Wilson Wows Them at Home, Another Bad Luck Run for Travis and (a) Moore
WILSON USES HOME TRACK ADVANTAGE TO FINISH SECOND
Alan Wilson proved on Saturday night that there is no such thing as underestimating a home track advantage at Oxford. The driver of the #53 car is a rookie on the PASS tour, but a veteran of racing at the 3/8th mile Oxford oval. In fact, he’s been racing for close to 30 years and was the 1979 Limited Sportmen and 1984 and 1989 Charger champion. He has 50 career victories at the track.
Wilson sure looked like he knew how to get around the track Saturday night. He scored a dominating victory in the second 50-lap segment of the night. He got caught in a multiple car incident early in the third segment and spun off the lead lap. He made his lap up under green and went on to finish second overall under the Triple 50 format.
“It was a good night, I’m not complaining,” said Wilson after climbing out of his car. “I was in my share of fracases. We got a lap down in the last segment and made it up. That’s not easy to do here. I’ll tell you, the guys did an awesome job and it was a great night.”
And what about that home track advantage?
“It definitely helped. We go to these other tracks that other guys have been to at least two or three times and I’m lost. This is my home turf.”
Wilson almost scored an upset victory last year in the biggest event of the season at Oxford, the Banknorth 250. Wilson led late in the going for 63 laps in that race before sliding off the backstretch and finishing fifth. This season, he has something to prove in the classic summer event.
“I’m looking forward to the 250,” said Wilson. I’m out for revenge from last year.”
NOT A FUN NIGHT FOR MOORE
Another driver with plenty of laps around the Oxford Plains Speedway is Busch North legend Kelly Moore. Moore entered Saturday night’s PASS event with the hopes of having a little bit of fun returning to his roots. That didn’t happen with his 18th-place finish.
“It’s fun when you run good,” said Moore. “But we didn’t run good, so it wasn’t much fun tonight. We had a good time up until the feature. The car ran a lot better in practice than in the feature. We’ll just have to make it better or we won’t run it again. I don’t want to run like that. We didn’t run very respectable and I’m definitely a better driver, so I’m not going to flounder around like that out there.”
The performance from this past weekend leaves a question mark as to whether Moore will be back for July’s Banknorth Oxford 250, but if he’s not entered for that race, it’s likely that his son Ryan will be.
“If we can’t get it better for the 250, we’ll run the other car,” explained Moore. “Who will be driving it [depends on what
to put on the car. The right rear only had fifty laps. A lot of teams put new tires on it the second segment and didn’t save anything for the third one. We saved something for the third and I think we would have been even better than in the first two, but I don’t know.”
Benjamin isn’t taking his misfortune in stride any longer.
“I don’t know what I’ve ever done to be punished like this, but we’re going to get them one of these days. Every week it’s been something. Our finishes just don’t show how well we’ve been running.”
The perfect setting for Benjamin to have his luck turn around could be at Unity Raceway this weekend. It’s where Benjamin cut his teeth in racing and still competes weekly in the midweek Modified division.
“Going to my home track will be nice. I’m happy to go there. We’ll just have to go and stay out of trouble I guess.”
DOWN, UP, DOWN & UP NIGHT AT OXFORD FOR WILLIAMS
Sophomore PASS driver Corey Williams stepped up his game for all to see at Oxford. He had a leaky value cover gasket in his heat race and DNF’ed. But came back to run seventh in the first 50 lapper. Field inversion put him to the back of the next segment and just two laps into that run, he got spun entering turn three after contact from Kelly Moore.
We probably had one of the better cars out there tonight. We definitely had a top three car in the final segment. Cassius was faster and Benji was a little bit quicker.”
Being able to race with some of the top names in the series was something that Williams felt right at home doing.
“It’s a good feeling to be running with those guys,” said Williams. “I’ve always watched them run and racing up there with them is a good feeling. Hopefully, we’ll get one of these someday soon.”
ROWE COMES BACK FOR TOP THREE
When points were tallied, Ben Rowe finished third overall. He was a little surprised to find that fact out.
“I don’t know how,” said Rowe. “The first segment, we were good but that’s because we started up front. On the second segment, they got what they wanted I guess with the slow guys up front. There were six or eight cars that were just in the way. They tried not to be, but one would go one way and one would go the other way, so we’d have to split them.”
Alan Wilson tries to save a spinning racecar in the third segment at Oxford. Note that his eyes are on his mirror to avoid putting the car in the way of further harm. (Norm Marx Photo)
car they bring back]. That’s Ryan’s car so if his goes better, we’ll run his car with him driving instead.”
CASSIUS FOLLOWS IN HIS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS
Like Ryan Moore, Cassius Clark grew up watching his father race in the NASCAR Busch North Series. Billy Clark, known as the “Farmington Flyer”, was also quite a shoe at Oxford with twenty career victories there. Even the car owner of Clark’s #8 car, Ed Chapman, has four victories at Oxford to his credit.
Meanwhile, Cassius had only won there once in a Legends car. After practicing at Oxford for the rained out April PASS event, he didn’t think that he was going to get much of a chance at #2 anytime soon, but he was wrong.
“I think that we probably would have had a better run tonight if a pretty well known veteran didn’t take us out of the points in the second race,” said Williams. “We found a few problems after that segment was over Our steering rack was full of rocks from spinning.”
Williams completed act two in the 30th position, but he didn’t let that get him down. He promptly started up front in segment three, led the most laps of that portion of the show and settled in to finish third behind Cassius Clark and Ben Rowe.
Cassius Clark's #8 ride. (Norm Marx Photo)
“That’s pretty cool really. Coming into this week, we didn’t know how things would turn out. The first time here, we really weren’t all that great. We made a few changes and I guess they worked out pretty well.”
Clark remembers watching his dad at Oxford.
“I remember sitting up there in turn one and watching him every week,” said Clark. “It’s pretty neat for me to be out there myself now.”
Now Clark has some catching up to do with 18 more victories at Oxford needed to tie his father. No race would be better to count towards that for Clark than the upcoming 250.
“We’re ready for the big one now,” said a smiling Clark in victory lane.
MONKEY TAKES ANOTHER RIDE ON BENJAMIN'S BACK
Two things have been pretty consistent through Travis Benjamin’s 2005 racing season. First, he has been in the position for a trop finish just about anywhere that he goes. Second though is the fact that somewhere between that finish lies a mountain of bad luck.
This week at Oxford, Benjamin finished segment one in the fifth position, completed segment two in seventh after a field inversion and then picked up hitchhiking money who jumped on his back in the final 50 lapper. This time, the #17 car got stuck in the middle of a multi-car wreck not of Benjamin’s doing.
CHUBBUCK GETS TOP FIVE FINISH AFTER MISSING THE SET-UP
Scott Chubbuck nursed his car to a top five finish. He stayed out of trouble to collect a 10th, 11th and sixth in the three 50 lappers and although he didn’t make any headlines in the race, he was right there in fifth when all was said and done.
Not bad for a night when Chubbuck admits that he and his team missed the set-up
“We changed a spring before the feature and we probably shouldn’t have,” Said Chubbuck. “We went soft of the right front and thought it would help us. Instead, it hurt us.”
The triple 50 format worked out pretty well for the Chubbuck and his Cushman Engineering team.
“It probably helped us, if it had just gone green for a regular 150 lapper, we would have really been in trouble because we fell back bad at the beginning of the third segment. We’re happy all things considered. That wasn’t too bad.”
Ben Rowe, ready for battle. (51 Photo)
And splitting racecars on a tight track was a recipe for disaster.
“Somebody spun and Johnny [Clark] was in front of me. He ran into someone and I ran into him. Our water went to 240, 260 so we needed to pit and go to the back just to finish. We patched it up and the third segment, we were pretty decent. We weren’t as good as the #8 [Cassius Clark] car. He and the #24 [Mike Rowe] were heads and tails above everyone else.”
“I was just going for the most points possible. I was shooting for a top 10 and we went into the final segment fifth overall, so then I wanted to just maintain that. But it was a good deal that we moved up from there. We came out of here halfway decent.”
“Everyone just kind of checked up there early in the run and someone behind me didn’t see it. I really don’t know. They went over the right rear of the car and that bent the trailing arm.”
The killed the strategy that the #17 team had planned for the end of the race.
“We had a strategy where we only changed one tire on every stop, so in the third segment, we still had a new tire
Kelly Moore (51 Photo)
Corey Williams goes into the spin cycle as the #00 of Ben Rowe and the black #17 of Kelly Moore stack up behind him. (Norm Marx Photo)
The left rear is askew on Travis Benjamin's #17 car (Norm Marx Photo)