by Lyndal Scranton
As each day passes, it sinks in a little bit more for Tucker Cox. This is especially true when he walks into his bedroom each night and sees the shiny trophy, confirming that his biggest moment in racing wasn’t a dream.
“I don’t know if I believe it yet, but it’s pretty cool,” Cox said in reflecting upon his first Lucas Oil Speedway feature victory, in last Saturday’s Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model division. “My phone’s been blowing up with people texting or calling. Or people messaging me on Facebook, telling me congratulations.
“It’s just all pretty cool and I’m ready to do it again.”
The 20-year-old from Jefferson City will get that opportunity Saturday on Fan Appreciation Night Presented by KY3 Digital/O-Zone. Food and drink specials will greet the fans as the four divisions of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series are in action, plus the Show-Me Vintage Racing Club as special guest class.
Cox will be riding momentum after leading all 20 laps for last week’s feature victory. It was especially gratifying because Cox felt he was primed to win a couple of times earlier this summer, but “some things didn’t go our way.” He admitted to being extremely frustrated as he waited for his time to win arrive.
“I knew it was coming,” Cox said of the win. “After the heat race Saturday night, there wasn’t any doubt in my mind we could do it. I was just hoping for a little bit of luck and everything went our way.
“There were some things that were out of our control and I’ll leave it at that,” Cox added of his prior frustrations. “But it’s in the past. Now I’m ready to (win) again, hopefully soon.”
Cox said racing is a game of perseverance, where you must fight through tough times. His said his dad, former Late Model racer Chris Cox, helped him navigate the lows.
“For sure, it can be really frustrating. You can be fast enough to win and not win, when things happen,” he said. “You can win one week and be really terrible the next week. It’s a tough deal. Everybody is fast. You can’t let them one-up on you. You have to work hard every week.
“My dad told me ‘it’ll happen when it happens.’ My crew chief Cole (Graves) comes with me every week and signals. He keeps me calm. Even signaling me, I can kind of tell when he’s telling me to be calm and take it a lap at a time.”
As the 2018 Jefferson City High School graduate led the field to the final restart, three laps from celebration, words from his dad echoed in his head.
“My dad always says to run your own race and that’s what I tried to do,” Cox said. “I was just gonna try and make it mistake-free the last two laps and hopefully nobody rooted me out of the way. Obviously we were fast enough to stay out front. The biggest thing was to not make any mistakes and run my own race.”
Now Cox, fourth in Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model track points and third in Lucas Cattle Company ULMA national points, is hopeful the old adage of “the first win is the hardest” rings true.
“The goal is to win this week,” he said. “That was an awesome feeling last week. We work really hard for that. I’m proud of everything me, my dad, Cole my mom, sister and everybody that helps us does.”
Team sponsors include Mars Race Cars, State Technical College, Prison Brews, Cole County Upholstery, Mike Crump Racing and Sales, Millard Family Chapels, Extreme Brand Products, Keizer Wheels, Big Ed’s Guide Service, Team Friday, Yeoman Race Engines and Fast Shafts.
The Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds will be the featured class on Saturday, with a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win main event. Fans will be able to enjoy $1 nachos and cheese, $2 hot dogs and $2 soft drinks or water.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05. Fans can even come early on and make it a big day by taking in the Kentucky Drag Boat Association Show-Me Shootout Presented by Lucas Oil next door at Lake Lucas. Those purchasing tickets to the drag boats will gain free admission to the dirt-track program in the evening.
The KDBA Show-Me Shootout is scheduled for qualifying rounds on Saturday and eliminations Sunday on Lake Lucas. Visit KDBA.net for more information on the series.