Trackside Now: NE Dodge Dealers Speedweek - Saturday
It's The Opening Act For the TD Banknorth Oxford 250
Oxford Plains Speedway - Oxford, ME
Saturday - 6:35pm ET - Strike that...there has been a change to the lineup again here at Oxford.  One additional Late Model practice has been added to the schedule and that has pushed the Speed 51 Radio show back to 8pm ET.  Hopefully, everyone will be off the track by that point and will be ready to go live with all of the news and happenings from Oxford Plains Speedway (ME).  We're switching into radio show mode now and will begin setting up.  If you are near the track, please stop on by.  We'll be in the camping area off turn one with big speakers set up.

Saturday - 6:00pm ET - Saturday's practice session for the Late Models that will attempt to qualify for Sunday's TD Banknorth Oxford 250 is now complete.  No official times were kept.  Tomorrow morning, practice will begin again and lead into the afternoon's lineup of heat races, consi races and the 250 green flag laps of the TD Banknorth Oxford 250.

We just caught up with Ricky Rolfe who has been doing double duty today practicing his own #51ME and the #51MO of Brackett Motorsports teammate-for-the-weekend Kenny Wallace.  Rolfe reports that both cars are doing very well.  We can also tell you that Joey Pole is very happy with his car as well and that Georgia driver Michael Pope has gotten comfortable with his #51G fielded by BDI Racing.

We are now switching into "radio mode" here at Speed51.com.  That means that we will be preparing for the 7pm ET start of a special 90-minute 51 Radio presentation on RaceTalkRadio.com that will preview the 250.  Confirmed guests for tonight's show include Ricky Rolfe, Joey Pole, Nick Brown, Patrick Laperle, Michael Pope and "Two Lap" Tommy Ricker. 

Saturday - 5:30pm ET - The final practice session of the day for the Late Models is now out on the track.  There hasn't been much drama today, nor have there been any official times kept for the practices.  Teams have not run any transponders.  However, the pit area consensus is that Joey Pole, Brad Leighton and Patrick Laperle were the guys to watch.

Saturday - 3:20pm ET - The sun has actually come out over Oxford Plains Speedway as the Late Models are practicing for Sunday's TD Banknorth Oxford 250.  So far, our unofficial car count stands at just a hair over 60 - with more cars expected in the morning for tomorrow's one-day show of qualifying heats and a 250 green flag lap feature.  Today is practice, but no official times are being kept.  Teams are not even running transponders in the sessions.

Saturday - 3:05pm ET - We caught up with the #8 crew of Gerald Parlin who were all good friends of Charlie Webster who we mentioned passed away as a result of an accident here on Wednesday night. The Parlin crew wanted to honor him by making the hood of their racecar a tribute to him. They didn’t have time to get vinyl made up so they used duct tape. They said that Charlie always used duct tape for his numbers so it was a fitting tribute to their friend.

Saturday - 2:50pm ET - Practice went very well for teenager Nick Brown today.  The Oxford regular, who has already won in the Late Model division here this season, only practiced for about 10 minutes before loading up.  He was very happy with the way that his car was running and is looking forward to tomorrow's race.  Brown will appear on the Speed 51 Radio show tonight starting at 7pm ET along with several other drivers including Joey Pole, Patrick Laperle and Ricky Rolfe. 

Saturday - 2:45pm ET - With the rain delay today, practice for the Late Models has been extended into the evening hours.  This has moved the Speed 51 Radio show to 7pm ET tonight instead of the previously scheduled time of 5pm.  The show will feature many of the drivers from today and a few surprises for sure.  It can be heard by visiting www.RaceTalkRadio.com.

Saturday - 2:15pm ET -  One driver here today who is doing double duty is Tony Ricci from Westbrook, Maine.  Ricci is driving his own Modified in the TVMRS race and a Late Model as a teammate to owner/driver Matt Sanborn in the Late Models.  Both of Ricci's rides sport the number 4.  Ricci has one start in the Oxford 250 - when it was a Pro Stock (Super Late Model) event.

Saturday - 2:10pm ET -  Also at the track today are the True Value Modified Racing Series machines.  Their car numbers so far are in the high teens. 

The winner of Wednesday night's Modified Madness show (which had absolutely nothing to do with the True Value Modified Racing Series itself as was pointed out by that series) is here as well.  Chris Pasteryak is on cloud nine after that $10,000 victory.  He is also joined on his crew this weekend by Waterford Speedbowl Late Modeler Tim Jordan.  The two are Brother in Laws.  Jordan, who missed out on winning last week's Waterford feature by about one foot, is off from racing tonight because his how track did not schedule a Late Model feature to allow any teams that desired to make the trip to Oxford.  No teams took up that offer.  Jordan, who has raced a Late Model at Oxford before, would have loved to have come here with his car, but did not have the sponsorship that he needed to make the trip.

Also here is the #16 Spafco "house car" that will be driven tonight by Ken Barry.  It is a brand new car that is showcases many new features.  Everything is so new on the car that it was being decaled at the track this afternoon.

Among the other TVMRS entrants today are Jon McKennedy, Andy Seuss, Peter Jarvis and Rowan Pennick.

Saturday - 1:55pm ET -  So far there have been two caution periods in the Late Model practice session that will run until 2:30pm. Jim Childs stalled his #10 car and needed a push back to the pit area and the other caution was to allow a wrecker to cross over the track to be in place for its duties.

Saturday - 1:40pm ET -  Mike Rowe was to have practiced the #10 Avery Motorsports car today in place of his son Ben, but the rain has washed away those plans.  The #10 hauler is now closed up as tight as a drum and Mike Rowe is nowhere to be found.  Apparantly, he has left to head down to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine where he will be racing the #24 Pro Series (Super Late Model) car owned by Dick Fowler.  That is Mike Rowe's regular gig for the 2009 season.

Saturday - 1:30pm ET -  The Late Models have finally hit the track for their first official practice session of New England Dodge Dealers Speedweek at Oxford.  It's gray and very humid, but there is no sign of rain anywhere around.

Saturday - 1:15pm ET -  We have just heard that the Late Models will be on track for their first practice session in 15 minutes.  Business is about to pick up here at OPS with close to 60 Late Models in the pits getting ready for their first chance at track time this weekend.

Saturday - 1:10pm ET -  On track action has begun here at Oxford Plains Speedway. The local divisions are on the track now for their practice sessions.

Saturday - 12:35pm ET -  Oxford Plains Speedway regular Ben Ashline comes into the Oxford 250 sitting 10th in the weekly points standings here at OPS. What makes things different for Ashline is the fact that he is racing with broken bones in his right foot. He told us at the Media Day that it does hurt after 40 laps, but he would find a way to make it work if he gets into the 250.

Saturday - 11:50am ET - It isn't raining here at Oxford right now, but it is still very damp and the air is very humid.  It might be awhile before practice kicks off.  In the meantime, here are a few pit notes:

Mike Rowe is here practicing the #10 Avery Motorsports Late Model in place of his son Ben today.  The younger Rowe is in Tennessee for the running of the PASS South race at Newport Speedway tonight and will fly back before tomorrow's heat races.

Ricky Rolfe will practice his own #51ME car today as well as the #51MO for teammate Kenny Wallace, who is racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series tonight at Gateway International Raceway.  The car that Wallace will drive has never been raced before.  "Neon" Leon Heckbert attempted to qualify for last year's 250 with it, but did not make the show.

DJ Shaw will practice a team car to John Donahue today in place of Steve Wallace.  Like his uncle Kenny, Steve is at Gateway racing tonight and will fly in tomorrow morning.

Joey Doiron is here as a bit a surprise entrant this weekend.  Doiron had blown an engine in that car and did not plan on racing in the 250.  On Tuesday night, things got even worse in the Doiron camp when they wrecked their Super Late Model in the Lee USA PASS North race.  Immediately after that event was over, Doiron was considering calling it quits for the season.  That didn't last long.  On Wednesday night, they made the decision to get another engine in the car.  They finished it at midnight last night and got to the track this morning.

-  ACT Late Model point leader Scott Payea is not entered in the TD Banknorth 250.

Eddie MacDonald is here to race this weekend.  The NASCAR Camping World East Series regular and Late Model outlaw reports that his team is starting off with their basic set-up from last season and will adjust on that as needed throughout practice.

-  Canadian Patrick Laperle is eager to get practice going.  His twin brother and crew chief Eric has three new set-ups that they are trying out today.

Saturday - 11:40am ET - We did a rough car count of the cars we saw in the pits this morning and in the tech line. Right now, we count 44 cars, but there will probably be a lot more.  We do know there is a handful more that have not unloaded or have their cars under a tarp. We also know that there are few more trailers in the parking lot waiting to come in.  Of course, there are always entrants on the morning of the race since the 250 is a technically one-day show with qualifying heats and the feature being run on the same afternoon.

Saturday - 11:00am ET - Two sides of human nature were shown this week in the aftermath of Charlie Webster's fatal wreck at Oxford on Wednesday night.

Two days after the wreck, the helmets were passed through the stands at Oxford.  Over $2,200 was raised by the racing community to help Webster's family - especially his young daughters in their time of need.  That figure even came on a night when rain washed out much of the racing program. 

The track also reports:

“There also will be a table Saturday and Sunday where donations will be accepted. Please give generously as you are able.  If you would prefer to mail a donation to the family, please send to Shannon Wheeler, P.O. Box 704, Auburn, ME 04212.

Memorial service information: Funeral services will be held Tuesday, 11 a.m., at Albert & Burpee Funeral Home, 49 Webster Street, Lewiston.  Visitation will be at the funeral home on Monday, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Please feel free to dress casual, as the family says Charlie would have wanted it that way. Interment, Pine Street Cemetery, Auburn.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to his daughters' education, c/o Marcy Webster, 51 Ninth Street, Auburn, ME 04210.”

That track report shows the good side of people.  But for every 99 generous members of the racing community, there is always one bad apple.

That bad apple is someone who allegedly stole the tools from Webster's truck on Wednesday night.  As his family and crew went to the hospital, the truck was left in the OPS parking lot.  Upon their return, all of the tools packed in its bed were gone.

The Oxford Police Department has been going from campsite to campsite at the track to ask anyone who may have seen the incident or have any information to please pass it along to them.  Hopefully, anyone with information will contact the Oxford PD and those responsible for the incident will be brought to justice.  For their sake, they had also better hope that justice comes at the hands of the law.  Judging by the attitude of the racing community, if those responsible for the theft are found at the track without law enforcement around, the results could be very ugly.

Saturday - 10:45am ET - For the past several hours, the air has been full of drizzle and mist here at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), so practice has not taken place at all.  The forecast for the next few hours is looking up though, so we hope to get practice going as soon as Mother Nature will allow.

Saturday - 7:40am ET - It has rained all night here in Maine....sometimes pretty heavily....but the skies are clearing now and things are looking up for a while at least.  The forecast could call for some more storms later in the day, probably around lunchtime, and then clearing skies heading into tonight's lineup of races that is highlighted by a 100-lap True Value Modified Racing Series feature event.  We'll keep our fingers crossed that Saturday's activities will go on just as planned and without any further interruptions.

The best news of all?  Sunday's weather forecast from Weather.com shows only a 10% chance of precipitation and temperatures in the mid to upper 70's - in other words a perfect day for racing.

Saturday - 7:20am ET - The New England Dodge Dealers Speedweek at Oxford Plains Speedway got started on a sad note during the Wednesday night's running of the Oxford Acceleration Series.

Charlie Webster lost his life after a wreck in his feature race.  Webster, 38, wrecked his #75 four-cylinder Running Rebel car in turn two.  He was then transported to an area hospital where he passed away.

The Auburn, Maine driver was a veteran of the Running Rebel class and had three career victories in that division - first in 2004 and most recently in May, 2008.  Webster was right in contention for the championship entering his final race on Wednesday night.  Speed51.com extends our thoughts and prayers to Webster's family, friends, fans and team. 

The Portland Press Herald celebrated Webster's life on Friday by writing about him in their Featured Obituary series.  The story reminded us that there was more to the man than just driving racecars and told of just how much he will be missed.  Click here for the full story.

Saturday - 7:15am ET - The fans are a big part of the 250 weekend here at Oxford.  Check out this release from the track about a special things that they are doing this year to get the fans even more involved in the race:

"TD Banknorth has partnered with Oxford Plains Speedway to bring the ultimate fan the ultimate gifts at this year's 36th annual TD Banknorth 250.

This year's spirit contests include Best Campsite Setup and Oldest TD Banknorth 250 T-Shirt.

For the campsite contest, TD Banknorth and OPS judges will look for the most '250' spirit and best TD Banknorth branding.

Winners of each contest will receive a $250 TD Banknorth Visa Debit Card. For the t-shirt contest, second and third-place winners each will receive a $25 debit card."

Saturday - 7:10am ET - This weekend, there will be 60, 70, 80, 90 or even more drivers all trying to be the next winner of the TD Banknorth Oxford 250.  If they pull it off, they will join a select group of racers who have won the event through the years.  Here is the list of previous 250 winners:

Year  Start  Driver  Hometown  Earnings

1974 19 Kourafas, Joey Sharon, MA $4,500
1975 1 Dion, Dave Hudson, NH $4,500
1976 9 Lindley, Butch Greenville, SC $6,375
1977 11 Biederman, Don Oakville, ONT $6,000
1978 4 Pressley, Bob Asheville, NC $7,050
1979 6 Rosati, Tom Agawam, MA $10,000
1980 7 Bodine, Geoff Chemung, NY $11,200
1981 1 Bodine, Geoff Chemung, NY $21,400
1982 14 Barry, Mike Bolton, VT $16,000
1983 26 Ellis, Tommy Richmond, VA $21,150
1984 10 Rowe, Mike Turner, ME $26,475
1985 17 Dion, Dave Hudson, NH $26,600
1986 13 Bown, Chuck Portland, OR $28,950
1987 10 Aube, Jamie N. Ferrisburg, VT $31,100
1988 7 McCabe, Dick Kennebunkport, ME $34,100
1989 10 Aube, Jamie N. Ferrisburg, VT $35,075
1990 7 Bown, Chuck Portland, OR $51,872
1991 6 Craven, Ricky Newburgh, ME $50,025
1992 20 Dion, Dave Hudson, NH $37,150
1993 4 Hanley, Junior Campbellville, ONT $40,475
1994 2 Lynch, Derek Norwood, ONT $33,975
1995 11 Whitlock, Dave Petrolia, ONT $52,150
1996 1 Gelinas, Larry Scarborough, ME $50,000
1997 26 Rowe, Mike Turner, ME $39,800
1998 2 Nason, Ralph Unity, ME $46,400
1999 2 Nason, Ralph Unity, ME $42,700
2000 24 Nason, Ralph Unity, ME $31,900
2001 1 Drew, Gary Windham, ME $35,400
2002 8 Robbins, Scott Dixfield, ME $36,900
2003 1 Rowe, Ben Turner, ME $34,700
2004 25 Rowe, Ben Turner, ME  $29,700
2005 37 Rowe, Mike Turner, ME  $26,000
2006 2 Whorff, Jeremie Bath, ME  $36,600
2007 30 Brown, Roger Lancaster, NH  $35,800
2008 11 Harvick, Kevin Bakersfield, CA  $37,300

Saturday - 7:00am ET - Before we start, let's get a few housekeeping items out of the way.  If you are looking to catch up on any of the preview news from the New England Dodge Dealers Oxford Speedweek, be sure to visit our Speed51.com index page.  There are stories, schedules and a probable entry list for the race right there.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE TD BANKNORTH OXFORD 250 INDEX PAGE

If you'd like to chat about this race, or any kind of short track racing, be sure to stop on by Motorsport Lounge and their official Speed51.com Short Track Discussion forum.

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL SPEED51.COM DISCUSSION FORUM AT ML



DISCUSS THE WEEKEND EVENTS IN THE OFFICIAL SPEED51.COM FORUM AT MOTORSPORTS LOUNGE NOW! (CLICK HERE)
Kevin Harvick (Left) won last year's Oxford 250 while Glen Luce (Right) was the runner-up.  JAR Racing Photo)
Joey Pole won the ACT race at Oxford earlier this year.  Coudl that be a tune-up to a bigger victory this weekend?
Charlie Webster  (OPS Photo)
The sign says it all - this is Oxford 250 weekend.
The site of the infamous Oxford 250 bonfire.  This will be the happpening place tonight after the Saturday night lineup of races are over.  (51 Photo)
In Memory of Charlie Webster - just as he would have done it himself.  (51 Photo)
Patrick Laperle's 91  (51 Photo)
Ricky Rolfe is practicing Kenny Wallace's #51MO car today. (51 Photo)
A pack of cars in turn two at Oxford during practice. (51 Photo)
The tech line at Oxford. (51 Photo)
Ben Ashline  (51 Photo)
Michael Pope's #51G (51 Photo)
Shawn Martin's #94.   (51 Photo)
Joey Pole's #97 at speed.   (51 Photo)