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forrest-headshot-inaGAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13) - Lucas Oil co-founder Forrest Lucas joined a long list of drag racing greats with his induction into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame on Thursday night at the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Conference Center.

Lucas was part of the 2014 class of Hall of Fame members that also included John Abbott, Al Bergler, Frank Hawley, Tom Hoover, and Warren Johnson. A banquet was held in their honor Thursday night.

"Forrest, you're a very special person, you're a man of your word, and in my opinion, you're a visionary because you see things that no one else does," said NHRA President Tom Compton, who presented Lucas for enshrinement. "You make it happen, and you are so truly deserving of this honor tonight because of all that you, your family, and your company have done for this great sport."

Lucas was honored for Lucas Oil's commitment to drag racing through sponsorship of Sportsman racing, drivers and teams, tracks, and events.

Lucas, with his wife Charlotte, promoted his emerging company through drag racing before and after the turn of the century, and the partnership worked.

"Back then, it was a big bet," Compton said. "It was a tremendous amount of money for a company that size, and he made that bet with us at NHRA."

Lucas backed Sportsman racers through the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, though his involvement went much deeper. Lucas Oil continued to grow and has expanded internationally.

"Forrest was humble enough to say it was all because of NHRA, and I'm sure some of it was," Compton said. "But it my opinion, most of it was because of his smarts, his keen sense of people, and his business sense. He's truly an amazing man."

For Lucas, the decision to become involved in drag racing was a simple one.

"I think I do have a little vision, but some of it is common sense, too," Lucas said. "I looked out and said, 'I want to be in front of all the people who are in the auto parts industry, where I want to sell my stuff.' All the auto parts stores were playing in NHRA, so that's where I want to be with the big guy. I did, and it worked."

Lucas celebrated his enshrinement with wife Charlotte, son Morgan, and many others. He was joined Thursday night by many of the drivers he currently sponsors: Top Fuel legend Chris Karamesines, Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan, and Pro Stock Motorcycle riders Hector Arana Sr., Hector Arana Jr., and Adam Arana. GEICO/Lucas Oil driver Richie Crampton was also in attendance.

"A lot of people came here to honor me tonight, and I'm really so proud, so proud to be here and be part of it," Lucas said. "But it's really because we made drag racing work as a sponsor, as a business."