The name Nuckles is synonymous with asphalt racing in the Buckeye State, thanks to the family’s involvement with Columbus Motor Speedway in the years before the facility was razed. Today, it’s Tyler Nuckles keeping the family tradition going in a Modified while father Jeff is set to get back into promoting races with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event at Kil-Kare Raceway on June 26.
On May 15, the team brought a new Modified to Lorain Raceway Park and shook the car down early ahead of the night’s action. However, during the team’s final test run, the throttle stuck on the car and Nuckles drove off turn one and into the Styrofoam walls.
Just as the team was loading up to call it a day before it really ever began, a pair of crew members took another look at the car.
“I bought a used car this winter, a pretty nice car and decided I wanted to put my good car away that I won with a month ago and save it for a big race coming up. I ran a new car and we went early in the day and rented out the track to shake out the car. The last run we were making, the throttle stuck,” Nuckles told Speed51. “It was just a different pedal that I had used and a bolt got stuck that didn’t even know existed.
“The wall at Lorain is built off the track and there’s a little access road and they have foam blocks up. When you hit the wall with the throttle stuck, you think that the car’s too badly tore up to fix it so we took it back to the trailer and we loaded up to go home. A couple guys looking at it said man, this really isn’t too bad.” – Tyler Nuckles
After making the decision to repair the car ahead of the night’s action, phone calls were made and fellow Ohio Modified drivers came to the rescue. First came 2019 Sandusky Speedway track champion Stephen Klinect, then came Tyler Shullick, who serves as Truck Chief in the NASCAR Truck Series for ThorSport.
“I called a buddy, Stephen Klinect, that has the same type of car. He’s about an hour up the road and he had parts somehow to where I could build a nose at the track to work. Between all the parts and getting everything done, another guy, Tyler Shullick, lives 20 minutes up the road and had a brake caliper that I didn’t know I needed until the last minute. We get it all back together we think in time for the last hot lap session, and we pull on the track and the front wheels are shaking. We figure out it’s an idler arm and we finally find one that would work and we got it on just in time for qualifying.”
With the car ready just before qualifying, Nuckles would start ninth in the feature event after the invert and work his way through the field. He would hold off Rick Groetsch – another driver who helped Nuckles get on track that night – in the final laps to get his second win of the year.
I had no idea what the car was going to do after that, and somehow we qualified fourth. We changed a couple things and for the race we got pretty lucky with how the lines went and the lines I was able to get. I passed some cars easy and was pretty much able to drive around everybody else. It shocked me and I don’t know how it happened, I guess.”
Nuckles is no stranger to big wins in Modified competition as a former winner of the Run For The Gun at Winchester Speedway. He considers his win on May 15 to be one of his most special wins he has been a part of after a family effort to get him race ready after the wreck.
“That was the cool thing. My girlfriend’s dad Bill Browning was with me along with another guy, Jerry Kowalski and it’s like the whole family pitched in. My brother-in-law Cody Gallogly was there to help. The entire family was there and helped get it back together, which made it even better at the end of the night. It’s probably one of the cooler wins I’ve had because of all the family and everybody coming together for that.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Jeff Nuckles