Cars were supposed to be on the track at Oxford Plains Speedway this Sunday, but the season’s first race will have to wait. Sun Journal file photo

Brandon Barker, like every race car driver, worked all winter long on his car, waiting to get it out on the track and get to racing. 

He’ll have to wait even longer than he thought, and no one knows for sure exactly how long that will be due to the coronavirus causing postponements.

A regular at Oxford Plains Speedway, Barker was hoping to compete full-time in the regional Pro All Stars Series, while also racing Saturday nights at Oxford when the PASS tour was off. 

“It sucks,” Barker, a Windham native, said. “I mean, you work all winter to get ready, especially work to get all ready for (the scheduled PASS season-opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in) Loudon.” 

The postponement of the Northeast Classic at Loudon, originally scheduled for April 18, was the first shoe to drop. Then Oxford Plains made the official announcement Tuesday that a doubleheader event with PASS and the American-Canadian Tour scheduled for this Sunday had also been postponed. 

“That sucks, too,” Barker said. “Missing any type of racing really sucks. I feel like I work more during the week than I do at my real job (at Maine DOT) on working on the cars, getting them ready to go to the race track. There’s nothing else to do.” 

A new date for the Oxford Plains doubleheader hasn’t been set. 

Brandon Barker helps push his car through the pits at Oxford Plains Speedway during a race day in 2019. Oriana Lovell photo

“Right now we’re just kind of looking (at it) as hopefully when they get done with the stay-at-home order, we’ll go from there, and be able to operate shortly after that,” Oxford Plains vice president Mike Mayberry said.

The regular season at Oxford Plains is scheduled to start on Saturday, May 2, which is after the stay-at-home order in Maine is currently set to expire.

“We’ll just look at it kind of as we go, and go from there,” Mayberry said regarding making any changes to the schedule. “But right now we’re real positive, we really don’t think we’re going to lose much of the season at all with it. So we’re thinking it will probably get going here shortly.” 

Mayberry said the postponement of the PASS/ACT doubleheader was expected.

Barker is now looking ahead to the rescheduled Northeast Classic, which is set for May 8 and 9. He’s optimistic that the event will happen. 

He got a taste of racing at the 1.058-mile track this past Saturday when he competed in the Northeast eClassic event on iRacing, which included drivers from the PASS and ACT tours and various tracks in New England, including some from Oxford Plains. 

“That was fun, something to do to pass time, but it’s still not the real thing,” said Barker, who doesn’t use iRacing much with what he said is an outdated computer. 

Mayberry said he doesn’t see PASS or Oxford Plains getting involved in iRacing, but did say of the Northeast eClassic that “everybody’s staying excited about doing some form of racing, so that’s good.” 

While waiting even longer than he would have liked, Barker is itching to get in his real race car and get onto the real track. 

“Just hopefully this can pass fairly soon, fairly quick, and the restrictions or whatever can get lifted so we can get back to it,” he said.  

DRAGWAY WAITING FOR GREEN LIGHT 

Near Oxford Plains Speedway, New Oxford Dragway is preparing for its second season of ownership under Les Williams while waiting for its own season to start. 

The strip at New Oxford Dragway lay empty last Saturday, though work was being done at the facility to get ready for when the season starts. Submitted photo

The dragway’s season was supposed to start April 18 with a test-and-une day, and competition was set to begin on May 1. Now the first test-and-tune day has tentatively been moved to May 2. 

“We are still waiting to hear what the state and town wants us to do,” said Williams, who said he would consider holding drag races without fans. 

“I’ve been receiving an overwhelming amount of messages about opening from racers,” he added. 

The delay in the start of the season has given the track’s staff time to do some work at the facility, including installing a new timing tree. Williams also said that his other business, The Shop in Limerick, has been “busier than ever” with both performance and dyno work. 

Still, he would like to see his newer endeavor get going again. 

“Being isolated has taken a toll on so many,” he said. “I think anything outdoors will make a huge difference in anyone’s lives at this point.” 


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