Travis Khiel - “You know Ben and Mike (Rowe) are going to be hard to beat, but I would say Cassius Clark. We've run six PASS races together this year. He's won four of 'em, and the two he didn't win was because he broke.”

Ben Rowe - “It's hard to pick against Kyle [Busch]. He showed everybody last year that he had the car to beat, and he probably was going to win the race if it wasn't for a bent lug nut. Of course, I've been racing against Cassius all year long and haven't been able to see him."

Cassius Clark - “I'll pick Jeff Taylor. He's running real strong every week. He'll be tough to beat."
Steve Perry, Co-Owner SP2 Motorsports with drivers Mike Rowe and Kyle Busch – “Patrick Laperle – I think that this is one of those years where he can do it.  He ran well at Sanair [in the big ACT show there], he won the latest race at Oxford.  Nobody is going to give him his due, but he can do it.“
WHO IS GOING TO WIN THE TD BANKNORTH 250? by Mike Twist
The Racers and the "Experts" Make Their Predictions
The Competitors –

Kyle Busch – When asked who would be tough to beat, Busch rattled off several names - Patrick Leperle, Mike Rowe, Ben Rowe, the Clarks, Craven, the other Cup drivers and then he stopped abruptly.  “I don’t know,” said Busch.  “It’s going to be tough to beat everyone here.”

Joey Polewarczyk – “I think it will be Ricky Craven or Kyle Busch.  I’ve never seen Craven race there, but from what I’ve heard he’s the man there at Oxford and last year when we went there to watch and we saw Kyle Busch come from the back.  I think that he wants it and he was good last year.  He should be good again.”

Corey Williams – “It’s hard to pick.  There are so many good cars.  Kyle Busch, Scott Chubbuck, Cassius Clark, Patrick Laperle and Mike Rowe will all be strong.  If I had to pick one, it would be Kyle [Busch].  He’s going to be strong.
It’s always fun to try and see into the future.  That’s why this week, Speed51.com asked a number of competitors and a few “experts” who they thought would win the TD Banknorth 250.  Competitors were not allowed to pick themselves and the answers were quite interesting.  The 250 is made up of Oxford regulars, PASS regulars, Canadian drivers and a few NASCAR Nextel Cup guests.  Interestingly enough, our top four vote getters represented each of those categories.
The #91 of Patrick Laperle is another favorite.  (Norm Marx Photo)
Travis Benjamin – “You can never count out Mike Rowe.  Johnny Clark is always good too, but if I had to bet on one person, it would be Mike.”

Alan Tardiff – “I’d say Kyle Busch based on how he did last year.  He was quick and the car never dropped off during the race.  He had problems in the pits and if it wasn’t for that, he probably would have lapped the field.”

Tony Ricci – “Scott Mulkern – He knows who to get around Oxford, he was really good late in the PASS race there earlier this month and he really wants to win the 250.”
Gary Drew: - “Ricky Bobby, From Talladega Nights. (laughs) No, the way Jeff Taylor is going, I'm going to have to say Jeff. If he gets into the race early in the day, he's going to be a tough guy to beat. His car is working so good and smooth. I think if he gets a good draw and qualifies up front, you'd better watch out.”

Bill Whorff Jr. - “It's probably going to be Mike Rowe. It seems like those repeat winners are always the ones to watch. He's not new at this.” 
Cassius Clark has won four PASS North races this year, so he should be tough at Oxford.  (51 Photo)
Chris Kennison - “I'm probably going to have to go with Mike Rowe. He hasn't run great at Oxford this year, but he's been good everywhere else.”

Mike Rowe – “Kyle Busch. He's serious about this. He was there Monday working on the car with us. He wants it to go right. Other than Kyle, I'd say Jeff Taylor is the one to beat with the year he's having.”

Jeremie Whorff - “Kyle Busch seems determined to win it this year. Last year he was dominant for most of the race, and he seems pretty serious about winning this time.”
Jay Cushman, Team Owner of the #29 Cushman Competition Ford driven by Scott Chubbuck – Kyle Busch – He’s very good in these cars and he is focused on winning this race and he gives his team good information on what he wants in the car.”

Joe King, Team Owner of the #11 driven by Denny Hamlin - “I hope it's J.J. Yeley, or somebody in a Hamke chassis.”

The “Experts” –

Bill Ryan, Jr., Owner Oxford Plains Speedway – The person responsible for putting on the 250 wouldn’t give us a straight answer on his pick to win, but he would give a few hints.  “I’m in an uncomfortable position here, so I’ll agree with Gary Drew and say Ricky Bobby, the character from Talladega Nights.  Seriously, there are some good competitors there – Jeff Taylor, Mike Rowe, Ben Rowe, Kyle Busch, Ricky Craven.  I haven’t heard anyone mention Johnny Clark and I know he’ll be good.  Denny Hamlin is really strong in this type of car.  Gary Drew has shown that he can win.  I don’t know.  I’m not going to answer your question.  I’ll just dance around it.” 
Kyle Busch is serious about winning the 250 this year.  (OPS Photo)
say much, but his driving speaks volumes.  His car owner Jay Cushman knows Oxford better than anyone and they are due to win the big race.  Of course, it’s Oxford so you can never, ever count Mike Rowe out either.”

George Campbell, Busch East Scene – When asked for a prediction, Campbell didn’t waste any time.  “As always, it’s Mike Rowe,” said Campbell.  “He’s the King of Oxford and I just can’t bring myself to pick anyone else.”

Jamie Williams, Racing Photographer – Patrick Laperle – he always runs well at Oxford and he’s racing in the ACT race the night before the 250 to get some more seat time.  Junior Hanley isn’t racing the 250 this year, so I’ll go with the second best Canadian driver ever.

Mark Truman, Oxford 250 Historian – “How could Jeff Taylor not have won an Oxford 250 already?  I’m going with him.  I don’t see how he couldn’t win one of these in his career.  He’s so good there and know how to get around in the outside groove.”

Matt Dillner, Speed51.com - "Ben Rowe...why? The new combination is starting to click. All they need is some luck on their side. If the car stays together and lady luck is on their side he is my pick. I mean...cmon...he was the only guy a few weeks ago at Thompson able to hold off Cassius Clark before A tire blew!  He is my pick...the 250 turns his year around.  It is the one race that can do that for him!"

Final tallies –

Kyle Busch – 6 ½ votes
Mike Rowe – 3 votes
Jeff Taylor – 3 votes
Patrick Laperle – 3 votes
Travis Benjamin – 1 vote
J.J Yeley – 1 vote
Cassius Clark – 1 vote
Scott Mulkern – 1 vote
Ben Rowe - 1 vote
“Ricky Bobby” – 1 vote
Ricky Craven – ½ vote


CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SPEED51.COM 2006 TD BANKNORTH 250 STORY INDEX




Bob Dillner, Speed51.com/SPEED Channel – “I am going to go with Travis Benjamin and here is why… If I pick Kyle Busch, everybody would say I’m picking one of my Cup boys.  If I pick Mike Rowe, everybody would say, “Wow, you’re really going out on a limb, huh?”  If I pick Cassius Clark, everybody would say, “That’s easy, pick the guy who is dominating this year.”  I thought about Benji and Johnny Clark, but the way I look at it is, heck, go with somebody not a lot of people are going to pick (no offense Travis).  If I’m right, people go, “Wow, I guess he really knew something there.”  If I’m wrong everybody will forget my pick.  Travis has been running well this year and he’s a helluva nice guy so that’s who I’m going with.”

Mike Twist, Speed51.com  – “There are easily two dozen guys who could win this race, but I’ll go with Patrick Laperle and put Scott Chubbuck a close second.  I think that the winner is going to be the guy who can use the outside lane the best in the race.  Laperle was awesome up there in the PASS race at Oxford earlier this month and he knows how to pace himself.  Don’t count Chubbuck out either.  He doesn’t
Mike Rowe has won twice down in North Carolina this year.  Will the 250 be his first Northern victory of the season? .(Norm Marx Photo)