OXFORD – Chalk one up for the Vermont drivers in the ongoing battle between Oxford’s weekly warriors and the visiting American-Canadian Tour (ACT) touring teams.

John Donohue took the lead from Brad Hammond on lap 24 and hung on to claim the L/A Harley Davidson 100 in convincing fashion Sunday afternoon at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The Graniteville, Vt., driver used to race every week here in the Strictly Stock division, and put his knowledge of the track to good use to garner a $2,500 payday.

Larry Emerson, Tommy Tompkins and Bill Thibeault were also feature winners at the 3/8-mile paved oval.

Roger Brown started sixth on the 36-car Late Model grid, ran among the leaders all afternoon and came home second. Doug Coombs, of Livermore, was the highest finishing Oxford regular in third, while former champion Ricky Rolfe was fourth. OPS regular Glen Luce completed the top five in a race loaded with regional stars.

“This is a whole new car, new team and new owner,” Donohue said. “It feels good to finally get this one in the books. … The car was fast right off the truck, we didn’t touch it all day after qualifying, put new tires on it and raced.”

Brown, a rising star on the ACT circuit, kept it clean as he attempted to run down the leaders.

“My car was really good on the bottom today,” Brown said. “John did an excellent job out front. When I got to him he protected the bottom. I had two choices, either hit him and move him out of the way, or follow him and retain his respect. I chose to follow him, and I hope he’ll do the same thing when the roles are reversed some day.”

Coombs said his car was less than perfect, but seemed pleased with a top-three run.

“It was a little loose going into the corner and a little tight in the middle,” he said. “I knew I had only one shot. I took the best shot possible and came up a little short.”

Rounding out the top 10 were David Avery, Brian Hoar, Mike Rowe, Jean Paul Cyr and D.J. Shaw. Twenty-one of the 36 starters finished on the lead lap, and four cautions slowed the pace.

Other notable finishers included two-time LMS champion Dennis Spencer Jr. (11th); former TD Banknorth 250 winner Scott Robbins (12th); defending Late Model champion Travis Adams (16th); Eddie MacDonald, who won the NASCAR Busch East Series race last Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway (30th); and 2004 Late Model champion Shawn Martin, who wrecked early and finished 32nd.

This was the final extra-distance test for the region’s Late Model teams before the high-purse TD Banknorth 250 on July 22. The race was moved to Sunday after steady rains fell much of Saturday.

In earlier feature action, Emerson picked up his first Strictly Stock victory since July 2006 in the makeup of a race from last Saturday’s rained-out program. The Durham driver took the lead from Greg Sessions on lap four and hung on for top honors. Tommy Thompkins battled side-by-side with Sessions before locking up the second position with five laps to go, while Scott Belskis came home third.

Sumner Sessions, the hottest driver in this division for 2007, used his older car to place fourth, while early leader Mark Bowie fought his way back up to fifth after an early spin sent him to the rear. Three cautions slowed the pace, with Glen Henderson’s rollover bringing out the red flag on lap two. Henderson was not injured and racing resumed in short order.

Thibeault held off Bill Childs to capture the 30-lap Mini Stock feature. The Oxford native swapped leads with Childs five times before taking command for good with one lap remaining. Childs finished about as close as it gets in second, while point leader Justin Karkos was third. Ashley Marshall ran with the leaders the entire distance to finish fourth, while Adam Polvinien completed the top five.

“That was pretty exciting,” said Thibeault. “Jimmy was fast and he ran me as clean as I could ever expect. He’s always fast here and it was fun to race against him that close for that long. It feels even better to come out on top.”

Tompkins posted his second win of 2007 in the final support division race. The Dixfield native held off a late charge from Auburn’s Mike Short. Matt Williams, Lary Emerson and Kim Tripp completed the top five.


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