SHAWN MARTIN WINS A WILD ONE IN FRONT OF HOME CROWD By Justin St. Louis
Oxford Regular Tops ACT Tourers on Night Before The 250
On lap 90 of the American-Canadian Tour’s Maine-ly Action Sports 100 at Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway on Saturday night, it looked like Oxford refugee-turned ACT regular Steve Reny might break trough for his first win. Then on lap 91, it looked like ACT veteran Jamie “Hurricane” Fisher might win his first race in four years. On lap 92, it was all Dennis Spencer. Then Fisher. Then Spencer. Then, out of nowhere, Shawn Martin.
Talk about a crazy finish.
In the early stages of the race, Reny and Martin battled hard for the lead. Reny earned his first ACT “plus/minus” pole position with a +6 rating after qualifying heats. Martin, a former ACT winner at Oxford, started on the outside pole after earning a +4. The pair diced for the lead for 20 laps before Reny was able to break away. From there, he led until lap 69, when former Thunder Road (VT) Speedbowl champion and ACT veteran Jamie Fisher nosed in front during an intense battle.
That’s when it got really wild.
There were 44 cars in the pits that attempted to make the ACT 100 lapper at Oxford (Leif Tillotson Photos)
Following an Eric Williams dump job of Phil Scott on lap 90, the field was bunched together for a restart. Reny poked ahead on the outside to lead lap 90, but contact with third-place man Roger Brown sent the pair spinning off Turn 3 to bring out another yellow on lap 91.
As the field aligned for the impending restart, Fisher lined up next to Doug Coombs, who had inherited the second spot as a result of Reny and Brown’s departures. As starter Mike Wilder showed the clinched green to indicate the start, Coombs’ right-rear tire went flat, allowing the outside lane to pull up. Suddenly, multi-time OPS champion Dennis Spencer found himself on the front row.
As racing resumed, Fisher and Spencer waged a furious battle, trading lanes and trading the lead back and forth. Then on lap 95, an uncharacteristically slow Jean-Paul Cyr limped around the bottom of the track, headed to the pit area. As the leaders approached Cyr to place him a lap down, Fisher, now on the outside, tried to set up a pick move. The intent was to pin Spencer behind Cyr on the inside, but Oxford veteran Spencer kept his foot buried in the floorboard, and contact in Turn 3 left Fisher spinning off the track, bringing out the final caution flag.
All the action allowed Shawn Martin to re-enter the picture, and much to the delight of the Oxford faithful, hometown heroes Spencer and Martin lined up on the front row. Martin got the jump as the green flag flew, and soldiered home to the victory, his second ACT triumph.
“I thought that once we fell off early that was it,” Martin said. “I thought we were in trouble there. With these guys it’s hard to pass, but holy cow this tour group was awesome tonight here at Oxford. What a great time it was, it’s awesome. The guys were getting rough a little bit up front and they ended up just taking each other out. If they would have held back a little bit they all would have had top fives and we would have finished seventh. But luck came our way, and that’s racing sometimes. I love racing ACT, and I wish I could do it full-time.”
Being the highest-finishing OPS regular, the win also gave Martin an automatic starting berth in Sunday’s TD Banknorth 250.
“This is huge, the night before the 250, all these people here, we got a provisional for the 250. We have absolutely no chance to win it, but we’re in and that’s all that matters.”
Spencer finished second in his ACT debut. 63 year-old Joey Laquerre, who fell back as far as 28th in the early going, came back to finish third for his third Top 5 of the season. Brent Dragon had an excellent points night to finish fourth, taking full advantage of the troubles suffered by top point men Cyr, Mark Lamberton, Dave Pembroke, and Ryan Nolin. Rhode Island’s Ryan Vanasse took a season-best fifth place finish, while 17 year-old “Joey Pole” Polewarczyk finished a career-best sixth. Rounding out the Top 10 in order were Scott Payea, Lamberton, A.J. Begin,
Shawn Martin pulls into victory and shows his joy at winning on Saturday night.
Dragon, Dave Whitcomb, Spencer, and Vanasse were heat winners. Oxford regulars Glen Luce and Ron Carpentier won the consi and “B” feature, respectively.
Stay tuned to Speed51.com for leftover goodies this week!