OXFORD — In racing circles, he’s known as an outlaw. Not one to chase points at any track or in any touring series, Massachusetts native Eddie Macdonald picks and chooses the races he runs, some in the NASCAR Camping World Series and some on the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour.

Those races usually include the bigger ones with big purses, and after years of trying, he finally bagged the biggest short track race of them all, at least in the northeastern United States.

MacDonald took the lead for the third and final time on lap 168, and hung on to claim the 36th annual TD Banknorth 250 Sunday evening at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Quebec-based veteran Patrick Laperle ran among the leaders all night but settled for second, while Vermont driver John Donahue was third. Five-time ACT Tour champion Brian Hoar led 37 laps and came home fourth, while local favorite Shawn Martin completed the top five.

“This is awesome,” MacDonald said in Victory Lane. “I’ve got such a great team here. Rollie Lachance and his whole family, it’s just a great group of guys. Every one of them worked hard to make this happen. During six hours of practice in the last two days, they changed just about everything on the car. This is just such an awesome race to win. It is the biggest win of my career, and I can’t thank my team and sponsors enough for making it possible.”
MacDonald earned a whopping $35,200 for his efforts.

Laperle led briefly for five laps just after halfway, reeled in the leader with 25 laps to go but fell short of winning this region’s most prestigious short track event.

“Eddie was much better than I was in the outside groove,” Laperle said. “I was catching him for a while, but his spotter told him where I was gaining and he moved down to block. He had the best car, and ended up winning tonight. I’m happy for him, and am happy with the way we ran the whole race.”

Donahue led for 21 laps, but had nothing for Laperle or MacDonald. He started sixth after winning the sixth qualifying heat, and quickly showed he had found a hot setup for the mostly-circular Oxford layout.

“The cautions hurt me tonight,” said Donahue. “I was happiest during those long green runs, my car took 10 to 12 laps to really get going. I’m so happy to take home a top three in this race, this one is tough for anybody with the length and level of competition. There was a lot of close calls out there tonight. You just had to pick a lane and hope for the best. The high side actually worked best for me, my car didn’t have any bite up off the corner when I ran down low, it was hard for me to pass down there.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the 250 was Brent Dragon, Ben Rowe, Cris Michaud, Brad Leighton and Auburn native Travis Stearns. Ten cautions slowed the pace, none for serious incidents. Fourteen of the 43 starters finished on the lead lap, while MacDonald’s margin of victory was just under one second. There were seven lead changed among five different drivers. Along with MacDonald, Dragon, Donahue, Laperle and Hoar all took turns on the point.

NASCAR Nationwide Series star Kenny Wallace finished 33rd Sunday night, while nephew Steven struggled to a 21st-place finish. While both are talented drivers by any standard, the tricky 3/8-mile oval didn’t yield the desired results.

Both needed provisional starting spots to make the show after struggling in all three rounds of qualifying. Heat winners were Brent Dragon, Travis Stearns, Eddie MacDonald, Cris Michaud, Travis Adams and John Donahue.
At the drop of the green flag, Brent Dragon led the 43-car into Turn 1, with Eddie MacDonald and Vermont’s Cris Michaud in tow. MacDonald wasted little time in asserting himself, wheeling around Dragon to take command on lap five. Dragon went to the outside just nine laps later to re-take the lead, while MacDonald, Michaud and Auburn’s Travis Stearns gave chase.

As the leaders began to encounter lapped traffic, caution waved for the first time at lap 32 as Donnie Wentworth came to a stop on the backstretch. On the ensuing restart, Winthrop resident and Oxford regular Jeff White spun around in Turn 4, forcing half the field to make evasive maneuvers. MacDonald dove to the outside and barely snuck by, and luckily nobody made serious contact.

Once chief starter Kenny Tripp sent them back under way, MacDonald tried the inside line to get by Dragon, but found out quickly his car wasn’t nearly as fast down low. Once the field got back into a rhythm, Dragon took advantage of another green-flag run to check out on the field. Canadian veteran and defending ACT Serie Castrol champion Patrick Laperle powered his way up from 10th on the grid to run second by lap 50, while MacDonald faded back to fifth.

Dragon caught up to heavy traffic again by lap 60, allowing Laperle and Donahue to close the gap. Dragon dodged a huge bullet at lap 83, as he had to go three wide to get around Scott Robbins and Eric Williams. Laperle took a look to the bottom once, but had to back out of it and pull up behind Dragon when he realize the roadblock ahead.
After a blistering set of 59 green flag laps, Donahue found an opening and jumped on through. With traffic blocking Dragon’s path into Turn 3, the driver Ken Squire calls “Irish John” snuck by to become the event’s third different leader at lap 91.

As the race approached lap 100, the cream had truly risen to the top. Up front were veteran touring drivers Donahue, Laperle, MacDonald, Dragon and Brad Leighton. When it comes to Late Model short track drivers in the northeast, this group is among the very finest. As Donahue and Laperle tried to break away, Travis Adams was steadily wheeling his way into contention.

Laperle decided it was time to challenge for the lead as the race approached halfway. He made his move on the inside groove, powering by Donahue to take command at lap 119. When caution came out for the third time at lap 129, those who had yet to hit pit roads for service elected to do so. Drivers rolling down pit road to the attention of their crews included Donahue, Laperle, Dragon and Leighton.

When the field went back to green, five-time ACT champion Brian Hoar took command since he had pitted 10 laps earlier and stayed out on the race track. Pre-race favorite Joey Polewarczyk had also pitted on the same sequence, and moved into second just before a spin by Larry Gelinas slowed the pace once again.

On the ensuing restart, Hoar and Polewarczyk went door-to-door for the lead, while Ben Rowe dove to the bottom. In a weird bit of deja vu, Polewarczyk drifted too high on the track coming through Turn 4 and slid completely off the racing surface. The 20-year-old hotshoe from Hudson, N.H., suffered a similar fate back on Memorial Day weekend over at Vermont’s famed Thunder Road. Polewarczyk fell off the top of Turn 3 while leading the race with just 18 laps remaining.

Hoar took off with Rowe in chase at lap 135, while Polewarczyk tried his best to get back on the lead lap.
With 100 laps remaining, it was Hoar, Rowe, Michaud, Shawn Knight and MacDonald. After a rash of cautions just after halfway, things settled down for another long green-flag run. As Hoar racked up the lap leader bonus money ($100 per lap), MacDonald picked up the pace. He drove by Rowe on lap 158, then set his sights squarely on the No. 37 machine of Hoar.

With just 50 laps remaining, MacDonald led with Laperle second, Hoar third, Donoahue fourth and Turner’s Shawn Martin fifth. Martin ran off the radar for much of the event, then charged into the top five as the laps began to wind down.

Drivers who struggled in this year’s 250 include pre-race favorite Joey Polewarczyk, who spun out of contention; Ricky Rolfe, who was never a factor; Oxford veteran Timmy Brackett, who fell out early and finished dead last; and ageless Al Hammond, who struggled to a dismal 41st-place finish after mechanical problems.

OXFORD — In racing circles, he’s known as an outlaw. Not one to chase points at any track or in any touring series, Massachusetts native Eddie Macdonald picks and chooses the races he runs, some in the NASCAR Camping World Series and some on the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour.

Those races usually include the bigger ones with big purses, and after years of trying, he finally bagged the biggest short track race of them all, at least in the northeastern United States.

MacDonald took the lead for the third and final time on lap 168, and hung on to claim the 36th annual TD Banknorth 250 Sunday evening at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Quebec-based veteran Patrick Laperle ran among the leaders all night but settled for second, while Vermont driver John Donahue was third. Five-time ACT Tour champion Brian Hoar led 37 laps and came home fourth, while local favorite Shawn Martin completed the top five.

“This is awesome,” MacDonald said in Victory Lane. “I’ve got such a great team here. Rollie Lachance and his whole family, it’s just a great group of guys. Every one of them worked hard to make this happen. During six hours of practice in the last two days, they changed just about everything on the car. This is just such an awesome race to win. It is the biggest win of my career, and I can’t thank my team and sponsors enough for making it possible.”
MacDonald earned a whopping $35,200 for his efforts.

Laperle led briefly for five laps just after halfway, reeled in the leader with 25 laps to go but fell short of winning this region’s most prestigious short track event.

“Eddie was much better than I was in the outside groove,” Laperle said. “I was catching him for a while, but his spotter told him where I was gaining and he moved down to block. He had the best car, and ended up winning tonight. I’m happy for him, and am happy with the way we ran the whole race.”

Donahue led for 21 laps, but had nothing for Laperle or MacDonald. He started sixth after winning the sixth qualifying heat, and quickly showed he had found a hot setup for the mostly-circular Oxford layout.

“The cautions hurt me tonight,” said Donahue. “I was happiest during those long green runs, my car took 10 to 12 laps to really get going. I’m so happy to take home a top three in this race; this one is tough for anybody with the length and level of competition. There was a lot of close calls out there tonight. You just had to pick a lane and hope for the best. The high side actually worked best for me. My car didn’t have any bite up off the corner when I ran down low. It was hard for me to pass down there.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the 250 was Brent Dragon, Ben Rowe, Cris Michaud, Brad Leighton and Auburn native Travis Stearns. Ten cautions slowed the pace, none for serious incidents. Fourteen of the 43 starters finished on the lead lap, while MacDonald’s margin of victory was just under one second. There were seven lead changes among five different drivers. Along with MacDonald, Dragon, Donahue, Laperle and Hoar all took turns on the point.

NASCAR Nationwide Series star Kenny Wallace finished 33rd Sunday night, while nephew Steven struggled to a 21st-place finish. While both are talented drivers by any standard, the tricky 3/8-mile oval didn’t yield the desired results.

Both needed provisional starting spots to make the show after struggling in all three rounds of qualifying. Heat winners were Brent Dragon, Travis Stearns, Eddie MacDonald, Cris Michaud, Travis Adams and John Donahue.
At the drop of the green flag, Brent Dragon led the 43-car into Turn 1, with Eddie MacDonald and Vermont’s Cris Michaud in tow. MacDonald wasted little time in asserting himself, wheeling around Dragon to take command on lap five. Dragon went to the outside just nine laps later to re-take the lead, while MacDonald, Michaud and Auburn’s Travis Stearns gave chase.

As the leaders began to encounter lapped traffic, caution waved for the first time at lap 32 as Donnie Wentworth came to a stop on the backstretch. On the ensuing restart, Winthrop resident and Oxford regular Jeff White spun around in Turn 4, forcing half the field to make evasive maneuvers. MacDonald dove to the outside and barely snuck by, and luckily nobody made serious contact.

Once chief starter Kenny Tripp sent them back under way, MacDonald tried the inside line to get by Dragon, but found out quickly his car wasn’t nearly as fast down low. Once the field got back into a rhythm, Dragon took advantage of another green-flag run to check out on the field. Canadian veteran and defending ACT Serie Castrol champion Patrick Laperle powered his way up from 10th on the grid to run second by lap 50, while MacDonald faded back to fifth.

Dragon caught up to heavy traffic again by lap 60, allowing Laperle and Donahue to close the gap. Dragon dodged a huge bullet at lap 83, as he had to go three wide to get around Scott Robbins and Eric Williams. Laperle took a look to the bottom once, but had to back out of it and pull up behind Dragon when he realize the roadblock ahead.
After a blistering set of 59 green flag laps, Donahue found an opening and jumped on through. With traffic blocking Dragon’s path into Turn 3, the driver Ken Squire calls “Irish John” snuck by to become the event’s third different leader at lap 91.

As the race approached lap 100, the cream had truly risen to the top. Up front were veteran touring drivers Donahue, Laperle, MacDonald, Dragon and Brad Leighton. When it comes to Late Model short track drivers in the northeast, this group is among the very finest. As Donahue and Laperle tried to break away, Travis Adams was steadily wheeling his way into contention.

Laperle decided it was time to challenge for the lead as the race approached halfway. He made his move on the inside groove, powering by Donahue to take command at lap 119. When a caution came out for the third time at lap 129, those who had yet to hit pit roads for service elected to do so. Drivers rolling down pit road to the attention of their crews included Donahue, Laperle, Dragon and Leighton.

When the field went back to green, five-time ACT champion Brian Hoar took command since he had pitted 10 laps earlier and stayed out on the race track. Pre-race favorite Joey Polewarczyk had also pitted on the same sequence, and moved into second just before a spin by Larry Gelinas slowed the pace once again.

On the ensuing restart, Hoar and Polewarczyk went door-to-door for the lead, while Ben Rowe dove to the bottom. In a weird bit of deja vu, Polewarczyk drifted too high on the track coming through Turn 4 and slid completely off the racing surface. The 20-year-old hotshoe from Hudson, N.H., suffered a similar fate back on Memorial Day weekend over at Vermont’s famed Thunder Road. Polewarczyk fell off the top of Turn 3 while leading the race with just 18 laps remaining.

Hoar took off with Rowe in chase at lap 135, while Polewarczyk tried his best to get back on the lead lap.
With 100 laps remaining, it was Hoar, Rowe, Michaud, Shawn Knight and MacDonald. After a rash of cautions just after halfway, things settled down for another long green-flag run. As Hoar racked up the lap leader bonus money ($100 per lap), MacDonald picked up the pace. He drove by Rowe on lap 158, then set his sights squarely on the No. 37 machine of Hoar.

With just 50 laps remaining, MacDonald led with Laperle second, Hoar third, Donoahue fourth and Turner’s Shawn Martin fifth. Martin ran off the radar for much of the event, then charged into the top five as the laps began to wind down.

Drivers who struggled in this year’s 250 include pre-race favorite Joey Polewarczyk, who spun out of contention; Ricky Rolfe, who was never a factor; Oxford veteran Timmy Brackett, who fell out early and finished dead last; and ageless Al Hammond, who struggled to a dismal 41st-place finish after mechanical problems.


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