NAPLES, Maine – In just more than a week now, an action-packed weekend of short track racing will commence with the 44th annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 presented by Fastway Trailer Products at Oxford Plains Speedway.
The Oxford 250 is considered one of the crown jewels of asphalt super late model racing. With more than $25,000 going to the winner of the race, more than 70 cars are expected to attempt to qualify for the 250-lap main event.
With heat races used to determine the starting field for the Oxford 250, it is viewed by many observers as one of the toughest races to qualify for in all of short track racing.
Last year, Wayne Helliwell Jr. captured his first Oxford 250 win by holding off two-time winner Travis Benjamin. It took Helliwell, who is considered by many to be one of the best Late Model racers in New England, nine tries to finally capture the elusive checkered flag in the 250.
Johnny and Cassius Clark, who are of no relation, could perhaps be two of the most successful drivers to have never won the Oxford 250. Johnny Clark is a six-time champion of the Pro All Stars Series North super late model division, with 36 wins to his credit. In 10 Oxford 250 starts, Johnny Clark has only managed two top-five finishes, with a runner-up finish coming in 2005.
For Cassius Clark, the numbers are very similar…nine starts, two top fives and a best finish of fourth in 2014. But, with a strong run in the most recent PASS North Super Late Model race at Oxford Plains Speedway, Cassius Clark comes to the 250 as favorite to put the Rollie MacDonald-owned #13 in victory lane this year.
Two-time and defending PASS North Super Late Model champion D.J. Shaw has been one of the series hardest drivers to beat over the last decade, but has as of yet, not been able to get an Oxford 250 win. If track knowledge and momentum is an indicator, he should be a challenger again after scoring his best finish, a third, in last year’s race.
Tracy Gordon is another veteran hoping that time will be on his side in 2017. Gordon has made 15 starts in the 250, dating all the way back to 1987. Gordon has finished in the top five in more than 25 percent of his Oxford 250 starts and scored back-to-back runner-up finishes in 1997 and 1998. It has been a strong year for Gordon as he sits ninth in PASS North points coming into next weekend’s 250.
Kelly Moore has nearly as many starts in the 250 as Gordon with 13, but actually made his first start even earlier, in 1985. It has been a tough go for Moore in the 250 in recent years, but he too has been a bridesmaid, finishing second to Dick McCabe in 1988.
These are just a handful of contenders among the 56 drivers currently entered for next weekend’s 44th annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 presented by Fastway Trailer Products. That’s not counting the young talent which will be making their first of many starts in this prestigious race. All the action gets underway on Friday, Aug. 25 and culminates Sunday afternoon, Aug. 27.