Among the most recent winners of the prestigious Oxford 250 is a man who many race fans haven't seen very often this season. After a little rest, he's ready to climb back into the seat.
Glen Luce went from being a steady, competitive yet not quite on the radar screens kind of guy to a wildly-popular and highly respected driver after he won the 250 in 2015. In 2018, he raced a little less often than in previous seasons, and this year, he took some time away after winning a feature in May.
“I took two months off for health reasons, but I am feeling great now and am very anxious to get back into the race car. This 250 could be one of the most competitive in years, but we're getting prepared.”
Luce and highly-respected crew chief Seth Holbrook went testing recently, and have another session planned in the coming days. Luce says they're making some gains on the No. 7L ride but have more to do.
“Seth put me and the car through our paces in test runs of differing lengths,” Luce explained. “I felt fine after each run and the car isn't all that bad. It was hot and greasy when we were there; if we could find some bite then, we should be able to make it handle on race day. We're getting closer with it now.”
For Luce, being away from the racetrack wasn't an easy thing. He's been immersed in this hobby for decades, and not racing steadily wasn't his preference. He led all 50 laps during a weekly Super Late Model race at Oxford on May 18.
“It was frustrating to not be out there, but I knew getting healthy was obviously my priority. So I took the steps to address the issue. To be feeling better and getting ready for the 250 is doing a lot for me. I feel pretty excited, maybe even more so now, to be going racing again.”
When Luce, Holbrook and company unload in the pits at Oxford, people take notice. They know that the dynamic duo has been down this road before, they know how it's done and what it takes to put themselves in a position to capitalize late in the race. It's that 250 experience which builds confidence.
“It does help that we had the success there in 2015, for sure,” Luce added. “That win did more for us as a race team and me as a racer than I can describe. When you win the Oxford 250, everybody treats you differently. Those who may not have had respect for you before suddenly do after that. It's awesome.”
After Luce won the big dance at Oxford, his performance in the following Pro All Stars Series (PASS) races was far better than before. You could see it in his walk, the way he spoke and the way Holbrook talked about the car's setup and handling. A win like that validates a team's ability to get the job done.
“I'm feeling healthy now and this team will go to the track well-prepared and loaded for bear,” Luce concluded. “The car has the potential, this team has the skills, and, with a little luck - we could be a factor again. A second 250 victory would be pretty emotional. We'll be there to give it our best shot."
Race fans unable to make it to Oxford Plains Speedway for the big dance this weekend will be able to watch Saturday and Sunday’s racing action via a pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Click here to purchase your live video tickets today.
-Story by: Phil Whipple, Speed51.com Northeast SLM Correspondent
-Photo credit: Norm Marx / PASS