OXFORD — Tradition has taken the checkered flag at Oxford Plains Speedway, where weekly racing will return to its historical place on Saturday nights, beginning August 2.

The change from Friday nights was announced to drivers, crew members and fans prior to the start of racing Thursday night.

Thursday’s program was a regularly scheduled, annual racing and fireworks celebration, one that traditionally is attended by several thousand spectators.

Track owner Tom Mayberry’s announcement ends a relatively unsuccessful move to Fridays, one that was announed when his family purchased the track from Bill Ryan prior to the 2013 season.

It was a move initially made to allow drivers and track officials who participated on Mayberry’s Pro All Stars Series to have Saturdays and Sundays free for those semi-regular events throughout the spring and summer.

Crowds were sparse, however. And although car counts have been relatively solid — averaging more than 30 entrants each week in the top division, Budweiser Pro Late Model — others voiced concerns that they were unable to compete or attend regularly due to weekday work commitments.

Oxford also now has technical inspection and management teams that are independent from PASS, making the switch a feasible and sensible one.

“Guess I need to find a car,” longtime driver Jeff Merrill of Roxbury wrote on his Facebook page, voicing his approval of the change.

Other, more ardent fans noted on social media pages that they enjoyed the freedom of attending OPS on Friday and then having the choice of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Wiscasset Speedway or a tour race on Saturday.

“If two of the tracks got together, ran alternate divisions with the same rules every other weekend, the fans could get their fill, the racer could choose to race every weekend or every other, and maybe each track would benefit in car counts,” proposed Dan Morris of Auburn.

The change will not take effect until after the 41st annual Oxford 250 weekend, which is scheduled for July 18-20.

Weather permitting, the final six Championship Series races of the season will run on Saturdays.

OPS also presents its entry-level Acceleration Series on Wednesdays throughout the summer.

Oxford operated on Friday nights once previously in its 65-year history — in 1994 and 1995. Vermont’s Tom Curley was the promoter under the ownership of Michael Liberty at the time.


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