OXFORD — Defending Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Pro Series champion Curtis Gerry drove outside of Scott McDaniel on lap 198, survived four late restarts and hung on to win the 44th annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 Sunday night at Oxford Plains Speedway.
Gerry, of Waterboro, led the race from laps 124 to 171 before pitting for service at lap 172. It didn’t take long to mount another charge and get back into contention.
Manchester native Reid Lanpher, the 2015 track champion at Beech Ridge, finished second, while early leader Cassius Clark settled for third. Two-time 250 winner Eddie MacDonald and three-time winner Mike Rowe completed the top five.
“This is very overwhelming,” Gerry said in Victory Lane as he tried to take it all in. “We are the smallest, most underfunded team you can imagine, and to pull this off tonight is unreal. I owe it all to this race team, they just never gave up. Eddie made a big charge late, but I just couldn’t let it slip away.”
Lanpher, once again locked in a spirited battle with Gerry for the 2017 points title in down in Scarborough, was thrilled with his performance and praised his rival on the win.
“We had a lot of things not go our way in that race, but we had also had a lot of things work out for us,” Lanpher said. “We ended up in the inside line when we needed to be, and I can’t believe we were able to come back to second.
“There is nobody I’d rather see win this race than Curtis. I’m so happy for him. I thoroughly enjoy racing against him and have never had an issue with him. We’ve run countless races side-by-side. It takes a big effort to have a season like we’ve enjoyed this year. I owe it all to my team and sponsors.”
Clark led the first 123 laps and looked to have the race well in hand. His Rollie McDonald-owned team from Pictou, Nova Scotia, prepared a fast machine, he just didn’t quite have enough at the end.
“We had a good starting spot today,” Clark said. “Some of those guys were faster than we were, but we made some adjustments and were coming up through the field. We got ahead of Travis (Benjamin), and were racing three and four-wide coming through traffic.
“We got jumbled up with some lapped cars at one point, got spun around and had to restart out back. We pitted and put new right-side tires on it, but the car got a little too free. I wish we wouldn’t have lost that track position; I think we were coming for them tonight.”
Twenty-five of the 44 starters finished on the lead lap, while 17 cautions slowed the pace. Gerry’s margin of victory was 1.480 seconds over Lanpher, a big gap in Super Late Model racing. Sixty-five cars attempted to qualify on Sunday, a good indication of just how much allure this race still enjoys.
Gerry earned $35,200 for his efforts, including lap money (he led 102 laps at $100 per lap to lead). Gerry led 102 of the final 127 laps, setting the pace after Clark did the same in the first half. McDaniel, who just finished rebuilding his car after a recent crash, led 25 laps in a solid effort.
Finishing sixth through 10th in this year’s 250 were 2016 winner Wayne Helliwell Jr., Derek Ramstrom, Garrett Hall, McDaniel and Alan Tardiff. Other notable finishers on Sunday include six-time PASS champion Johnny Clark (11th); 2015 winner Glen Luce (13th); 2012 winner Joey Polewarczyk Jr. (15th); two-time 250 winner Travis Benjamin (17th); and 2002 winner Scott Robbins (25th).
This year’s 250 produced as much drama and excitement as was expected, and delivered one of the most unlikely winners. Gerry is a dedicated weekly racer, but never felt like he had a shot at something so special and coveted as an Oxford 250 win.
“I think this will take a while to sink in,” he said. “You work hard, do your best, and sometimes it all comes together. I was thrilled to win a championship last year, now we win the 250. I couldn’t possibly be any happier.”
Shawn Martin of Turner, foreground, cruised into Turn 3 during final practice for the Oxford 250, as Glen Luce (7me) Don Colpritt Jr. (16) and Dennis Spencer Jr. (46) race down the front stretch. Martin qualified for the main event by winning the sixth qualifying heat race.Fans watch the qaulifying heats from the stand in the pits.Shawn Martin is interviewed after qualifying by Mav TV’s Hannah Newhouse.Craig Laroche of Haverhill changes a flat tire in the pits during the consolation races for driver Eddie MacDonald.As drivers compete in the Last Chance race, the winner’s trophy for the Oxford 250 sits in a shed in the infield.A race official watches the action during the Last Chance race.On the final lap, eventual winner of the Last Chance race Jeremy Davis sneaks up on the inside of Dennis Spencer (#46) and Mike Rowe (#24) who had been battling for the lead most of the race.Last Year’s second place winner Travis Benjamin stands by his car as he waits for the race to start.
Jeff Taylor waits for his turn at the pre-race draw while the rest of the crowd is reflected in his sunglasses at the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Justin Drake (09) of Vassalboro and Wayne Helliwell Jr. (27) of Pelham, New Hampshire, jockey for position during a heat race at the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday. Both drivers qualified for the main event after finishing in the top four in their heat. Helliwell was the defending champion.Winner Curtis Gerry stands in the winner’s circle.A member of Joey Polewarczyk Jr.’s crew works on the car behind some stacked tires during practice for the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Mike Hopkins takes his car for a spin during practice for the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday in the No. 15 car. John Fleming of Halifax, Nova Scotia (97) get around Sarah Cornett-Ching (99) during practice for the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Joey Polewarczyk Jr. (97) turns a practice lap in advance of the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday. Polewarczyk qualified for the main event with a second-place finish in the third consolation heat.Mike Rowe waits to be called during the pre-race draw at the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Driver Travis Stearns of Auburn holds his daughter while waiting for his turn during the pre-race draw at the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Cassius Clark zips down the back stretch below an American flag waving in the breeze during a heat race at the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday. Clark won the heat race and earned the pole position for the main event.DJ Shaw carries his daighter to the pre-race draw during the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Ben Rowe (4) spins in front of Travis Benjamin (7) during a heat race at the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.Cars fill the Oxford Plains Speedway parking lot during the Oxford 25 on Sunday.Cars fill the parking lot at Oxford Plains Speedway for the Oxford 250 on Sunday.