a comprehensive advertising program launched three years ago, so far the firm has produced 30 one-hour episodes and 13 half-hour episodes, with 35 hour-long shows planned for next year.

   Last year, Lucas paid $122 million to earn the 20-year naming rights to the Colt's new $675 million stadium, set to open at the start of the 2008 NFL season.

   Lucas Oil manufactures petroleum additives and lubricants, employing 100 workers at its Corona facility and an additional 300 workers at the firm's plant in Corydon, Ind.

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