Oxford 250 Notebook: Glen Luce Seeks Bigger Trophy, Eddie MacDonald Returns To The 250

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The Oxford Plains Speedway pit area was packed on Saturday, and 68 Super Late Models recorded practice times during a two and half hour session ahead of Sunday’s 42nd annual Oxford 250./RaceDayCT photo by Travis Barrett

OXFORD, Maine — As post-race press conference moments go, it might have been the most memorable one in the 42-year history of the Oxford 250.

Having witnessed their father finish second to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick in the 2008 edition of one of America’s most prestigious stock car events, Glen Luce’s two young sons barged into the proceedings in the cramped press box above the Oxford Plains Speedway grandstands — one of them walking right up to Harvick.

“My dad was driving the white car,” the young Luce told Harvick.

“I know!” Harvick exclaimed, a wide smile meeting wide-eyed gazes from the two boys. “I saw him getting bigger and bigger in my mirror. I thought your dad was going to beat me!”

It’s a memory even crusty, veteran motorsports writers wouldn’t soon forget. Neither would Luce, or his family, and the Turner, Maine, driver told the story with a smile in the Oxford Plains pit area on Saturday afternoon.

The memory also haunts Luce, who was fastest in the day’s two and a half hour practice for Sunday’s AIM Recycling USA Oxford 250.

“I keep looking at that second-place trophy, and I still wish I had the big one,” Luce said.

Luce’s Pro All Stars Series 2015 season has been consistent, even if it’s been frustrating for the veteran driver of the Oxford Plains Speedway weekly ranks, the American-Canadian Tour and the PASS circuit. He’s routinely been among the fastest cars in practice, enjoyed stellar qualifying efforts and shown speed in the early stages of virtually every one of the 12 races the series has contested thus far.

But Luce’s No. 7 has also faded out of contention over the second half of far too many races.

“It’s always fast for 30, 40 laps and then it falls off, and that’s been our downfall,” he said. “We just haven’t capitalized at the end… It was just that heavy engine wearing out the (front) tires. That’s what we’ve attributed it to, so I’m really looking forward to having a crate engine back in it.”

This weekend, Luce, who admits that he’s spent too long thinking he needed more horsepower to his own detriment, has brought a crate engine package to the notorious finicky Oxford track — preferring consistency and grip over a more powerful engine. The results have been a very good car over the first two days of Oxford 250 practice.

Even Luce, though, was surprised that he blistered off a 15.510-second lap which no one could surpass despite a total of 67 cars registering times in the session.

“We’ve made a lot of changes over the last two weeks,” said Luce, who spent Friday’s long practice session running a mock ‘half-race’ of 80 laps to see what the car would do over a long run. “(Crew chief Seth Holbrook) and everyone has really worked their butts off. The car’s racy today, but it’s all luck of the draw. We could end up drawing last in our heat race and end up in a last-chance race and run all of our days. We just need some luck.”

If Luce can keep up this kind of speed for one more day, he could have his best shot yet to win the Oxford 250 — and to finally erase the bittersweet 2008 memory that haunts him.

“This is, by all means, the Daytona of racing for us guys. It makes you a champion,” Luce said. “Like Travis Benjamin said the other day during the media day, you might go 10 years and they’re still going to say, ‘This guy’s an Oxford 250 champion.’ It’s definitely on my bucket list, and it would make my career to win it.”

MACDONALD RETURNS TO 250: For the first time since he won consecutive Oxford 250s in 2009 and 2010, Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., is entered in Sunday’s race.

Things have definitely changed for the veteran of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series since he was here five years ago when he won the race in an ACT-legal Late Model.

“We’re fairly happy,” said MacDonald, who was 12th overall on the speed charts Saturday. “We’re just trying to find a good balance to keep the car consistent and try to run up front with the fast guys. We’ve just got to try to get it a little bit better.

“It’s quite a bit different setup-wise (from the Late Models).”

MacDonald won the inaugural PASS race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 5, and this Oxford 250 would mark just his second career start with the series should he qualify.

“It kind of seems to have lost quite a bit of grip,” MacDonald said of the .375-mile oval. “That’s the hardest thing, trying to find enough grip to get the car to turn in order to drive up off the corner. The track definitely seems to have lost some, and we noticed it when we came here with the ACT car (in July).”

NOTES: Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, N.H., raised some eyebrows when he finished up Saturday’s practice with the second-quickest time overall. Helliwell, a two-time ACT Late Model Tour champion, was the only driver other than Luce to post a lap time of under 15.6 seconds.

Considering he had spent most of the season worried about his team’s flat-track program, it was a marked improvement in performance — one he and owner/crew chief Bruce Bernhardt credited to a full day of testing at Oxford earlier this month.

The team plans to work on a long run during Sunday’s morning practice…

Two-time defending Oxford 250 champion Travis Benjamin of Morrill, Maine, was left a bit puzzled at the end of practice on Saturday, wondering why his car — the same car that charged from 24th to fifth in just 80 laps during a PASS race at the track three weeks ago — hadn’t really shown significant signs of life. He remains hopeful of what the car can do once the sun starts to set, which is typically the time the main event is run.

“This car is really, really good at night here,” Benjamin said…

Trevor Sanborn of East Parsonsfield, Maine, was fastest in Friday’s lone practice session and 11th in Saturday’s session, though the Hight Motorsports Chevrolet had only turned a handful of laps on Saturday. He remained extremely encouraged about his team’s chances Sunday…

Saturday’s top 10 practice times were posted by Luce, Helliwell, local competitor Scott Farrington, Georgia driver Spencer Davis, first-time PASS winner Dave Oliver (at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in July), Cassius Clark, Johnny Clark, Kelly Moore, three-time Oxford 250 champion Mike Rowe and Alan Tardiff.


  1. Derek Ramstrom 24th on speed chart Larry Gelinas was 64 and former Modified Tour driver Spencer Davis was 4th. I believe Dillion Moltz is there but did not see any practice times

  2. Andy Boright says

    #fridaysaturdayspeedchartsmeannothing – LOL

  3. At a track like that no, the draw for heat position probably more important; however with almost 70 cars speed must account for something

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