This Was A Show...

Just looking at results (yes actual RESULTS) on Speed51.com and read the info on the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway… 73 LM were on hand for this thing, and guess what? No single car time trials! Instead… qualifying heat races of 12-13 cars followed by last chance races… Starting field of 39 (including provisionals) which meant 34 cars went back in the trailer… The kid who won, Joey Polewarsyk, Jr. continues to be impressive… I hope he makes it to NASCAR just so Darrell & Mike Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Rusty Wallace and the other so-called broadcasters can try and pronounce his name… Usually he just races under “Joey Pole”… Not sure what this race paid to win, probably a bunch, and I know Maine is a lot different than Florida, but still an impressive field and some impressive PROMOTION… Give the fans a full day of RACING and you don’t need 18 “support” classes…
Also congrats to Steve Dorer on a second place run in the Red Bud 300 ARCA/CRA race at Anderson, IN - I think this is the race he won on the last lap last year - They had a decent field of 26 for this one…

Joey won $45,500 including lap-leader money ($100 per lap to lead).

AND, being a crate model show, he probably has less than $10K in the engine.

6 heat races, 3 consolation races, 3 last chance races, and a 250 lap feature… NO practice days, NO time trials, NO endless line of Promoters Options added to the field… it’s all a completely random draw in front of everyone, and you RACE. ALL in a single day, and with an 8 tire MAXIMUM for the entire program.

This race does, and has been doing, a LOT of things right for a looooong time now, and deserves it’s place as one of the “premier” races in the country.

I’ve been to the Oxford 250 and let me tell you, it’s awesome. If you like Late Model racing there is no better event. Oxford is a 1/3 mile track with no walls around it except on the frontstretch. They were one of the first tracks to use that traction enhancing goo in the second groove. The ACT Late Models are almost identical to a Pro Late model except EVERY car has to run the GM 604 crate motor (around $5 k). They also have a spec Koni shock they run that is around $100. The result is one hell of a show with equal cars on a two groove track where you can get real gutsy with your moves since it’s almost impossible to “wall it”. When cars go off the track sometimes there is not even a yellow, and no one bends a clip and destroys their cars. Its all about how well you drive and how good your set up is (without spending a ton of money on shocks and motors). Its all done with heat races, consi’s and last chance races. They normally get over 100 cars every time they run this. 73 cars is a small car count for this event! And it usually pays over $40 grand to win too. The best part is this, the feature race after all that qualifying is 250 GREEN FLAG LAPS! This race has been around a long time and originally started as a Busch Grand National event (the only one in New England at the time). Originally they would run the old Busch guys like Ingram, Ellis, and Houston in HEAT RACES against the track regular Sportsman guys to set the field. The Series regulars HATED this and eventually it went away. It has always been known (even in the Busch days) as the highest paying one day short track race in America.

One small correction Scott… they also allow a Ford Crate engine (don’t know the model number), as I think 3 of the top 5 were Ford powered cars.

Another thing I just remembered… at one point cars went FIVE wide (which didn’t quite work), and a bunch of 4 wide action too. Very few cautions in any of the races. Most heats and consi’s ran green to checkers with a lot of passing going on. Might have been Brian Hoar that came from 9th to 2nd in his 15 lap heat.

Just to qualify for this race is a “home-run” for many of these guys, and basically NONE of them are guaranteed to start.

Wow, that must be new. I know Ford recently added crates to their engine line-up. They have one that competes directly with the GM 603 (FUPS Truck engine) and one that competes with the GM 604. It costs a little more…and makes more power too I guess! I hope it doesn’t give too much of an advantage or that would be detrimental to the ACT concept. If they do, Tom Curley will even up the field I would imagine. And yeah I’ve seen the five wide there! That may not work but I’ve seen 4 wide work and three wide happens all the time during the event. If you make the show you get $1000 MINIMUM!

Why won’t they go back to running the Governor’s Cup like this? Guys too skeered to tear up their stuff on a fast, high-banked, half-mile running heats and consis?

Ken Squire still runs the show up there…I think. It’s done right thats for sure.

Ken Squier runs Thunder Road Speedway in Vermont. Another highly sucessful New England bullring. They too are under the ACT banner and run the same crate Late Models weekly as well as hosting a few of the Tour events. The formula they use is to run the same rules for the top weekly class as the tour. Then not conflict with dates so that the weekly guys can go run the big tour events whenever they want to without changing anything but setup. The tour runs throughout New England and upstate New York. They have a companion tour that runs in Eastern Canada as well. A few times a year they have combination events. All tour events run heats, not time trials and pay real well. Tom Curley, who owns Oxford, came up with this series when the cost of running the Busch North Series got out of control in relation to the purses they could offer. He had a war with Nascar and many years later has won because Busch North (Nascar North, Busch Grand National North, Camping World East, K&N Pro Series East whatever you want to call it) is now a developmental series for high-dollar Cup teams and doesn’t race at all in the Northeast except for New Hampshire and Dover (when they used to run the whole series there before).

Owner of Oxford Plains

Sorry to correct you Scott but according to the website
1999
Bill Ryan assumes full ownership of Oxford Plains Speedway.

Yep, Thunder Road. Got my New England tracks mixed up…my bad.

Thanks Mark. I wasn’t aware. I just assumed he was still there since that is where the ACT Tour started. It seems that Tom is now running the ACT Tour as the Series Director and acting as the promoter of Squier’s Thunder Road in Vermont and running the tour office out of there. Another cool thing that they have accomplished is having races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Fall Event on the 1 mile oval for the past couple of years. They also run on and off a Sanair Super Speedway in Quebec. Sanair is a funky .826 mile triangle shaped track slightly reminiscent of Poconos shape. Big track racing for a (fairly) low-buck price!