OXFORD, Maine – Jimmy Hebert finally mastered Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday by winning the American-Canadian Tour Oxford Plains 150.
Hebert took the lead for good from Ben Rowe with 57 laps to go and was never seriously threatened from there on his way to becoming the first repeat winner of the American-Canadian Tour season.
Sunday’s race was held in advance of the annual running of the Oxford 250, which is scheduled for later in the evening.
For Hebert, it was a victory that had been within reach on multiple occasions prior to Sunday. In nine previous starts at Oxford, he had posted six top-five finishes, with a pair of runner-up results. His elusive first win at the historic three-eighths-mile track also put him in the driver’s seat for his first ACT championship with three point-counting events remaining.
Hebert started 10th in the 28-car field and spent the first third of the event conserving his Hebert Excavation Chevrolet as the field tussled in front of him. Polesitter Marcel J. Gravel led the first five laps before Rowland Robinson Jr. got underneath him on the backstretch to snatch the top spot. Robinson’s stay at the front was also short-lived as Jimmy Renfrew pulled a similar move six laps later to lead an ACT event for the first time.
Renfrew paced the field for the next 42 circuits as Robinson, Gravel, Rowe, Ryan Kuhn and others fought to position themselves for the long haul. Rowe was up to the second spot by lap 40, and after looking to the outside of Renfrew multiple times, he finally made it stick on the high groove to move in front on lap 54.
The long green-flag run came to an end on lap 69 when Robinson and Renfrew tried to split a lapped car on the front chute. Robinson bounced off Renfrew’s driver-side door entering turn one, and the contact sent Robinson spinning to bring out the first caution. His misfortune moved Dylan Payea into the third spot with Hebert right behind him for the restart.
When the green flag came back out, Hebert decided it was time to go. He had slashed his way to the second spot when the second caution flew seven laps later after Connor McDougal got turned around. Hebert restarted outside Rowe and rode the rim to put a nose out front for the next four circuits.
The point leader couldn’t make it stick, though, and fell back in behind Rowe on lap 81. After stalking the multi-time Pro All Stars Series champion for the next 13 laps, Hebert got a great run through turn two and dove beneath Rowe exiting the corner to fly into the lead.
After dodging a bullet on lap 98 when Matt Anderson and Dave MacDonald spun right in front of the leaders coming out of turn four, Hebert pulled out to a huge advantage with Dillon Moltz moving into second. However, the gap was instantly erased when Jimmy Linardy spun in turn three to trigger caution number four.
On the backstretch following the restart, Rowe slid underneath Moltz on the back chute to regain second. Both Moltz and Payea then went for the low lane entering turn three and got together. Each made great saves coming to the frontstretch, but the field got bunched up behind them, and Anderson was the innocent victim as he looped it for the fifth and final yellow.
That meant one last 15-lap sprint to decide the winner. Hebert easily overpowered Rowe on the restart, and although Rowe tried to keep pace, Hebert was simply too strong as he captured his seventh career American-Canadian Tour victory.
Rowe finished second for his best run of the year in a limited ACT schedule. Bryan Kruczek continued his mid-season resurgence by completing the podium after making several passes in the third groove.
Payea had his best ACT result in fourth. Moltz, Kuhn, D.J. Shaw, Renfrew, Robinson and Derek Gluchacki completed the top-10.
Jimmy Hebert, Ben Rowe, Bryan Kruczek, Dylan Payea, Dillon Moltz, Ryan Kuhn, D.J. Shaw, Jimmy Renfrew Jr., Rowland Robinson Jr., Derek Gluchacki, Brockton Davis, Christopher Pelkey, Max Dolliver, Jesse Switser, Ryan Olsen, Stephen Donahue, Connor MacDougal, Marcel J. Gravel, James Linardy, Mike Benevides, David MacDonald, Matt Anderson, Joey Laquerre, John Donahue, Garret Leiter, Tom Carey III, Jeff Lebrecque Jr.