FREDRICSBURG, Va. – Veteran Virginia short track late model racer Robert Bruce has had the chance to do a lot during his lengthy racing career, but on June 3 he’ll be able to fulfill a life-long dream.
Bruce, 49, will make his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut during the Shore Lodge 250 at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway in a second car fielded by Mullins Racing.
“I’m really excited. I can’t thank Mullins Racing enough for giving me the opportunity to run an ARCA race. It’s kind of like a dream come true,” said Bruce, who hails from Fredricsburg, Va. “Hopefully it’ll be a great weekend.”
The opportunity for Bruce to make his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut came about thanks in large part to the addition of sponsor CW Metals. Team owner and driver Willie Mullins wanted to put on as good a show as possible for CW Metals and its staff, so the decision was made to field a second car for the Shore Lodge 250.
When deciding who would fill the seat of that second car, Mullins wanted a veteran who knew his way around short tracks and would be able to adapt on the fly. Bruce, who has been racing for more than 25 years, fit that description perfectly.
“I was able to get a little experience testing Willie’s short track car and I believe we’ll have a real shot at running in the top-10 or even top-five,” Bruce said. “If things work out and we can be there to contend against the big boys, then we’ll do our best to bring home the checkered flag for Mullins Racing.”
Bruce thinks running two cars at Elko Speedway will only help Mullins Racing going forward as the team continues to grow its participation in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“A lot of those teams that bring two or three cars, they get feedback from all the drivers and it helps the organization. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish at Mullins Racing,” Bruce said.
Bruce will drive the same car that his team owner Mullins piloted earlier this year at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville to an 17th-place finish. In addition to CW Metals, Bruce’s No. 28 Ford will carry sponsorship from Bugsy’s Auto and Papa John’s.
“We’ll have CW Metals, Papa John’s and of course Bugsy’s Auto on the car,” Bruce said. “There are a lot of family members that are helping to make all of this possible. Dinah (Thompson, Mullins fiancé) and Willie are the ones putting out the most effort to make this happen. It is like a family affair and I can’t wait for the race.”
Bruce knows he’ll be facing an uphill battle at Elko Speedway on June 3. He’ll be going from racing a late model to a heavier, faster ARCA Racing Series car. That will present its own unique challenges.
“I think the biggest challenge will be getting the car comfortable and getting myself comfortable in the car,” Bruce said. “Looking at the track that we’re running, it looks a lot like the tracks I’ve run on before. I think it is going to be a combination of giving the normal guys room and making sure they have the confidence in me so that I can run with them. That’s going to be the biggest thing so they’re not pushing us around. We’re there to race just as hard as they are.”
The Shore Lodge 250 is the sixth race of the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season. The one-day event at Elko Speedway begins with practice from 1:30 to 3 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 p.m. The Shore Lodge 250 is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised live on MAVTV and ARCARacing.com will provide live timing and scoring.