OXFORD – It’s a known fact that the all-impotant draw can make or break a racer’s day at the TD Banknorth 250. In this afternoon’s version, it was more of the same.
Eddie MacDonald, another of today’s entrants with extensive experience in the NASCAR Busch East Series, will lead the field to green in Heat No. 4. NASCAR Cup veteran Kevin Lepage started in the fourth position. Lepage has been sent to the garage after being hit twice and not returning to the qualifying heat. Vermont’s Robbie Crouch, who is making a return to racing after a 10-year absence, was a part of the wreck and also went to the garage.
Looking at the qualifying heat lineups after the draw, we see local favorite Shawn Martin of Turner starting outside of Row 1 in the first heat. Canadian Iron Man Claude Leclerc, who was racing when I first went to the now-defunct Catamount Stadium in Milton, VT, back in the late 1970s, starts seventh.
In Heat No. 2, Ricky Rolfe, another OPS weekly warrior and local favorite, will lead the field to green. Six-time ACT champion Jean Paul Cyr will start third, while defending 250 champion Jeremie Whorff rolls off in the seventh position.
Two-time NASCAR champion Brad Leighton will start outside of Row 1 in Heat No. 3, while two-time OPS Late Model champion Dennis Spencer Jr. will start fifth. Mario Gosselin, a Quebec native who moved south years ago and has a ton of experience on the USAR Hooters ProCup Series, rolls off in the eithth position. Other notables in Heat 3 include Vermont legend Bobby Dragon and Buckfield driver Timmy Brackett, a regular at Oxford.
While the starting lineups are still being printed, we can tell you that Heat No. 5 will include nine-time Oxford champion Jeff Taylor, subbing for Ben Rowe in Richard Moody’s No. 4 entry. ACT regular Jamie Fisher will also try to make their way into the 250 through Heat 5, as will OPS regular Donnie Wentworth of Otisfield. Heat No. 6 will see David Avery lead the field to gren, while ACT strongman Brent Dragon is also there. Travis Adams, the hottest driver at Oxford in 2007, will roll off in the seventh starting spot.
A look at the draw for qualifying for the OPS 250 at Oxford Plains:
Heat 1: 1. Travis Stearns; 2. Shawn Martin; 3. Dave MacDonald; 4. Corey Williams; 5. Gary Chiasson; 6. Trampas Demers; 7. Claude Leclerc; 8. Zach Emerson; 9. Dale Shaw; 10. Ricky Morse; 11. Tim Pendergast; 12. Laine Chase
Heat 1 notes: Shawn Martin holds on to win the heat, Dale Shaw was second and Trampas Demers hold on for third to all qualify for the main event.
Heat 2: 1. Ricky Rolfe; 2. Joey Becker; 3. Jean-Paul Cyr; 4. Gary Caron; 5. Quinny Welch; 6. Kurt Hewins; 7. Jeremie Whorff; 8. Ben Ashline; 9. Russ Clark; 10. Jaime Aube; 11. Ryan Nolin; 12. Scott Dragon
Heat 2 notes: Ricky Rolfe leads from start to finish to win Heat 2. Jean-Paul Cyr ended up third, sandwiching Kurt Hewins in the No. 2 spot.
Heat 3: 1. T.J. Watson; 2. Brad Leighton; 3. Ron Henry; 4. Alexandre Gingras; 5. Dennis Spencer; 6. Mario Gosselin; 7. Bobby Dragon; 8. Scott Luce; 9. Doug Coombs; 10. Glen Luce; 11. Billy Childs Jr.; 12. Tim Brackett
Heat 3 notes: Like it was at the beginning, an uneventful Heat 3 yields three more qualifiers: Brad Leighton, T.J. Watson and Ron Henry. Big move from 12th to fifth by Tim Brackett, who has a solid car.
Heat 4: 1. Eddie MacDonald; 2. Yvon Bedard; 3. Billy Childs Sr.; 4. Kevin Lepage; 5. Randy Potter; 6. Eric Chase; 7. Dale Verrill; 8. Joey Laquerre; 9. Brock Davis; 10. Jamie Fisher; 11. Scott Robbins; 12. Robbie Crouch.
Heat 4 notes: 11 laps to go in the fourth heat, and a major crash. Kevin Lepage and Robbie Crouch have severe body damage and have gone to the garage. Crouch had moved from 12th to sixth at the time of the crash, in just nine laps.
Heat 5: 1. Dan Wentworth; 2. Bobby Gahan; 3. Josh St. Clair; 4. Rich Lowrey; 5. Peter Potvin III; 6. Eric Williams; 7. Jeff Taylor; 8. Jamie Fisher; 9. Jamie Swallow; 10. Ryan Vanasse; 11. Mark Anzalone; 12. Kip Stockwell
Heat 5 notes: MacDonald, Dale Verrill and Randy Potter qualify out of Heat 4. Heat 5 cars, including Jeff Taylor in Ben Rowe’s No. 4 car.
Heat 6: 1. Jon Brill; 2. David Avery; 3. Brent Dragon; 4. Brad Hammond; 5. James Linardy; 6. Donald Theetge; 7. Travis Adams; 8. Greg Peters; 9. Jay Laquerre; 10. Roger Brown; 11. Phil Scott; 12. Leon Heckbert
Heat 6 notes: John Brill will take qualifying heat No. 6, with Brent Dragon and David Avery follow…
Heat 7: 1. Corey Morgan; 2. Tommy Ricker; 3. Joey Plewarczyk; 4. Carey Martin; 5. Alan Tardiff; 6. A.J. Begin; 7. Jean-Francois Dery; 8. Dave Pembroke; 9. Patrick Laperle; 10. Chip Grenier; 11. Jeff White
Heat 7 notes: Jeff White moves 11th to third to make the field in Heat 7. Carey Martin easily takes the win, with Tommy Ricker in second. Fantastic battle between three cars down the stretch, including Laperle.
Heat 8: 1. Pete Fecteau; 2. Brian Hoar; 3. John Donahue; 4. Marc Curtis Jr.; 5. Karl Allard; 6. Dean Weber; 7. Cris Michaud; 8. D.J. Shaw; 9. Scott Payea; 10. Terry Labonte; 11. Mike Ferguson