Pre-TD Banknorth 250 News and Notes by Mike Twist
Last Minute Tidbits Leading Up to Race Weekend
Late Models have a pass from Lee this week to try and bring home a 250 trophy. (51 Photo)
AREA TRACKS ADJUST TO 250 WEEKEND
In addition to the ACT Late Model tour and the ACT Castrol Series in Quebec, there are also over a half-dozen tracks in New England from which the TD Banknorth 250 can draw Late Models from this year. In the true sprit of cooperation, and in helping to secure some bragging rights for their own facilities, several of those tracks are making changes to their schedules this week to allow their teams to head to Oxford.
Lee USA Speedway (NH) gave its Late Model division the night off for this week’s races on Friday night. On the track’s website this message is posted:
“The staff and management wish you all the very best [at Oxford]. Make us proud and bring home the checkers.”
The Late Modelers at White Mountain Motorsports Park do get to race this Saturday night, but the event is a non-points one – giving teams who wish to go to Oxford a penalty-free week of missing the show at their home track.
Wiscasset Raceway (ME) is moving their weekly show from Saturday night to Friday night this week, to give Late Model teams, and fans, an easier time to make it to Oxford.
Late Model teams that regularly run on Thursday nights at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) also got an easier week leading up to the 250, but it wasn’t by design. The track's
regular racing card was rained out this week, leaving none of the teams having to scurry around and do any last minute repairs before towing to Oxford.
WEATHER LOOKS GOOD FOR 250
Hopefully, the rainout at Thunder Road is going to be the only one of its sorts this week. While earlier in the week, the forecast for Oxford might have appeared a little bit iffy – right now, it couldn’t look better for the weekend. Temps will be in the high 70’s and one major weather service predict a zero percent chance of precipitation on Saturday and only a 10 percent chance on Sunday. Trust me, there aren’t many race weekends in New England that look that good in advance.
The Rowes plan on doing double duty this weekend with Ben Rowe and his father Mike, who are currently first and second in the PASS North point standings, set to race on that tour in Antigonish, Nova Scotia on Saturday and then back at Oxford for Sunday’s 250.
But in case the weather does not cooperate and the race in Antigonish is run on Sunday, their 250 teams have lined up a pair of very notable substitute drivers. Nine-time Oxford Pro Stock champion Jeff Taylor is lined up to drive Ben Rowe’s #4 Richard Moody Racing entry if he cannot make it to Oxford. Meanwhile, former NASCAR Busch North/Busch East Series standout and Oxford alumnus Tracy Gordon is ready to step into the Lux Enterprise’ #24 for Mike Rowe if necessary.
LEPAGE TESTS – AND PICKS UP A TEAMMATE
Kevin Lepage was able to take a few laps at Oxford during a Thursday test session.
Actually, Lepage (who got lost driving to the track because the exit numbers and roads had changed slightly since he had raced at Oxford last) only got to take two shakedown runs with his machine before it started to rain, but he was still happy to get any track time.
The Vermont native, who has made in big in NASCAR’s major leagues over the past decade or so, has made four starts in the 250 – with a best finish of 11th coming in 1985.
Jeff Taylor knows his way around Oxford - and he might get to show it this weekend. (OPS Photo)
Previous winners of the Oxford 250 who are expected to be entered for this year’s race are Mike Rowe (1984, 1997 and 2005), Ben Rowe (2003 and 2004), Jamie Aube (1987 and 1989), Scott Robbins (2002), and Jeremie Whorff (2006).
DRAGON WAGON ROLLS TOWARDS OXFORD
Bobby Dragon is a last-minute entrant in the TD Banknorth 250. The Vermont racing veteran has two fourth-place finishes in the race (1984 and 1988).
WILLIAMS COMES HOME TO RACE AT OXFORD
Corey Williams has been very busy this season. He moved down to North Carolina from his native state of Maine over the racing off-season, picked up a gig as the car chief for the Andy Santerre Motorsports NASCAR Busch East Series team of Jeffrey Earnhardt and keeps on racing whenever he gets a chance. He’s done pretty well with that – winning the last two PASS South events in his own #47 Super Late Model.
The hood of Williams' #12 machine.
Lepage’s car is a former Pro Stock that has been converted to Late Model specs. It is an orange #88 fielded by Archie St. Hilaire. The car was formerly raced by Alan Tardiff at Beech Ridge and in a few PASS North events.
Tardiff won’t be far from his old car this weekend. The St. Hilaire team has acquired a second machine, a former Scott King-driven Late Model, and will run that young racer in the car with the #8 on it this weekend.
DIFFERENT GAME, SAME DRIVERS
The TD Banknorth 250 changed from running Super Late Models/Pro Stocks in 2006 to ACT-style Late Models this season. While many drivers won’t be making the switch in equipment, a surprising number of them will be doing just that.
Looking at the nearly 90 entries from 2006, there are 20 drivers who were in the pits last year with a car and are also expected to be racing for a starting berth in this year’s 250.
Lepage attracted plenty of media attention during his Oxford test. (OPS Photo)
This weekend, he’ll be returning to his roots. Williams has entered the 250 driving the #12 car of Steve Reny.
The sponsor for the car is not an automotive business or a trucking company. It’s actually another race. The DNK 250 will be held on August 17, 2008 at Wiscasset Raceway (ME) and will feature Pro Stock/Super Late Model cars going for a winner’s purse of $30,000. The event is the sponsor of Williams’ entry this weekend.
Sponsoring a racecar is actually a trick from the Oxford 250 playbook. For many years, the race and the track, under the ownership of Bob Bahre, sponsored NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup entries down South. More recently, the track backed Mike Rowe in the 2006 Easter Bunny 150 PASS South event at Hickory Motor Speedway. Rowe flew TD Banknorth 250 colors on his #24 car that day and won the race.
ADAMS ON FIRE ENTERING THE WEEKEND
Travis Adams is the hottest driver of them all entering the TD Banknorth 250. The weekly competitor at Oxford has won the previous three Late Model feature events this summer. He’s also a two-time Late Model champ at Oxford and a favorite when it comes to keep the 250 trophy close to home this year.