For multiple decades the Midwestern portion of our country has been a hot bed of racing action with many communities in that area playing host to local Saturday night ovals.
That's where you will find the Tilton racing family. On any given Saturday night you will find driver Bradley Tilton sitting in the seat of his open wheel modified racer while waiting for the green flag to drop on another feature race at his home track: the Big Country Speedway, a quarter mile oval located in his home town of Cheyenne-Wyoming. On alternate Saturday nights you will also find the racing Tiltons in the pit area of the Colorado National Speedway, a three-eighths of a mile oval located in Erie-Colorado, where Tilton currently is fifth in the modified division standings.
In mid May, Tilton and his family decided to take a racing mini vacation that led them to Las Vegas. On the evening of May 14th they were parked in the pit area of the Las Vegas Bullring where they prepped their white, #5T, modified for a 75 lap feature race hosted by the Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink.
The reputation of this regional touring series had reached the attention of the Tiltons in Wyoming. They had heard about its competitive nature along with its lucrative race purses and bonus pay outs. They wanted to test the waters and race in this series. It's was also a means to take a break from the final assault of a cold Wyoming winter.
According to Tilton it was that harsh assault from Mother Nature that became their first problem. "After leaving Cheyenne we were on the road maybe 20 minutes when we got stuck in a blizzard. That was followed by an additional one hour parked on the highway due to an accident", Tilton said.
But the worst wasn't over yet. There were issues with flat tires on their race trailer. Two flat tires to be exact. "We finally made it into Utah where we lost two trailer tires at two different times. Luckily, after the second flat we were about a mile from a truck stop so we were able to get some help," he said. The lights of Las Vegas were a welcome sight for the for this very tired racing family. It took them a whopping 16 hours to reach their destination.
But the excitement of racing with the Lucas Oil Series at the famed Las Vegas Bullring quickly overshadowed the long road trip. Tilton finished the GEICO 75 in a very credible 12th place, from a full field of 26 cars.
Like so many youngsters from his generation, Bradley Tilton caught the racing bug through off road dirt bikes. But it was another family vacation that led the young driver to trade two wheel bikes in for the world of modified racing. Approximately three years ago the Tiltons journeyed to Indiana to take in the Indianapolis 500. That visit included an evening at a six-tenths of a mile paved oval just down the highway that, ironically, had just be renamed the Lucas Oil Raceway Park. After a full evening of USAC Midget Racing, the Tiltons were hooked. That's when and where their family race team was created.
The Tiltons were overwhelmed by the friendly people from the Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series. Many of the drivers and crew chiefs made it a point to say hello while offering help and advice regarding the racing and the car set up. Tilton later referred to the series as being "the real deal."
The presence of a team, who had towed their car all the way from Wyoming, did not escape the attention of series Promoter Greg Scheidecker who said "isn't that wonderful that someone would tow that far to race with us. I enjoyed meeting them, they're truly nice people. They represent the true spirit of the all American racing family. They're more than welcome to race with us anytime."
The Tiltons have already considered that possibility and have their eye on the Bullring's Open Comp Weekend in November where the Lucas Oil Modifieds are a big part of that show. Hopefully, the travel conditions will be a lot nicer for them.