Video: Forrest Lucas, The Man Behind The Lucas Oil Empire

There’s no doubt that Lucas Oil is a heavyweight in the automotive industry. From your local auto parts store to your favorite motorsport on television, Lucas Oil seems to be ubiquitous. With an incredible list of achievements, it is difficult to believe that Forrest Lucas, the self-made entrepreneur behind the company, came from such humble beginnings. 

Young Forrest Lucas.

Not long after the United States entered World War II, Forrest Lucas was born in Ramsey, Indiana, the eldest of four children. Like many families in the midwest, His parents Raymond and Marie lived and operated a small farm in Elkinsville, Indiana. Lucas is quoted as saying he and his three younger sisters lived in “rural deprivation.”

The Lucas family.

The thriving farming community of Elkinsville became a footnote in history as it was acquired by eminent domain in 1964 for the construction of Lake Monroe Reservoir. It was thought that the town had to be abandoned due to the path of the backwaters. Later, it was discovered that a mistake in elevation estimates meant that the town would not be flooded which resulted in the area sitting unused. The area is now a part of the Hoosier National Forrest. 

High School Education

After graduating from high school, the young man searched for his path in life. Lucas claimed he wanted to be a lawyer, but neither he nor the family could afford college tuition. Taking his first step as a businessman, he bought his first truck at 19. He worked at a factory on the night shift, then drove his dump truck during the day. 

Supporting his own family, Lucas knew he didn’t want to work in a factory his whole life. He wanted to own his own business, so he had thoughts of growing his own trucking empire. Lucas liked driving big trucks and he wanted to see more of the country, so he began buying more trucks. He purchased his first semi when he was 21. 

After buying his first semi and going through the training, he started working for the Mayflower Transit Company. According to Lucas, he was working night and day and living cheaply. This allowed him to make a lot more money than they thought he could.  

His plan was to save enough money in two or three years, sell the truck, and start a gas station or garage. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and his dream of becoming a business owner within three years never happened. “Unfortunately, my first wife blew the money as fast as it came in,” he has explained many times. “I had to divorce my first wife and start life over again.”

Lucas developed his oil and fuel treatments using his own fleet as the test bench.

A Second Start

Lucas continued working night and day, and living cheap, till he was able to build up a fleet of 14 trucks. Starting his own freight company, he became the business owner that he always dreamt of becoming. When the Federal Government deregulated the freight industry with the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, Forrest Lucas was the first to get a license to deliver freight in all 48 contiguous states. 

Lucas thought of himself as a decent mechanic and performed a lot of the maintenance on his trucks. He felt that his trucking company needed a better oil, so he began learning how to make oil on his own. Because he wasn’t limited by traditional education, Lucas was able to think outside the conventional box and came up with his own formula. “Sometimes college can work against you,” he has said. “If I had gone to school, I would have never done what I’ve done.” 

The “silent salesman” marketing tool that is still on display in many auto parts stores today.

Forrest Lucas founded Lucas Oil in 1988. The success of his oil company has allowed the self-made entrepreneur to invest in his own production company (Forrest Films), a cable and satellite television channel (MAVtv), and sponsor a plethora of sporting events.   

Lucas still works as hard as ever.

By all reports, Lucas still works 12 hours a day and just about every weekend. Lucas Oil is involved in so many events that Forrest Lucas feels obligated to attend. 

For more information on Lucas Oil or the Lucas Oil branded products, visit them online at

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About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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