Oxford Plains Speedway to Host PASS and ACT, Late Models
Oxford, Maine – It’s the challenge of mastering a vexing track that keeps drivers coming back to the Oxford Plains Speedway. Several racers expressed that sentiment at OPS media day this week.
A salad salesman from Unity, Maine is listed in the history books for winning not just one, but three ACT Late Model Stock car races at OPS.
The story of Oxford Plains Speedway begins in April 1950 when George Damon bought 200 acres of land on which to build a racing facility. Six weeks later the track opened and it hosted its first event. The original Oxford Plains Speedway was a 1/2 mile dirt track and drew a then-state record crowd of 12,000 spectators for its opening day event.
In 1961 Damon sold the track to local businessmen Hayward Luck, Asa Packard, and Thomas Ryan who transformed the track from a 1/2 mile dirt track to a 1/3 mile asphalt oval. In 1964 Bob Bahre purchased the track and made it one of the most important short tracks in New England. During his lengthy tenure at the helm, the track hosted three NASCAR Cup Series races. Bobby Allison won his first Cup Series race at the track in 1966 and Richard Petty won the last Cup Series race there in 1968.
The track was repaved in 1978 and became one of the most modern and competitive facilities in New England. It also became the home of a weekly Late Model division and the annual Oxford 250. The latter is still the richest single-day Late Model race in America and has attracted such names as Jeff and Ward Burton, Dale Jarrett, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Mark Martin.
Since its inception, Oxford Plains Speedway has received enormous media coverage, both within the state of Maine and nationally. Today, the track is owned by Tom Mayberry and hosts both PASS and OPS events each season. Among the biggest is the annual Oxford 250, which has been sanctioned by various series over the years.
Joey Polewarczyk, driving the number 97NH Ford Fusion, wins the 39th annual Oxford 250 Late Model feature. He outruns defending champion Billy Childs and Jeff Libby to claim the victory.
ACT Late Models
In just a few weeks, Maine’s biggest public racing facility will host the Northeast’s premier stock car sanctioning bodies on the same weekend. For the first time in history, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models and American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will race together at Oxford Plains Speedway in a twin 150-lap event on Saturday night.
The 14,000-seat track, which opened in 1950 as a half-mile dirt racetrack, is well known around the state for its annual HP Hood Oxford 250 race held each August that has been run under different sanctioning bodies over the years. The track also hosts various motor mayhem events throughout the year including smokey doughnut shows, spectator drags, jack and jill races, and enduros.
Last season, ACT racer Eddie MacDonald swept both the Saturday and Sunday night races at Oxford with wins in both the Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Street Stocks and PASS AIM Recycling Super Late Model Presented By Kenny U-Pull events. Several other ACT drivers are expected to be in the mix at Oxford including 2015 ACT Tour champion Derek Gluchacki. The North Dartmouth, Massachusetts pilot has a good record at the Route 26 Speedway with a win and two top-10 finishes in his seven previous visits to the track.
Another name to watch will be Groveton, New Hampshire racer Shawn Swallow. The defending AIM Recycling Oxford 250 champion has finished inside the top 10 in each of his last two visits to the track and is always a contender against a strong field of touring drivers.
ACT has one of the most varied and competitive rosters in the region. In addition to a variety of power plants, teams run a wide range of suspensions and tire compounds. This diversity makes for close and exciting racing that has led to some of the most memorable finishes in recent PASS history. The 2021 ACT Tour championship will be crowned on October 22 at Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts with the Haunted Hundred event featuring the PASS Super Late Models and Tri-Track Modifieds.
PASS Super Late Models
For the first time in a long time, the Pro All Stars Series will race at Oxford Plains Speedway this weekend. The PASS Super Late Models will compete in 150-lap races on both Friday and Sunday. The event will mark the beginning of a new partnership between the two organizations that will run doubleheader events at various tracks across New England during the summer. The PASS-ACT Late Model pairing will also take place at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut and White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, NH.
It will be a busy season for the PASS Super Late Models, who will visit eight different speedways in four states. The tour will crown its champion at the conclusion of the Oxford 250 in October. The 2021 schedule was released Wednesday and features 21 events, including a doubleheader at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
Berwick, ME’s Austin Texas is looking to add to his impressive resume when he hits the track this weekend for the PASS AIM Recycling Super Late Model Presented by Kenny U-Pull opener at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday. The racer from Gray is coming off a win at the speedway in June and sits second in the PASS South standings behind Max Cookson.
The racer has a few more races left before the start of the 250-lap event at the track, but he knows it’s going to be tough. “The field is really good, and it’s going to be hard to get to the front,” he said.
Defending AIM Recycling Oxford 250 winner DJ Shaw, six-time track champion Johnny Clark and former race winners Ben Rowe, Travis Benjamin, and Scott Robbins are among the other title contenders on the pre-entry list. Maine racers Ryan Green, Reid Lanpher, Scott McDaniel, and John Peters will be on the grid as well.
The Oxford Plains Speedway is owned by Bill Ryan and operated by Tom Mayberry, who purchased the facility in 2012. Ryan was a major force in regional racing for years until his passing in 2013. In 2012, Mayberry took over the operation and partnered with the ACT Series to draw more entries to the area.
Pine Tree State 125
When it comes to short-track racing in New England the Oxford Plains Speedway has always been a mainstay. The legendary Maine oval has been a staple on the ACT Tour calendar for forty-four years and is home to the prestigious Oxford 250. The event has seen its fair share of champions including Mike Rowe, Jean-Paul Cyr, and Dave Dion. Its success has also brought in a number of NASCAR stars like Jeff and Ward Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, and Bobby Labonte.
The facility opened in 1950 as a half-mile dirt racetrack with shallow banked turns. A year later it was paved and the wooden grandstands were replaced with a structure that could seat 14,000 fans. Throughout the years, OPS has hosted a variety of motor mayhem events like smokey doughnut shows, spectator drags, and enduros.
Known around the state for its annual occurrence of the Oxford 250 race, the speedway also hosts a variety of other divisions each week. The Wednesday night Oxford Acceleration Series features five different divisions while the Saturday night Oxford Championship Series includes Super Late Models, Street Stocks, Bandits, and Figure 8’s. It is also known for hosting several Pro All-Star Series races and Modifieds during the year.
With a track that offers such a wide variety of racing divisions, it is no surprise that the Pine Tree State 125 attracts a diverse crowd every year. The 125th edition will be no different and it is expected to sell out the grandstands once again.
The ACT Late Models are the headliner for the event with PASS and Tri Track Modifieds also competing. The PASS Super Late Models have a history of great competition at the track and have won the last two events. The winner of the 125th edition will be awarded a checkered flag worth a minimum of $125,000.
The top contenders for the race will include ACT points leader Dylan Payea and defending champion D.J. Shaw. The former is looking for his first win of the season while the latter is seeking to defend his title from the younger upstarts in the series. A win for either would be huge for the ACT Tour in general and especially at Oxford.