OXFORD — If Glen Luce were fortunate enough to win another Oxford 250 on Sunday night, the same day as his 52nd birthday, he’ll make sure to savor every moment this time around.

“If we ever did it again, I wouldn’t be in such shock. I’d know how to enjoy it,” said Luce, of Turner. “You go back through and watch me getting out of the car, and it looked like I was still in a dream.”

But that’s not the only reason Luce will enjoy another crowning moment in his career.

Glen Luce receives a hug after winning the 2015 Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. Portland Press Herald file photo by Carl D. Walsh

Luce hasn’t raced since May 18, the night he won a 50-lap Super Late Model race in Oxford Plains Speedway’s weekly ranks. At the time he was feeling particularly lethargic and weak, something he believed was caused by lingering effects from the Lyme disease he was diagnosed with in the summer of 2018.

He continued working all winter at the same breakneck rate he always had — he’s a logger by trade — and didn’t feel any better in the spring. The pronounced shaking in his limbs was getting worse.

When Luce went to see a neurological specialist, he heard words he’d never considered: Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, significant stiffness in extremities and difficulty balancing or walking, according to the National Institute on Aging.

“I was very weak. I’m shaking really badly,” Luce said. “They think I might have Parkinson’s, which is early for my age for that disease and I’m not symptomatic like most of their patients.

“I was losing weight. I couldn’t get out of my own way. I’ve been fighting Lyme for most of the year. That’s what we thought it was. I’ve been on antibiotics for 14 months.”

For a second, there was relief when Luce learned that a recent round of tests in Boston came back negative for the disease. That momentary relief was soon replaced by anxiety.

“You’re skeptical. You worry,” Luce said. “I told my girlfriend, ‘I don’t know what dying feels like, but I feel like I’m dying.’”

After winning at Oxford this spring, he called his longtime crew together and told them he thought it best to take a break from racing.

“I think it was one of the best decisions he made,” said Kevin Alden of Leeds, Luce’s spotter. “He needed to get out of the race car. It was no place for him like that.”

The side benefit to so many trips to doctors and specialists has been a change in the medication Luce was prescribed. That switch came roughly a month ago, and in the weeks since, he says he’s feeling stronger.

Strong enough that he began thinking about the Oxford 250, about returning to racing. The team organized a test session at Oxford Plains two weeks ago, where the focus was less on finding speed and more on finding comfort for Luce.

Finding comfort, though, has been difficult. The shaking keeps him awake for long stretches at night — “I’m sleeping about two hours at a time” — and he’s wary of even casual conversations with people who don’t know what he’s been going through.

“The shaking is so bad. You watch a TV show with drug addicts or alcoholics shaking, that’s what I was doing just trying to sleep,” Luce said. “I guess I’m more conscious of that than other people are — I worry about it. I stick my hand in my pocket, and you can see them look down. You know they’re looking. Then you worry about it and it gets worse.

“It’s a good way to lose weight, I guess. You can’t hit your mouth with your food.”

When Luce is in a race car, the shaking subsides. Holding something — like the steering wheel — helps dramatically. When he gets out, however, the adrenaline causes the shaking to get worse.

It’s a price he’s willing to pay this weekend.

“I enjoy the competitiveness. It’s competing,” said Luce, who finished second to 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick in the 2008 Oxford 250. “We could be at a barbecue somewhere and start having hill slides with coolers that we’re trying to grease them up to see who can get to the bottom first.

“I’d love to win another (Oxford 250), but there’s a million other people out there who deserve it, too. Kelly Moore, as long as he’d raced. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Mike Rowe win a fourth? Jeff Taylor has a couple of seconds. My stepbrother, Tracy Gordon. It would be cool to see a lot of people win — but unfortunately only one  person can win it.”

Just by entering this weekend, Luce has already won one race this summer.


Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.