WATERBURY, Vt. – For many American-Canadian Tour Flying Tiger racers in Vermont and New Hampshire, the racing campaign now has an end-of-season bonus.
The famed division is making its first trip to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. for a 75-lap showdown as part of PASS 400 Weekend.
The entry list for the Flying Tiger Oxford Open has already surpassed expectations and continues to grow as the big day reaches closer.
Top weekly racers from through the region such as Jason Woodard, Cooper Bouchard, Mike Martin, Tyler Austin, and Christian Laflamme are ready to tackle the three-eighths-mile oval for the first time.
“The second ACT mentioned it was a possibility – I think it was at White Mountain – I was sitting next to my buddy Colin (Cornell), and I said, ‘Dude, that’s huge. Are you in?’,” Hinesburg’s Bouchard recalled. “He said, ‘Yeah, I’m in.’ That was before there were even any details out. When Cris (Michaud) mentioned they were thinking about doing it, I thought, ‘that’s an easy yes for me. I’ll cancel whatever plans I have just to do that.’ It’s not often that something like this happens.”
The Flying Tigers are the oldest active division sanctioned by ACT and have long been considered the top support division in the Northeast. The modern incarnation of the Tiger class has been a weekly division at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl since 1982.
Flying Tigers are also on the weekly card at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park and Riverside Speedway. Over the past 38 years, the Flying Tigers have raced at current and former tracks around the region, including Plattsburgh Airborne Speedway, Sanair Super Speedway, Canaan Fair Speedway, Lee USA Speedway, and Catamount Stadium.
Now the Tigers are visiting the track that is home to the legendary Oxford 250 and other major events. They will be part of a packed card that includes 150 laps for the Pro All Stars Series super late models, plus season finales for the PASS Modifieds, Honey Badger Bar & Grill Street Stock Series and Bandit Triple Crown Series. The winner will join a track history book that includes famous names such as Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Geoffrey Bodine, Ricky Craven, Dave Dion, and Mike Rowe.
“I know it’s going to be a little tough learning a new track,” Bouchard said. “There’s not as much grip there, and it’s a lot flatter, and I’m used to the banks. It’ll be a big learning curve, not only because it’s a new track, but because it’s a different track than what I’m used to racing on. But realistically, I just want to keep the car in one piece, enjoy my time there, and take it all in as I’m doing it. It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing for the Tigers.”
“It’s Oxford,” Bouchard added. “When you think of Oxford, you think of lots of big names and faces racing there from all over. It’s going to be exciting to try something new and be on the same track that some of the greats have been on.”
Racers from throughout Vermont and New Hampshire have jumped at the chance to head to Maine for one more race in 2019. A host of Thunder Road regulars have entered the event, including three-time and reigning champion Jason Woodard of Waterbury Center, Rookie of the Year Stephen Martin of Craftsbury, and 2019 winners Bouchard, Mike Martin, Colin Cornell, Kevin Streeter, and Sam Caron. Top-10 point drivers Tyler Austin, Logan Powers, and Kelsea Woodard have filed entries along with part-timers Adam Maynard and Brian Delphia.
At least two Flying Tiger winners at White Mountain Motorsports Park this season, Christian Laflamme and Matt Potter, are making the trek to Oxford. New Hampshire racing will also be represented by Speedway 51 regulars Mike Clark, Jon Boutin, and Kevin Boutin plus current Late Model competitor Cody LeBlanc.
John and Stephen Donahue – both former Flying Tiger champions at Thunder Road – are getting back behind the wheel of Tiger cars for the event. Add in drivers like Jerrad Ledger and Brian Gosselin, and the field is one sure to put on an exciting show.