With the racing world paused amid the COVID-19 outbreak, SPEED SPORT is highlighting race tracks around the United States. This is part of that ongoing series.
Track of the Day: Oxford Plains Speedway
Address: 877 Main St., Oxford, ME 04270
History: It took only six weeks for George Damon to transform 200 acres of land in Oxford, Maine, into what became one of the Northeast’s most historic paved ovals.
Damon built Oxford Plains Speedway in 1950, with the track hosting its first race on May 18, 1950. Originally a half-mile dirt track when Damon officially opened the facility for business, the track was paved in 1961, transforming it into a third-mile oval. It took its current shape, a three-eighths-mile paved oval, when it was repaved in 1992.
That same year Damon sold the track to a trio of local businessmen, who then sold the track to Bob Bahre in 1964. Bahre later gained national recognition for building New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
Bahre made Oxford Plains Speedway one of the most important short tracks in the region during his lengthy tenure as owner, which lasted until 1987. The track even hosted three NASCAR Cup Series races during the 1960s. Bobby Allison earned his first Cup Series win at the track in 1966. Allison won again in 1967 and Richard Petty won the final Cup Series race at Oxford Plains in 1968.
It was during Bahre’s time as owner that one of racing’s most historic events was created. The Oxford 250, known originally as the Oxford 200, was held for the first time on July 14, 1974 and won by Joey Kourafas. The race has been won by some of racing’s best drivers, including Geoff Bodine, Tommy Ellis, Dave Dion, Ricky Craven, Junior Hanley, Mike Rowe, Ben Rowe, Bubba Pollard and current NASCAR stars Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
Travis Benjamin, a three-time Oxford 250 winner, won the race last year. The 47th edition of the event is slated for Aug. 28-30.
Michael Liberty acquired the track from Bahre in 1987 and owned the track until 1999, when Bill Ryan took control of the track. Ryan owned the track until late 2012, when Pro All Stars Series owner Tom Mayberry purchased it. He remains the owner to this day.
The track sanctions weekly super late model racing as part of a five-division weekly program. Curtis Gerry is the defending super late model track champion.