OXFORD — Tyler King and his family-operated race team from Livermore Falls made the last-minute decision to skip a race Saturday night at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway — where it was in contention for a NASCAR Pro Series championship — and focus on trying to qualify for the Oxford 250.

The gamble didn’t pay off, and in bizarre and perhaps unprecedented fashion.

King, a 19-year-old attempting to make the race for the first time, was disqualified from a transfer position not once, but twice, and went home empty-handed.

In the second of six 20-lap qualifying races, King was the apparent second-place finisher by a car length to Shawn Martin. Four drivers advanced to the main event.

But King’s car was too low in the post-race inspection, handing the fourth and final bid to Gary Smith. Prior to the shuffle, Smith lost out to Travis Stearns by one-thousandth of a second in a furious drag race to the line.

A resilient King charged from the rear to the field to fourth in his consolation race, one spot out of a ticket to the big show. It placed him on the outside of the front row for the 50-lap last chance race.

Scott McDaniel of Livermore and Dave Farrington Jr. of Jay led briefly before King moved to the front and set the pace for the final 40 circuits. Farrington made overtures to both the inside and outside of King but finished two car lengths off the pace.

Tech was pending, however, and again King reportedly failed the ride height check.

That vaulted Farrington — who himself was disqualified from a second-place finish in the third heat — to the victory. This time, Farrington passed the inspection and earned the 34th starting position.

“We had a spring come out, and that made the car too low, but I guess what goes around comes around with the ‘B’ main,” Farrington said.

Car count down

Sixty cars attempted to qualify for the race.

That was down seven from last year’s total, and it is 10 fewer than the next-smallest field under the super late model format, 70 in 2005.

For the first time in two decades, not a single Canadian driver entered. Karl Allard, Kevin Roberge and Matt Matheson were on the original entry list.

Jay Fogleman of Durham, N.C., the third-place finisher in 2013, also withdrew his entry, although his 14-year-old son Tate qualified for the second consecutive year.

Fogleman is the same age as Tyler Dippel of Walkill, N.Y., who also qualified. A third 14-year-old — Gunnar Rowe of Turner, the grandson of Mike, did not make the cut.

Best supporting actors

Race fans certainly could not complain about a shortage of divisions or laps of competition on 250 weekend.

Three-out-of-town divisions and the OPS Street Stocks were in action Sunday between super late model qualifying runs. Including heat races, fans saw 725 laps of green-flag racing on the program.

In the primary support feature, Mark Lucas made it a weekend sweep of the PASS Modified events and pocketed a $1,000 winner’s share.

Kris Watson won a 50-lap event for the Outlaw Late Model Series, and Matt Bourgoine continued his domination of NELCAR Legends with a 50-lap triumph.

Josh Childs ran away with the Street Stock 30-lapper.

On Saturday night, Tyson Jordan (Street Stock) and Michael Haynes (Outlaw Sportsman) went to victory lane. Avery Stoehr won the North East Midget Association special, with Jake Smith prevailing in the NEMA Lite event.

Almost an oversight

When he won the 2002 Oxford 250, Scott Robbins of Dixfield famously recited the list of previous winners from memory in victory lane.

Oddly enough, his win was nearly forgotten when a provisional starting position was riding it on late Sunday afternoon.

After Robbins and Larry Gelinas each failed to qualify, Gelinas was awarded the traditional provisional that goes to the most recent past champion unable to otherwise make the grid.

One problem: Robbins won the race six years later than Gelinas in 1996. He was added to the field as the 44th starter.

“My guys are still getting the stuff back out of the trailer,” Robbins said during driver introductions.


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