Lucas Oil Speedway
Missourian hopes to carry momentum to '23
By Lyndal ScrantonLucas Oil Speedway
Tucker Cox finished the 2022 racing season in a rush, then it was over for the Missouri racer. Cox captured a long-sought first Late Model feature victory at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., along with two feature triumphs at Callaway Raceway in Fulton, Mo.
Now with a new season approaching, the 23-year-old Jefferson City racer is eager to try and carry over the momentum.
"It was pretty good overall," Cox said of 2022. "I was a little frustrated about midway through the year, but at the end we won three of the last four races. We started getting the car figured out."
Cox wound up a distant second to veteran Larry Ferris in the Lucas Oil Speedway Hermitage Lumber Late Model points chase as Ferris had a dominant season. But Cox, who's still learning the Late Model game, is planning an ambitious schedule in 2023 primarily running in Wheatland and Fulton.
"With a couple of other places, we hope to run 43 total," said Cox, who said his MB Customs Race Car is just about ready to roll after a motor freshening and usual offseason maintenance.
Cox, the son of long-time Late Model regional racer Chris Cox, said the car started to come around when he stopped trying to throw the kitchen sink at it between his heat race and the feature. Things clicking the final Saturday of August at Wheatland when he led all 20 laps to win by 1.5 seconds over Matt Becker.
"Winning that first (feature at Lucas) meant a lot because we finally got everything going the right direction," Cox said. "We weren't really far off. Larry Ferris was really good. We just needed to not change so much from the heat race to the feature.
"That was the biggest thing. I was overadjusting a little bit for the feature. It was more my fault than anything really. We changed a few things on the shocks and springs and that was really about it."
As for 2023 goals, Cox is ready to raise his standard. He recently told his dad he wants to win at least 10 features this season.
"I think that’s a pretty good goal," he said. "As far as the points go, I’d like to win Wheatland’s track championship as well as Callaway’s. But I’m not gonna get too worried about points. Just gonna try to win all I can and go from there."
Cox knows that Ferris will be tough to beat, but he welcomes the challenge.
"Larry and (crewman) Brian Larimore (of Dirt Track Specialists) worked really hard last year," Cox said. "Larry’s a really good driver and he’s been racing for a long time. It’s hard to compete with him, but I’m glad he races with us. That makes me better and everybody else better, too."
When Lucas Oil Speedway released the schedule, which finds the season opening several weeks earlier (March 25) than it did a year ago, Cox smiled. He hopes to add more sponsors to help during his busy season, adding them to a list that includes State Technical College, Cole County Upholstery, Extreme Racing Oil, Yeoman Race Engines, C&S Exteriors and Advanced Heating and Cooling.
"I’m real excited because Wheatland is starting a little bit earlier," he said. "I like starting earlier. Hopefully if we have troubles, we get those out of the way early. Hopefully we don’t have any. The main thing is starting the season out a little stronger than last year.”