It would be hard to fault drivers at Oxford Plains Speedway’s long-delayed opening day on Saturday for driving a little overzealous, after having to wait so long to finally get the season started. Especially with divisions in action with names such as Outlaws and Rebels. 

That wasn’t the case, however.  

“It was actually a real clean day of racing,” Outlaws driver Brandon Varney said. “It was very nice to see and a little surprising.” 

Varney, who finished second in last year’s Outlaws series championship to Calab Emerson-Mains, placed second Saturday to Emerson-Mains’ cousin, Jonathon Emerson. 

“Jon and I left the field, no cautions,” Varney, an Auburn native, said. “Good race. Clean, very clean. 

“Just didn’t have enough grip to get fully around. Rode on his outside for a while, tires just didn’t hold up. Really happy with a second on opening day.” 

The 10th-place finisher in the Outlaws feature, Breeanna (Spaulding) Tucci of Lisbon, said she did “not so hot,” but it was also her first race in a new division, after winning a second-straight Ladies division points championship last year. 

She ran that Ladies division car on Saturday, but said she “can’t wait for my motor to be done for my new car.” 

Despite being in a new division in an old car, Tucci said she “was able to keep up, which is good.” 

The Outlaws are part of Oxford Plains’ Acceleration Series, which normally runs on Wednesday nights. But those divisions ran the first of two racing sessions in the morning Saturday, with the Oxford Championship Series that typically runs on Saturdays getting the night session. 

The Ladies, Rebels, Cruisers and Trucks also ran Saturday morning. 

Tucci, like Varney, noted how respectful the racers were on the 3/8ths-mile oval. 

“Honestly it was good. I think everyone was just happy to be back,” she said. “First race of the year, so everyone was excited. Didn’t seem like people were over-driving at all.” 

Just as clean as the racing was the facility, with ownership trying for months to get an approved plan for opening that was finally granted by the state to make Saturday’s opening day possible. 

“People were social distancing. I noticed the bathrooms being cleaned every hour. We had to make sure all cars in the pit had a space in between each car. There wasn’t an extra amount of people either, so they didn’t come unless they were a part of a crew,” Tucci said. “We couldn’t draw our own numbers for starting positions, they had to do that for us.” 

Only drivers and their respective crews were allowed in, and only in the pit area behind the backstretch. The front grandstand along Route 26 was closed to fans, and Tucci could feel that void. 

“It sucks not having fans, that’s for sure. That’s a big part of why I like racing,” she said. “Kind of felt like we were all practicing.” 

Despite the lack of spectators, Varney said there was definitely extra excitement in the pit area. 

Tucci called it “the best feeling to be back.” 

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