The list of past winners in the HP Hood Oxford 250 reads like a who’s who of short track stock car racing. With the 43rd running now upon us, we chose to reflect a moment on those elite drivers and find out what they’re up to in 2016.  

1974: Race fans across New England and beyond took notice when 21-year-old Joey ‘Kid’ Kourafas wheeled a Chevrolet owned by Bob Curtis to victory in a special race created by Oxford owner and racing visionary Bob Bahre. 

Kourafas was inducted into the New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame in 2012. Today, he still lives in Sharon, Mass., serves as crew chief for Richard Savary on the Tri-Track Modified Series and enjoys spending time with his family.

1975-85-92: Hudson, N.H. legend ‘Dynamite’ Dave Dion earned the first of three wins in the prestigious 250 the first year it was actually a 250-lap race. He would win again it in 1985 and go on to secure a third by holding off Dale Shaw in 1992.  

Dion now lives in Florida, yet visits New England during the summer. He’s currently working on one of his familiar No. 29 Busch North Series Fords to be displayed at the Northeast Motorsports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire. 

1976: Butch Lindley was the first southern-born driver to claim the 250. The veteran from Greenville, South Carolina, was a threat to win on any short track. Lindley passed away on June 6, 1990, after lying in a coma for five years.  

1977: Don Beiderman added an international flavor to the 250 when he crossed the stripe ahead of southern invaders Lindley and Bob Pressley, becoming the first Canadian driver to triumph in the fourth annual 250. Beiderman passed away in 1999 at the age of 59 after a long battle with cancer.  

1978: Bob Pressley, who’s son Robert made a name for himself in NASCAR Busch Series competition, was one of the most respected racers of his era. Bob passed away in 2004, but his grandson Coleman is now carrying on the family legacy at major short track races across the southeastern United States. 

1979: Tommy Rosati represented a changing of the guard in northeastern Late Model racing. His victory over Harvey Sprague and Bob Pressley proved some of the new kids had the skills to win. Rosati, now 56, lives in Agawam, Mass., and works as a mechanic at John’s Trucking, his father’s company. 

1980-81: Chemung, New York native Geoff Bodine was a successful young Modified driver when he first showed up at Oxford. He claimed the first of two back-to-back wins over Lindley and Morgan Shepherd, then outgunned Robbie Crouch and Jeff Stevens one year later. Bodine, who was Rick Hendrick’s first Cup driver, has retired from racing but still attends the occasional event. 

1982: Bolton, Vermont-based Mike Barry was a very popular driver on the old NASCAR North Tour. Barry gave northern drivers reason to crow when he held off Lindley and Maine icon Dick McCabe for top honors. Barry now resides in Belvidere, VT, and spends his time enjoying the scenic Northeast Kingdom.  

1983: “Terrible” Tommy Ellis was easily the most critical southern driver to ever strap into a race car at Oxford. He complained about everything from the track to how the locals cheated on rules. In the end, he would hold off McCabe and Claude Leclerc to become the last southern driver to win the 250. Ironically, Ellis now lives a low-profile life in Virginia after serving 18 months in prison for tax fraud.  

1984-97-2005: Mike Rowe was already a legend long before he claimed the first of three 250 wins. His first victory in 1984 was the first 250 win for a V6 engine. Rowe and runner-up Crouch put on a show for the fans and kept Lindley at bay. Today, Rowe still races full time in PASS North and won that series’ title in 2015. 

1986-90: Chuck Bown, of Portland, Oregon, earned his first 250 win driving the famed Skoal Bandit for car owner Quint Boisvert. His second victory in 1990 came behind the wheel of Jeff Hensley’s Nescafe Pontiac. Today, Bown is enjoying retirement with his wife Debbie and resides in Asheboro, North Carolina. 

1987-1989: Vermont native Jamie Aube is among the finest drivers the Green Mouintain State has ever produced. He claimed his first 250 win on a hot summer night in 1987, holding off former winners Dion and Kourafas. Today, Aube can be found racing his Late Model weekly at Devil’s Bowl in West Haven, Vermont.   

1988: After finishing in the runner-up position in 1983 and third in 1985, Maine legend Dick McCabe finally had his night to shine in 1988. The ‘Irish Angel’ held off Kelly Moore and second-generation Connecticut driver Randy Lajoie to become only the second Maine native to win the state’s biggest race. McCabe still lives in Kennebunk and can be seen at various vintage racing events meeting fans.

1991: Newburgh native Ricky Craven went on a tear across New England in 1991, winning all the big races in his No. 25 SpeedDee Oil Change & Tuneup Chevrolet. In mid-July, Craven outgunned Tommy Houston and Todd Bodine to win the 250. Today, Craven works for ESPN as a NASCAR analyst and visits Maine often. 

1993: Junior Hanley is regarded as one of the top drivers and chassis builders to ever come out of Canada. Hanley dominated the old ACT Pro Stock tour during the early 1990s, forcing his rivals to compete for second place. Hanley still builds a few cars and spends Saturday nights at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario. 

1994: Second-generation driver Derek Lynch made it two straight for Ontario drivers when he scored big at Oxford. Lynch moved on to compete in NASCAR’s Busch North Series, ran the Canadian Tire Series for a time and also operated the Kawartha Speedway for a number of years. Lynch now works for NAPA Auto Parts of Canada and owns Trent Hills Self Storage in Hastings, Ontario. 

1995: Dave Whitlock kept the Ontario streak alive at three straight with his impressive victory over nine-time Oxford champion Jeff Taylor and veteran Tracy Gordon. Whitlock is retired from racing and operates the contracting business he’s owned for 30 years. Whitlock was recently inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. 

1996: Larry Gelinas capitalized when Ben Rowe’s car ran out of gas to seize the biggest moment of his racing career. The ACT tour abandoned Pro Stocks in favor of Late Models after 1995, giving Maine teams an advantage that would last for years. Gelinas is still races weekly in 2016 at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. 

1998-99-2000: Ralph Nason, known affectionately as the ‘Sultan of Slaw,” for his ownership of Jim’s Salad Company, went on a three-year tear in the 250 starting in 1998. Winning three straight 250s has only been done once, and many feel it will never be repeated again. Today, Nason is retired and still lives in Unity. 

2001: Second-generation driver Gary Drew dominated the closing stages and drove on to claim his shot at 250 fame and fortune. The son of Maine Hall of Famer Homer Drew has retired from racing but still follows the sport closely.  

2002: Scott Robbins represented a new era of 250 winners to hail from Maine. The Dixfield native gew up around the sport, and was among the top runners from 2000 to 2004 when he won a title at Oxford. Robbins is back racing full-time at Oxford in 2016 and is battling with three-time champion Tim Brackett in points. 

2003-04: Ben Rowe now drives for Richard Moody Racing after winning a pair of 250s with New Gloucester-based Hi-Tech Motorsports. He won the PASS 150 at Oxford in mid April of this year, ending a long drought at his home track. Rowe may be one of the contenders to win on Sunday evening. 

2006: Jeremie Whorff led his father across the stripe in one of the biggest and most emotional 250 triumphs of that decade. Their one-two finish was a dream come true for the Lisbon natives. Whorff returns to the 250 this year driving for car owner Dick Woodman. He finished fifth in Woodman’s car in a PASS South race at South Boston (VA) on August 13. 

2007: This was the first year the 250 had been contested in Late Models after former track owner Bill Ryan Jr. eliminated Pro Stocks at the end of 2006. For Roger Brown, of Lancaster, N.H., it allowed him a shot at stardom. Brown has retired from racing after several years on the American-Canadian Tour.  

2008: When 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick came to Oxford, he brought his own car built by his employees specifically for the 250. Vermont native and veteran crew chief Shane Wilson was a big force behind that victory. Harvick now drives for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. 

2009-10: Eddie ‘The Outlaw’ MacDonald has raced and won in just about every type of car you can imagine. The former Busch North Series standout and crew chief Rollie Lachance took the 250 by storm with two dominant runs in the No. 17 machine. In 2016, MacDonald has been chasing a title in ACT competition.  

2011: Another NASCAR star made the trip north to compete in the 250, this time it was Kyle Busch who brought an immaculate machine and drove it to victory. In fact, Busch also won the PASS race (ironic, isn’t it?) at Oxford the night before. Busch now drives for Joe Gibbs Racing and is the reigning Sprint Cup champion. 

2012: Joey Polewarczyk Jr. made his name on the American-Canadian Tour going against tough veterans like Nick Sweet, Wayne Helliwell and Phil Scott. It all came together for the Hudson, N.H., native in 2012, as he claimed the 250 along with a handful of other major races. Polewarczyk is now focusing on his PASS North program and is among the heavy favorites after his run on July 31.  

2013-14: After Tom Mayberry purchased the speedway in late 2012, he brought the Super Late Models (formerly known as Pro Stock) back to the 250. Travis Benjamin of Morrill piloted his family-owned car to back-to-back wins to become only the fourth driver to accomplish that feat. Benjamin now drives for Petit Motorsports on the PASS North series. 

2015: Glen Luce ended a long winless streak when he finally conquered the 250 last August. The PASS North veteran from Turner gave crew chief Seth Holbrook his fourth 250 victory, while Holbrook’s vast chassis and suspension knowledge made a dream come true for Luce. With a win earlier this year at Oxford and a proven team at his side, Luce has a legitimate chance to repeat in 2016.  


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