DIRT - The Movie; Interview with Forrest Lucas and Ali Afshar
March 7, 2018 Burbank, CA -
I had the great opportunity to preview the racing film, DIRT, by Forrest Films and ESX Entertainment that just happened to include a ton of trucks racing, mud and tempers flying, luxury cars drifting, logo placement, hugs dished out and some first class acting, filming, writing, music, with a few great ‘fake-outs’ and perfectly timed jokes. All the right people and their talents, desires and effort came to fruition in this captivating racing film…
For former Off Road Truck racing driver Rick Radden (Kevin Dillon) and teenage carjacker Dez Truss (DeRon Horton), second chances do not come easy. However, another shot is just around the bend. Watch as worlds collide for this unsuspecting duo when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases DIRT, on Digital March 6 and on DVD March 20, 2018.
Caught boosting cars for an auto-theft ring, 17-year old Dez Truss is given one last chance to turn his life around. When he is introduced to former Off Road Truck-driver-turned team owner Rick Radden, neither suspects that this is the change both so desperately need. In exchange for a roof over his head, Dez is offered the chance to use the skills he developed in the streets as part of the pit crew for Rick’s team. Faced with an underperforming and apathetic driver, Rick finds himself in search of a lifeline for his struggling off road racing team. In an unexpected turn of events, he looks to Dez to take the lead and become the new face of Team Radden. But, does Dez have what it takes to end the team’s losing streak? Will his life of crime catch up with him as he looks to turn over a new leaf?
I then had a scheduled interview with Executive Producer, Forrest Lucas, and Producer/Actor/Racer, Ali Afshar the day after. Here are some of the key elements of that interview.
Forrest Lucas is the infamous name behind the empire of Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV, and Lucas Oil Racing TV. Ali Arshar’s bio of racing and the entertainment industry is very, very long and well seasoned. Both bios are at the end of this piece.
Forrest explained how he created his oil company from his need to get better mileage and engine performance from his trucking fleet back in the ’80s. He went searching for a better engine oil and found just what he needed in a chemical dump’s rusty barrel with a partial label. Forrest stated,“Holy cow, I knew enough that this was going to be something special!“ It was exactly what he needed; it stopped oil consumption, reduced engine temperature and increased fuel mileage. “Word spread amongst his trucking colleagues with the use of CB radios, not like today,“ he recalled.
The first product led to finding both a fuel treatment and a transmission oil product line. The fuel treatment resulted in a cleaner exhaust and a 20% increase in fuel mileage. Imagine your truck's MPG going from 4.5 to 5.0 MPG! That was huge. California emissions issue? Use the Lucas Fuel Treatment and – PASS, per Forrest. It also helps your valves seat, lubricates the rings and decreases detonation while increasing your octane. Forrest told me that transmissions shift as smooth as silk besides stopping slipping and any seal leakage. A win^9!
Another fall out from all of this research was an oil for one’s rack and pinion steering assembly. “In the early 80’s every vehicle Chevrolet made had a rack and pinion problem,“ Forrest recalled. He had his steering oil in parts stores for people to choose to fix their problem. Oil, fuel, transmission and rack and pinion oil and/or treatments. They were the four part numbers Forrest needed to have a display at most parts stores.
He stated how he found larger and larger facilities to rehab and move into to increase production. Southern Indiana is the main plant yet he has other production facilities. "We got to the point where we did not have to worry about money. We knew we were going to be successful. We didn't think we were going to be as successful as we are. There is no stopping point. You cannot say that is enough or someone will pass you up," stated Forrest. He had some time now where he could race and was led by a gentleman to a dirt track in Ventura. It was a natural for Forrest after driving a truck for 20 years through all driving conditions like - ice. He raced there for a couple of years.
It got to the point where the company was able to run on auto-pilot without needing Forrest day to day, per se, after upgrading a nearby California facility. "I'm not needed. I am free," he quoted. He came back to one of his first loves, cattle ranching. He had a few cows in Indiana. Forrest, with help of his wife, Charlotte, found cattle ranches in many states but settled on a great ranch in Missourri. He bought machinery and more cattle. "I had a year of fun, building fences and tending to the cattle," Forrest recalled.
Lucas Oil put in a new building in Indiana next to renovated railroad tracks and another plant with a 360,000 sq.ft. footprint on 19 acres. Forrest enjoyed acquiring and rehabbing quality facilities to suit his needs.
We changed up the conversation to discuss the film and how some of the footage was obtained. "We took about one season of an exciting Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series and combined it with real footage. We actually went to multiple races and shot footage in them as well," Ali explained. "It might have been the actual race, our 'after' driving or a stunt driver driving it. It makes it easier when Lucas Oil owns the series; it gave us the latitude we needed. It is this formula that allowed us to perform so well," Ali further elaborated.
I inquired as to what other films are forthcoming from ESX Entertainment. "Our next film in the pipeline is called - RIDE. Very good true story that I don't think has ever been done before about a young, abused, racist, NAZI white supremist-type kid that was thrown into juvenile detention for a few years, gets out and is adopted by a family and the door opens up and the dad is – black," Ali explained. "He is like 'What?'," Ali goes on further. "We got Ludicrous to play the father. The father shows him BMX bicycle racing and the kid ultimately goes on to be a total BMX champion. True story, " Ali stated. "We got a sequel to American Wrestler called American Fighter (working title) with Tommy Flanagan coming out as an award winning movie that Warner Brothers is backing. We got Motorcross where it is similar to DIRT about a veteran that gives up going pro, leaves his job as a mechanic to go serve his country and comes back to rebuild his life on two wheels and goes racing in the Lucas Motorcross Series," Ali stated. "We got ROPED. We shot a lot of movies last year. It is a rodeo movie coming out with a nod to PBR and, last but not least, our latest movie called Lady Driver is about a sixteen year old girl in dirt track racing. A really, really feel good one. As you can see, we always have these heartfelt, inspirational movies with great messages but with fun action and all the good things we put in them as well," Ali elaborated.
When asked how the two forces of Lucas Oil and ESX Entertainment came together, Ali commented, "I had known of Lucas Oil forever from drag racing series and I was in the import racing and there was another team sponsored by Lucas Oil and I was just in awe of them. I always knew of the brand and by chance I like those colors of red, white and blue as they were similar to ours." Forrest chimed in, "We were having a summer party. We had a lot cars and trucks over at my place with Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest stickers on them. This is my cause. Ali wanted to know about Protect the Harvest. I said after the party I will happily explain. We spent about two hours talking about Protect the Harvest. Ali came back about two weeks later to do a movie and we did several movies with the likes of Sharon Stone and Jane Seymour. They all have stories that affect the animal rights extremists that are out trying to run the country. It is sort of a feel good thing you know. There is a message in there to at least treat people right, live a good life...you should get a little tear in every one of the films then you will go home feeling good." Ali further elaborated, "You know what is cool about that, Paul, is that I was born in Iran, grew up in Northern California. Forrest is obviously born in the U.S. and is in the Indiana area. A lot of our values are 100% the same; we think the same. I drag race cars and he is in the automotive side. We have the same values. I always find it cool that this was able to happen between two people from literally opposite sides of the world. A time when people should be thinking of this (or these values)."
I closed with touching on what Forrest found the most valuable in life. "Yes, I always try to be nice to everyone. It doesn't cost anything to be nice to somebody. Think about it. It doesn't cost anything to say, 'Hey, I like your shirt or that is nice looking dress you got there or I love your hairdo.' It is little things like that can mean a lot to somebody and it doesn't cost anything to do it. I always say 'Hi' 'Thank you' 'I appreciate it' – that kind of thing," Forrest explained. I stated how I write a hand-written thank you note and my father appreciates that. I went on to explain what happened to me the other day about a little girl in her bright blue pants and her matching bright blue umbrella holding her father's hand as she stepped to the bank through the rain. I said to her, "That is a beautiful umbrella you have there" and you can see her beam an even wider smile as she was enjoying her umbrella. Her father told her to say 'thank you' and she did. "It's a big deal. Huge deal to say something like that," Forrest chimed in.
My last question was directed to Forrest asking him what was in store for him for the future. "Ahh, there are so many things going on that you don't have a clue about but I expect to keep on growing with the company. We are going to keep on growing. I want to make sure we have our butt covered if we actually do have a lot of electric vehicles that don't use a lot of oil. I want to make sure Lucas Oil is doing other things to keep everyone busy. Most of our employees don't feel like employees; they feel like Lucas Oil is a career. I want to keep it alive, you know way past me. Regarding movies, we got to learn to get good at marketing. Ali has got wonderful writers and actors over there. We can do a lot here but I want to keep things going. Hopefully I got a lot of years left in me. The oil company is strong but I want it to stay strong and get stronger. Bring out new products like I discussed. I am always trying to learn something new. I turn over every rock. Try to get good people. We try to sort through staff we have to be taught new things. We have those that can teach anyone," Forrest explained.
It was a very nice time chatting with both of these gentlemen. First class times two. I wish them the best. I want in.
Paul T. Glessner, M.S.
I am a journalist/photographer/member of AARWBA and a member with the Motor Press Guild both since 1990. I am an aerodynamicist with 28 years of aircraft design and flight test experience besides consulting on vehicle cle aerorodynamics having spoken at over 35 universities. I am an FAA certificated commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings who recently got FAA endorsed as second in command (SIC) in the Gulfstream G-IV corporate jet. President/Founder of Vehicle Aerodynamics Consultants, Inc. whodd site can be found at Aeroseminars.com where I consult on a variety of vehicle aerodynamics projects from radio controlled vehicles like TRAXXAS’ XO-1, bicycles, world land speed record vehicles, Mach 3 target drones, motor vehicle stunts or the automotive industry's OEM Tier 1 suppliers besides designing and flight testing for various aircraft corporations.