OXFORD — Defending track champion TJ Brackett held off an early challenge from his father, managed to keep a hard-charging Kyle DeSouza at bay during several restarts, and hung on to win the 50-lap Norway Savings Bank Trophy Dash for Pro Late Models Friday evening at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Troy Jordan (Outlaw Sportsman) and Josh Childs (Street Stock) also earned feature wins on the first night racing program of 2014 for Oxford’s Championship Series teams.

Brackett, of Buckfield, had his work cut out for him despite leading every lap. DeSouza fought tooth and nail on three late restarts, but failed to find the grip he needed on the outside lane. The PASS North regular settled for second, while two-time Oxford champion Shawn Martin finished third. Chris Coolidge and Tommy Ricker completed the top five in a highly-competitive season opener for the premier class.

“If it wasn’t for my loyal friends, I might not have made it here,” Brackett said. “I’ve been swamped with customer work still, so we didn’t get the car done until 3 a.m. this morning. I knew Kyle and Shawn were both fast, but this car was hooked up. It feels great to start a title defense off with a victory.”

DeSouza has been fast at Oxford in recent seasons during PASS events, and showed his skill at wheeling around their historic oval again Friday night.

“It wasn’t bad out there, I just used up the car a little early coming from the back,” DeSouza said. “All those late restarts really hurt us; I was just horrible on cold tires. It would take three or four laps to get it going and pull back into line. We were fast, but we had nothing for that No. 61 machine tonight.”


Martin saved some juice for late in the feature but came up a little short. He fell in love with Pro Late Models last season, saying they are “an absolute blast to drive.”

“The car was just a little too tight tonight,” Martin said. “My crew chief and I already know what we need to do for next week. It was a lot of fun to race with TJ and Kyle, there’s no place like Oxford for two and three-wide racing. There were a few many cautions tonight; hopefully things settle in soon so we don’t start tearing up equipment in the first few weeks.”

In earlier feature action, Jordan went wire-to-wire in the first Outlaw Sportsman tussle of 2014. The veteran from Turner powered past defending champion and polesitter Corey Morgan going through turns 1 and 2 and was never challenged. Morgan, who won 11 features in this class last season, settled for second, while Buckfield veteran Jerry Freve finished third. Mike Rand and Josh Toothaker completed the top five in a caution-free affair.

“I got lucky tonight,” Jordan said. “I think I got into Corey a little, but I sure didn’t mean to. He’s a tough racer, but we checked out and were able to hold him off. This is an excellent way to start our season.”

Childs ran away with the opening bout for Street Stock drivers. The talented hot-shoe from Oxford wheeled around polesitter David Whittier on the opening lap and checked out for most of the feature. Zach Emerson chased Childs the entire distance and really closed the gap as they raced to the stripe but came up just short. Spencer Morse had his machine dialed in nicely and claimed third, while Ryan Hewins nipped Whittier for fourth at the finish.

“It took a lot of hard work over the winter to get the car to this point,” Childs said. “I have to thank longtime Oxford veteran Mike Short, he really helped me on this effort. This is a family operation, so without the help from my father, mother and little brother, I wouldn’t be standing in Victory Lane.”

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