ARUNDEL — Joey Doiron’s 2013 Oxford 250 trophy dominates the living room decor at his family’s home in Berwick, the angel’s wings at its crest extending three feet above the wooden base.

It probably is a strategic placement, serving the same purpose as the defeated Super Bowl team sticking around to see its conqueror showered in confetti, or the runner-up in hockey’s championship series soaking in the sight of the winners skating to and fro with Lord Stanley’s Cup aloft.

“Every morning when I come down, it’s the first thing I see,” Doiron said. “It was awesome to finish second, but at the same time, it’s heartbreaking. We’ve got that trophy sitting in the living room, so every morning when I come down it’s the first thing I see. Hopefully this time we’ll win one a little bigger.”

Doiron, 22, gets his first chance at redemption Sunday evening, when Oxford Plains Speedway unfurls the green flag over one of the nation’s most famous, enduring short track races for the 41st time.

Travis Benjamin of Morrill was the rival who shattered Doiron’s dreams and rewrote racing history, making the winning pass on lap 204 before protecting the lead with a how-did-he-do-that split of two slower cars while Doiron zeroed in five circuits later.

Benjamin became Maine’s first winner since 2006 and joined a list that includes three-time 250 kings Mike Rowe, Dave Dion and Ralph Nason and NASCAR Sprint Cup stars Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

In many respects it was a career watershed moment for Doiron. His share of the purse was more than double what he would have pocketed for a typical victory on the Pro All Stars Series, and double what his team spent to enter the event.

“There was a time that it was just a dream to make the field,” Doiron said. “It just shows how far our team has come in a short time. Based on the past few weeks, I think we at least match where we were at this time last year.”

Doiron and Benjamin were among nine drivers in attendance Wednesday at the annual pre-race media day, held more than an hour off campus at Bentley’s Saloon.

The race enters its fifth decade at a crossroads.

For the first time since the early years, there is no title sponsor to help defray the nearly $130,000 in posted awards. This is the second 250 since PASS president Tom Mayberry of Naples purchased the speedway from Bill Ryan, reverting the format for the crown jewel race to “super late model” cars.

“I ran it once when it was a late model race, attempted it twice, but those cars just aren’t the same,” D.J. Shaw said. “I wouldn’t say I’d quit racing before I drove one, but I definitely prefer the super late model to a late model. There’s nothing quite like it.”

Shaw, 24, of Center Conway, N.H., is a co-favorite after rattling off four consecutive PASS North and South wins in the spring.

The defending 250 title is one of three victories for Benjamin, 35, in his past four Oxford starts.

“That’s definitely a factor. The last five (OPS) races the worst we’ve finished is fourth,” Benjamin said. “I’m very confident. I don’t want to sound cocky either. We’ve got a good set-up. We should be there. I’m going to be disappointed if we’re not in the hunt.”

Shaw, Doiron and Benjamin are second, fourth and fifth in the current PASS North point standings.

First and third? None other than Johnny Clark, who has a room full of 250- and 300-lap trophies taken home from other tracks throughout New England and Canada, and Turner’s Rowe, who is attempting to win the race in four different decades after victories in 1984, 1997 and 2005.

“You’ve got to have a lot of patience to be there at the end,” Rowe said. “I think that’s why we’ve got three wins.”

Other local drivers who combine both long-distance experience with a lifetime of OPS success include two-time winner Ben Rowe of Turner, PASS champion Cassius Clark of Farmington, and Glen Luce, also of Turner and runner-up to Harvick in 2008.

OPS Budweiser Pro Late Model point leader Shawn Martin of Turner leads the contingent of hopefuls who frequent Friday and Saturday nights at local short tracks. The father-son combination of Tim and T.J. Brackett of Buckfield, Jeremy Davis of Tamworth, N.H., and Dave Farrington Jr. of Jay (No. 1 in Beech Ridge Motor Speedway points) also fall into that category.

“Oxford is kind of quirky. There’s a couple of little secrets that weekly guys know about the track and the way things change,” Martin said. “But the tour guys are used to running long-distance races, and they’re used to adjusting while we don’t adjust as much. I don’t vary the set-up a whole lot week to week. We’re pretty close one way or the other.”

The return to super late model specifications also reopened the door to a dormant tradition that once was a hallmark of the race: Multiple entries from drivers south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Jay Fogleman of Durham, N.C., hopes to improve upon his third-place effort in the 2013 showcase. His son, Tate, also is considered a threat along with fellow PASS South stalwarts Preston Peltier and Daniel Hemric.

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Steve Park is entered in the 250 for the first time, in a car owned by Maine native Dick Woodman.

“The competition is equal. Those guys race on different kind of tracks than we do,” Shaw said. “I’m confident that the northerners have the upper hand at Oxford, but they’re definitely not far behind us at all.”

Qualifying races begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.

There is daily practice and nightly racing Friday and Saturday. Friday’s Sun Journal Night features the PASS Sportsman and Modified tours atop an eight-division card at 7:30 p.m.

The debut of the PASS New England Late Model series for a 125-lap event and the North East Midget Association’s return to OPS after a lengthy absence take center stage at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Sunday’s top prize is $25,000, plus $100 for each green-flag lap led. One driver will rejoice, while 60 or more will feel Doiron’s lingering pain.

“I guess for a few weeks after I was pretty disappointed. We just got beat,” Doiron said. “We still finished second. That would make 95 percent of the people that come to that race happy, just to finish second. It’s good, but it’s heartbreaking that it happened the way it did.”

1. Johnny Clark, Farmingdale, 1,739

2. D.J. Shaw, Center Conway, N.H., 1,717

3, Mike Rowe, Turner, 1,707

4. Joey Doiron, Berwick, 1,674

5. Travis Benjamin, Morrill, 1,662

6. Glen Luce, Turner, 1,626

7. Cassius Clark, Farmington, 1,615

8. Curtis Gerry, Waterboro, 1,545

9. Ben Rowe, Turner, 1,533

10. Richie Dearborn, Hollis, 1,003

Oxford Plains Speedway Pro Late Model Point Standings

1. Shawn Martin, Turner, 409

2. Jeremy Davis, Tamworth, N.H., 397

3. T.J. Brackett, Buckfield, 396

4. Tim Brackett, Buckfield, 362

5. Shane Green, South Paris, 348

6. Trevor Sanborn, Limerick, 336

7. Chris Coolidge, Norway, 308

8. Scott Moore, Anson, 297

9, Scott Farrington, Minot, 286

10. Quinny Welch, Lancaster, N.H., 279

Most Oxford 250 wins

3- Mike Rowe, Turner

3- Ralph Nason, Unity

3- Dave Dion, Hudson. N.H.

2-Geoff Bodine, Chemung. N.Y.

2-Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.

2-Chuck Bown, Portland, Ore.

2-Jamie Aube, North Ferrisburg, Vt.

2-Ben Rowe, Turner

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