Even with a late start to the season, it’s hard to believe the 47th annual Oxford 250 is just around the corner.

The PASS Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150 on Sunday afternoon comes just two weeks before the Oxford 250 and represents the final PASS race at the track before the summer’s crown jewel.

“There will be an Oxford 250 this year,” PASS president and Oxford Plains Speedway owner Tom Mayberry told teams following a race at the track on July 18. “We met the other day and decided that we were going to run this race with or without fans. We just feel like we owe it to the drivers who prepare all year for this and we want to keep it going.”

The Oxford 250 is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 30. Currently, Oxford Plains will not be able to sell grandstand tickets for the event, due to state restrictions on crowd sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WILD TIMES FOR RENO

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Nick Reno.

The racer from West Bath picked up a pair of drought-snapping victories in a three-week span, including the first Pro All Stars Series Modified win of his career and culminating with his first Pro Stock win at his home track in nearly two years last Saturday.

Ironically, Reno’s victory at Wiscasset Speedway last weekend came on a night when he wasn’t even all that sure he wanted to head to the race track.

“We’ve raced the last four weeks at three different tracks with the Modified. I was basically asking my wife to give me an excuse not to race,” Reno said after winning the season-opening 50-lap Pro Stock feature, holding off Sidney’s Kevin Douglass over a series of high-contested restarts in the closing laps. “But she told me that she plans her whole summers around racing, so we were going racing. I’m glad it worked out.”

Nick Reno of West Bath stands in victory lane at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday night. Kennebec Journal photo by Travis Barrett

Reno was less impressed with collecting the second win of his Pro Stock career than he was by having emerged from such a busy spate of racing in victory lane.

“I guess it was important to get (the win), but it feels better to be fast,” said Reno, who won six weekly Modified features at Wiscasset last season and earned a PASS Modified victory at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, New Hampshire, on July 23. “I’ve won at two different tracks in two different cars this year in four races, and that feels better than anything. It makes me feel more diverse.”

But the victory Saturday may have come at a high cost for Reno.

Following a fire in his trailer late Saturday night, on Sunday he discovered the damage was significant. A spare battery in the trailer had ignited, devastating both the race car and several other components of his outfit.

Reno shared photos of the damage on Facebook this week.

“It’s a sad day for Reno’s Racing to say the least,” the team wrote in a post on its page. “The trailer is in rough shape and the car will need a complete rebuild. 2020 just keeps kicking us all!”

Nick Reno’s race car shows heavy damage from a fire in his hauler last weekend following a win at Wiscasset Speedway. Photo courtesy of Reno’s Racing Facebook page

2020 STRIKES AGAIN

Reno wasn’t the only Wiscasset Speedway regular who was lamenting bad fortune over the weekend.

Fayette’s Logan Melcher, who won a division-high four Late Model features in 2019 during a breakout campaign, has had nothing but bad luck — both at home and at other facilities — as 2020 has gotten up to speed.

After an accident in qualifying helped cut his night short in the season-opening Late Model feature at Wiscasset on Aug. 1, his Pro Stock debut at the track was plagued by trouble a week later.

“2020 has been a bad year for me,” Melcher said in the Wiscasset pit area last weekend.

Prior to Wiscasset opening, Melcher competed in a couple of Super Late Model races at Oxford Plains Speedway with very little in the way of results. Last Thursday, he bought a car from 2015 Wiscasset Speedway track champion Andy Saunders of Ellsworth and, two days later, was racing it for the first time.

He ended up getting more than he bargained for. When the car shut down inexplicably under a caution period, Melcher tried to fix a wiring problem in the cockpit.

“I got electrocuted,” Melcher said. “I tried to shake it (to reconnect it) and it broke off in my hand. I felt it go right through me all the way to the seat.”


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