A weight was lifted off Glen Luce’s shoulders Sunday afternoon north of the border at Autodrome Montmagny (QC). The 2015 Oxford 250 winner won the 150-lap #RoadtotheOxford250 race to clinch a guaranteed starting spot in $25,000-to-win race.
“We did talk about that on the way,” Luce said of the provisional. “Wayne (Helliwell), I’m not sure if he’s going to run; I’m assuming he’s going to run. He’s a good racer and probably won’t need it, but he’s first in line for the former winner’s provisional. We might be good in points too, but it’s a good thing to have for backup. Everyone knows that the 250 starts with the luck of the draw.”
Luce started Sunday’s race at Montmagny from the seventh position and quickly made his way to the front from the drop of the green flag. He moved into second early in the race before getting by Ben Rowe on a restart near the lap 30 mark.
From there, Luce kept Rowe in his rearview mirror with a strong drive off the corners thanks to the stock crate engine under the hood of his No. 7 machine.
“He pressured me pretty hard. I made damn sure, I said to the guys on the radio that I wasn’t going to lose it by letting him get under me,” Luce explained. “I was backing my corners up and he would close in on entry and I would exit quicker because I was already on the gas. That’s how it went until about 10 to go.
“I think his theory was that he was going to try to push me to wear my s— out and I saved a little bit in the tank. I’m glad I did because Derek (Ramstrom) came on strong there at the end. He got to my bumper and wiggled me a bit but he was clean. We were just able to pull it out. It was a big win after the wreckfest we had at Star.”
Sunday’s race at the 3/8-mile oval in Montmagny, Quebec was just the fourth race of Luce’s career at the track.
“I’ve raced there in an ACT car and in a Super. I might have raced in a Super Late Model twice ther,” he said. “It wouldn’t have been last year, but I’ve raced there before. It’s similar to St. Croix, they’re kind of like sister tracks. I had a feel of what I wanted to get under me.”
After a tough outing at Star Speedway a week ago dropped Luce to second in the PASS North championship standings, but a strong outing on Sunday has the team back on top.
“We were fortunate to pull one off for the guys and the sponsors. We obviously haven’t had a horrible beginning. I’m trying not to look at points because if you run well the points will come, but we had a little cushion there over Ben and then he caught right up and went ahead by one after Star, so we needed it. It kind of boosted everyone up a little bit.”
In recent years, Luce has been a driver who has thrived later in the season. This year he has shown consistent speed despite battling a tire issue during the first few races of the season.
“We’re pretty happy and optimistic about things,” Luce commented. “We had an issue at Oxford where we ran bleeders and it kind of bit us. When they had a long caution and then go green, we weren’t the same car we had before the caution. The same thing happened at Beech Ridge and it took 30-40 laps to recover, which is too long. We tried something different and when we had the caution (Sunday) the car was right there as soon as they threw the green. We think we might have found our issue.”
Next up for Luce will be a trip to the newly-repaved Thunder Road International Speedbowl (VT). It’s a track that he won at last year, giving him plenty of momentum going in.
“Early in the season we’re going to ride the momentum and keep strong. We’ll see it where it takes us.”
Podium finishers Derek Ramstrom and Ben Rowe also clinched guaranteed starting spots in the Oxford 250 with their strong runs. Johnny Clark and Eddie MacDonald completed the top five.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Lindsay Ellison
PASS North 150 Unofficial Results
Autodrome Montmagny (QC) – May 21, 2017
|1) 7L – Glen Luce – 150 Laps
2) 35 – Derek Ramstrom – 150
3) 4n – Ben Rowe – 150
4) 54 – Johnny Clark – 150
5) 17ma – Eddie McDonald – 150
6) 23 – David Farrington Jr. – 150
7) 40 – Nick Sweet – 150
8) 03 – Joe Squeglia, Jr. – 150
9) 7 – Travis Benjamin – 150
|10) 12g – Derek Griffith – 150
11) 2 – Lonnie Sommerville – 150
12) 60 – DJ Shaw – 149
13) 73 – Joey Doiron – 149
14) 84qc – Marin Latulippe – 148
15) 80 – Donald Theetge – 146
16) 97 – Jacques Poulin – 145
17) 91qc – Patrick Laperle – 70