OXFORD — Bob Guptill and Tommy Tompkins captured feature wins in their respective division, as support classes helped fill in the gaps during the 36th annual TD Banknorth 250 on Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Guptill, of Mechanic Falls, went wire-to-wire in a 30-lap tussle for the Mini Stock division. While he may have led every lap in his first start of the season, the victory was not without its challenges. Justin Karkos, the hottest thing in this division in recent years, was gunning for his sixth victory of 2009.

Karkos wasted little time in wheeling up through the field, driving from 18th on the 22-car grid to inside the top five by lap 11. He moved around rookie hotshoe Jake Burns with 10 laps to go and started to close on Guptill. Karkos gave it all he had, but had to settle for second on the season’s biggest day. Burns hung on for third, while Steve Barker of Jay and Turner veteran Butch Keene completed the top five.

“I’m glad to be back at Oxford,” Guptill said. “This is the car we built for the Mini Stock tour, and it ran great here today. I knew Justin was coming on fast in the closing laps, but I’m glad he ran out of time. This is Oxford’s biggest day, and I’m thrilled to be able to win a race in front of this crowd.”

Tompkins claimed a thrilling 30-lap tilt in the Strictly Stock division. The former class champion from Dixfield is running a part-time schedule in 2009, but has been his usual rocket-fast self in every appearance. Tompkins drove around the outside of Nick Hoyt coming through Turns 3 and 4 on lap 10 and drove away for top honors. Skip Tripp started outside the top 10, but wheeled his way up to second at the finish, while Auburn’s Mike Short claimed third. Nick Hoyt and Morris Young completed the top five in a caution-free affair.

“It’s a good thing we started up front,” Tompkins said. “We wrecked the car last night, and the front end still isn’t right. But we held off two good drivers, so we’ll take the win. This is a huge day for all of us in every division, I’m happy to be in Victory Lane as everybody gets ready for the TD Banknorth 250.”

Oxford officials traditionally run the Strictly Stock and Mini Stock divisions in between qualifying rounds for the 250 to allow Late Model teams a break to prepare their machines. It also offers them the chance to race in front of thousands of fans.


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