OXFORD — He was the odds-on favorite, no matter who you asked. After winning the event in 2009 and cruising to victory in the two American-Canadian Tour races held at Oxford this year, Eddie MacDonald was tough to bet against going into this year’s race.

But when it appeared that his bid to repeat would fall short, bad luck suffered by the race leader opened the door for MacDonald to become the first driver to win consecutive races since Ben Rowe accomplished the feat six years ago.

Two-time NASCAR champion Brad Leighton, who had taken control of the race at lap 14, dominated the next 189 laps before a flat right-front tire took him out of contention. Leighton, of Center Harbor, N.H., lost control of his machine coming off turn 4 on lap 203, handing the lead to MacDonald, who was just waiting for an opportunity.

The defending race winner cruised past him in shock, then pulled away to a huge lead en route to the checkered flag.

“I have to thank my crew for this one, they worked so hard all weekend long to prepare this car and did an awesome job,” MacDonald said. “We changed just about everything on the car. We had to chase the track because it felt a little bit different than the last couple of times here. I just feel so bad for Brad (Leighton), he had a fast car. At least he led some laps and made some good money. I’m just thrilled to be standing here again.”

Vermont-based touring series veteran Brian Hoar led the first 13 circuits, pitted mid-race for tires and fuel, before making an impressive late-race charge up to finish second.


Oxford regular Corey Morgan of Lewiston put in a career-best effort, running among the leaders for much of the race and coming home third. Brent Dragon and Leighton completed the top five, with Leighton’s aggressive charge back up into contention drawing cheers from the crowd.   

Hoar is a veteran at long-distance races, with numerous ACT wins in his career and six points championships. In the early laps, it appeared that it might just be his year to bag the big prize.

“I wish we could have had something for Eddie tonight, but he was just too fast there at the end,” Hoar said. “I was able to save my car enough for a late run, but we came up a little short. We’ve finally got this place figured out in the last couple of races, and it feels good to get hooked up like this. We’re having a good season on the ACT tour, and a podium finish in the 250 makes it even more special. I’m happy for the whole team.”

Morgan has been getting faster each week during the 2010 season. When things first got rolling back in mid-May, it was Tommy Ricker stealing most of the headlines. But lately, it has been Morgan getting much of the attention. A lap down halfway into the race, he got a quick caution, got back on the lead lap and made one fantastic charge through the field.

“That was one of the toughest races I’ve ever run,” Morgan said. “After we went a lap down, I just had to bury my head and get back up where I felt I belonged. I had a little trouble getting through traffic, but the car was hooked up and we were able to salvage a good finish. I have to thank my team and sponsors, this kind of run in the 250 wouldn’t be possible without their help.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the TD Bank 250 was Nick Sweet, Patrick Laperle, Don Wentworth, Dave Pembroke and Ricky Rolfe. Other drivers of note in the final rundown include 2004 champion Shawn Martin (13th), five-time Oxford champion Travis Adams (19th), pre-race favorite among local drivers Tommy Ricker (21st), two-time 250 winner Ben Rowe (23rd), and NASCAR star Brad Keselowski (22nd).


Thanks to the blistering pace set by Leighton during a long green-flag run, only five of the 39 starters finished on the lead lap. Five cautions slowed the pace, the worst of which came out at lap 184 when Winthrop’s Jeff White slammed the backstretch wall. White was uninjured and walked away under his own power.

There were only two lead changes among three drivers, as this year’s short-track extravaganza was dominated by two drivers. MacDonald earned $29,800 for his efforts. With a minimum purse of $25,000 and $100 per lap for leading, it isn’t difficult to take home some serious cash.

The race was completed in one hour and 43 minutes. This year’s 250 brought Late Model teams from around the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, with 79 cars attempting to qualify for 36 starting positions.

There were some big surprises in qualifying and in the race itself, very typical for the unpredictable 250. In the first round of qualifying, heat winners were Hoar, Jay Lacquerre, Dave Pembroke, Shane Green, Leighton and White.

In earlier feature action, Darrell Moore (Mini Stock) and Jim Davis Jr. (Strictly Stock) recorded wins in their respective divisions in front of the biggest crowd they’ll see all season. Davis held off a hard-charging Gene Hatch for top honors in one of the best finishes of the day.

Each year, these support classes help fill in the gaps between qualifying rounds for the 250. It not only allows Late Model race teams a chance to prepare for the next round, but also puts the weekly warriors in the spotlight for one afternoon.

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