Fresh off a career-best effort in ARCA Racing Series competition last month, veteran Robert Bruce returned to late model competition at Dominion Raceway on Saturday during the Radley Chevrolet Duels at DR.
Fifty-one-year-old Bruce, who drove the No. 2 Mullins Racing Ford to a 10th-place finish at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards action on July 14, scored a runner-up result in the second of two 50-lap late model stock features Saturday at Dominion Raceway. The result came in Bruce’s first weekend of competition in a new car.
In the first of two 50-lap features for the late model stock division Bruce found himself behind the proverbial eight ball. He was forced to start the race three laps down when his team discovered the brake caliper bolts on his No. 31 Radley Chevrolet late model had come loose and fallen out. Despite starting three laps down, Bruce managed to endure and earn a sixth-place result in the first 50-lap feature.
“It’s just a maintence thing. Sometimes those things happen,” Bruce said regarding the brake caliper bolt issue. “The biggest thing is we build from that adversity and get it taken care of. It cost us a couple of laps in the first race, but at the end of the day it happened for a reason.”
With NASCAR rules requiring an invert of the top-eight positions from the first race, that meant Bruce would start the second 50-lap feature from third. However, polesitter Richard Storm opted to come down pit road during the pace laps, elevating Bruce to the pole for the start of the race since he was starting from the inside line.
Bruce took advantage of the opportunity, taking the lead at the start of the second feature. He held that position until lap 15, when Jeff Oakley was able to get around him to take over the lead. Chris Johnson also put pressure on Bruce for five laps in an effort to take second, but Bruce managed to hold him off and pull away.
Oakley would go on to win the race while Bruce finished 1.2 seconds behind him in second, the best finish of his career at Dominion Raceway in late model stock car competition.
“We were lucky enough to start on the pole in the second race,” Bruce said. “We got to lead some laps. We led like 15 laps in the race and held our own. When you can run with Jeff Oakley it makes it all worthwhile.”
Bruce’s string of good finishes comes in addition to the recent success of his son, Cole Bruce, who has won three features in the Dominion Racer class at Dominion Raceway this year.
“My son’s won three in a row at Dominion in his class, so we feel like we’ve got a good package right now,” Bruce said. “Our motor program has stepped up a little bit with Pat Donovan Racing. He’s brought us to the top here and gotten us to where we can compete without having any motor issues.
“We also debuted a new car this weekend that we recently purchased. We finished it on Thursday of last week and Cole got it out on Friday and tested it for me. It’s awesome that he can get in the car and tell me what it’s doing so when we showed up on Saturday we were competitive right out of the box.”
Robert Bruce is supported by Radley Chevrolet, Papa John’s, Matco Tools by Mark Breeden, Shepherds Heating and Cooling and Dinah Marie Photography.