PORTLAND – Like other Banknorth 250 veterans, Jamie Aube is hoping for the luck of the draw to be on his side for Sunday’s draw. But lately, he’s been getting some mixed messages in the numerology department.
“I’m 53. I was born in 1953. Today I put gas in my car and it came out to $53.53,” the two-time 250 champion said. “I don’t know if that’s a good omen or what.”
The Vermont native is returning to the renowned short track race after a two-year absence. He’s also back on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT), under whose banner he was racing in 1987 when he won his first 250.
“It’s one of the greatest races I ever won,” Aube said. “When you win the Oxford 250, it’s something to remember, that’s for sure,” he said.
“The check and the big trophy, that stood out pretty darned good back in those days,” he added.
A $25,000 check for winning the race this year would stand out, too. Aube is one of a record 177 entries slated to visit the 3/8-of-a-mile oval on Sunday.
“That’s a lot of cars,” he said. “My goal is just to get in the race and stay out of trouble in the first half and be around on the lead lap in the second half to go and try to get it. Anything can happen in this race.”
Aube has seen practically anything and everything in a 30-year racing career. He cut his teeth at Thunder Road in Barre and the former Catamount Stadium in Milton in the mid-1970s before making a big splash on the ACT Pro Stock Tour. He picked up his first win in 1983, collected three more in 1986, then finished second overall to Robbie Crouch in 1987, his final full season.
He joined the then Busch North Series the following year and captured the series titles in his first full year of competition. Two more titles followed in 1989 and 1990, as well as his second 250 championship.
He remained with what is now Busch East until 2003, then went to the Carolinas to race in the Craftsman Truck Series. He finished 31st overall after making 11 starts. He returned to Busch East the following year, then headed to the Busch West Series to serve as crew chief for Andrew Myers. After guiding Myers to two wins last year, he returned to the Northeast and to ACT.
“This year I decided to go back and have some fun,” he said. “The Busch series is very expensive, and it’s really a full-time deal. Without major, major sponsor money, it’s hard to do. So we’re doing this and having fun.”
Aube, who now resides in Bow, N.H., originally planned to just buy a car to race in the 250, but once he saw that the race was in line with ACT regulations, he decided to try the entire schedule. He purchased the team of fellow New Hampshire driver Mike Collins and finished 19th with his Monte Carlo when he returned to OPS on April 28. After four starts in five races, he’s ranked 17th on the late model tour.
Aube, who had a second appearance at OPS rained out on July 7, admitted it’s going to take some time for the late models to gain favor with some of the diehard pro stock fans who will be at this year’s 250, but he hopes he can help change some minds on Sunday.
“I’m excited about it. I like the ACT division. It’s fun. It’s affordable. It’s very good racing,” he said. “Once it catches on (at OPS), I think it will be awesome. And I think it will be a great race (Sunday).”