TIRES IN SHORT SUPPLY AT OXFORD 250 by Mike Twist
Track Gets Involved to Balance the Halfs and Half-Nots
That tradition continued on the Saturday night of the TD Banknorth 250 weekend.  The Maine-Ly Action Sports 100 was an ACT Late Model race, but it was the Oxford Late Model hotshots who showed the way.  Shawn Martin out-dualed Dennis Spencer, Jr. for the victory with ACT regulars Joey Laquerre, Brent Dragon and Ryan Vanasse in tow.

Speed51.com will have the full story of the ACT race, as well as our standard plate of leftovers, coming soon.

Other Saturday night winners were Brian McClure (Limited Sportsman), Rusty Gaghan (Strictly Stock B), Sumner Sessions (Strictly Stock) and Bill Thibeault (Mini Stock).
LOCALS SHOW THE WAY ON SATURDAY NIGHT

Oxford Plains Speedway has always been a tough place for outsiders to come in and take a stranglehold.  Just ask guys like Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon or Bobby Labonte how they finished against some of the native drivers at the track through the years.
The Dion team goes to work under the hood of the #29.  (51 Sports)
DION HAS TROUBLESOME SATURDAY

Three-time 250 winner Dave Dion is back for this year’s race after spending a few seasons away from the big race.  Dion shook down his Pro Stock earlier this month in the 150-lap PASS North event at Oxford, but found another problem had surfaced when he returned to the track this weekend.  On Saturday, his familiar orange #29 developed an oil leak.


“It never surfaced at all in the 150 lapper and we’ve never touched the motor since then,” said Dion.  “It’s either a fitting or a gasket; it’s not big deal.  The big deal is to make sure that it is fixed before we go out there and race.”

Spending time fixing an oil leak instead of fine-tuning his set-up was a little bit of a disadvantage for the Dion Brothers team.

“It’s kind of messing up our rhythm.  We need to come in with our minds focused on the handling instead on whether you are smoking again.  Worrying about the oil leak took my mind off the chassis stuff.  I don’t think that we gained any since we’ve been here, but we haven’t lost
practice, went out and were competitive.  We weren’t the fastest car, but we weren’t the slowest either.  We tried to fix that problem – changed plugs, charged carburetors, just about everything and then figured out that oil pump let go.  We didn’t want to hurt the motor any more.

“We wanted to at least take a shot through the heat races and the consi and we couldn’t, but there’s always next year they say.”

BUSY DAY FOR LAPERLE

Patrick Laperle won the most recent big show at Oxford.  He was the victor in the PASS North event here earlier this month.  That should give him a boost of confidence entering the 250 weekend, but Laperle is so superstitious that he doesn’t even want to discuss it.
Shawn Martin out-dualed the touring guys at Oxford. (Trudy Marshall/Jarracing Photography Photo)
any either.  We’re just kind of stuck.”

KHIEL CHANGES ENGINES

Another team that spent Saturday after under their hood was the Richard Moody Racing operation of Travis Khiel.  After Saturday’s practice was over, the team changed engines in their #4 car.
“We cracked the heads on it earlier this year,” said Khiel.  “In the last PASS race here, we put some ceramic sealer in it and got it sealed up with that, but today it was pushing water out at only 160 degrees, so it must have cracked again.  We’re just going to save it before it really breaks.”

Khiel said that the 250 is not a race for taking chances with a possible engine problem

“You want to make sure that your equipment is as good as possible.  To go in with a set of cracked heads wouldn’t be good.”

FIRST SHOT AT 250 ENDS EARLY FOR JOEY POLE

Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk had high hopes when it came to taking a crack at making his first TD Banknorth 250, but his #97 team had problems in practice that forced them to withdraw from the race.

“We came here yesterday and the engine had a break-down problem in the first practice.  We tried it the first
Travis Khiel's team changes engines on Saturday afternoon.  (51 Photo)
“I don’t even want to talk about that,” laughed Laperle.  “The car is good and now we just have to be lucky in the draw.  I know that we’ve got a good car.”

Laperle had a busy day on Saturday practicing both his Pro Stock and ACT Late Model.

“I woke up at six this morning and have been preparing both cars,” said Laperle.  “I think that this is the last time that I’m going to do it.  It’s just too much.”

Driving both in both races might be fun, but there was not much information that could be transferred between the two racecars.
“They are so different with the shocks and the engines,” said Laperle.  “It’s not the same thing, but it’s for the people in the stands and the sponsors.    

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Laperle's team had cars coming and going on Saturday. (51 Photo)