Changing luck?

Gary Drew has admittedly had some awful luck this season.

“It’s just been down, down, down this year,” said Drew.

That all changed, at least momentarily, after the sixth and final qualifying race Sunday afternoon.

Drew, who climbed back into fifth place after skidding into the dirt beyond Turn 3, appeared to have missed an automatic bid by one place. But a post-race inspection disqualification on Travis Khiel allowed Drew to slide in to the final autmatic position.

“That’ll let us rest the car, let the crew and the driver cool off a bit,” said Drew. “It makes it tough when you have to run all day to get in. It makes a difference when you can get in the first thing.”

Other solid favorites who have performed well at the 250 in the past, Alan Wilson and Johnny Clark (who furnished the car driven by Ricky Craven), came up on the other side of the luck spectrum in post-race inspection.

Wilson, who finished in the top four of his qualifying heat, failed after someone leaned on his car in the inspection area, causing the car to shift momentarily downward. That was a violation of the rules.

According to members of Wilson’s crew, Clark encountered a similar fate. Both had to start at the end of a consolation race, and neither managed a top-three finish there, either, though Wilson nearly pulled off a last-to-first run in the final consi.

In the 50-lap, last-chance race, Wilson ran into some traffic trouble early and never fully recovered, continuing the Hebron driver’s string of bad luck at the Oxford track.

Clark, meanwhile, the runner-up in 2005, also failed to qualify and did not receive a provisional after the last-chance race.

Crawford back

Well known racing personality John Crawford returned to the speedway last weekend after being severely injured while filming a race at Unity Raceway back in April. Crawford is the host of Mainely Motorsports,’ a weekly television show dedicated to Maine’s rich short track racing culture.

“I realize I’m extremely lucky to be alive,” Crawford said. “I’ve heard from so many people since my accident. This racing family is a pretty tight exteneded family. It means so much for me to be at the speedway this weekend, I mean, this is 250 weekend.”

Crawford narrowly escaped death in one of the scariest racing-related incidents Maine has seen in years. The Fairfield resident received hugs and handshakes all around as he visited with friends around the speedway property.

Good sports

Scott Robbins, who won the TD Banknorth 250 in 2002, had a great run going in the sixth preliminary heat before catching the wall on the front straightaway. The rear end of his No. 72 Ford went up in flames and his day appeared over.

In the last consolation race, though, Robbins reappeared behind the wheel of a Whorff Motorsports car, the third in their garage. He finished near the back of the pack in the car, which had his No. 72 scrawled in duct tape on both door panels. In the last-chance race he again had trouble keeping up with the faster rides.

Because both Mike and Ben Rowe qualified on their own merit, though, Robbins was the most recent past champion who had not qualified for the main event, giving him a provisional start into the feature.

Seeing yellow

Maybe it was inexperience. Pehaps a little bit of aggressive driving had something to do with it, too.

Whatever the cause, Sunday’s early action ran longer than most in recent memory, thanks in part to an inordinate number of caution flags during qualifying.

Cooler heads prevailed in the last-chance race, but all of the yellow flags in the earlier races delayed the anticipated start time by more than an hour. The green flag flew for the 40-car field at 7:57 p.m.

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