Brandon Barker gets out of his car in Oxford Plains Speedway victory lane Saturday after winning a 100-lap race that served as a qualifier for the Oxford 250 coming up later this month. Oriana Lovell photo

Driving his way into the Oxford 250 hasn’t been a problem for Brandon Barker the past few years, but securing a spot into the big race by winning Saturday at Oxford Plains Speedway was a welcome bonus.

The Windham driver needed all 100 laps of the Oxford 250 Qualifier race to get the win, using a green-white-checker finish to beat Ryan Robbins. The win gave Barker a guaranteed spot in the 250 on Aug. 29.

“Feels good knowing we are locked in, so the stress of (Oxford 250) Sunday won’t be as bad,” Barker said Monday. “The 250 is the best race, in my opinion. Just being a part of it is great.”

Barker first attempted to race his way into the 250 in 2018, and he was successful. He finished ninth that year.

“I feel like lapped cars got in the way of a better finish, but that’s racing,” Barker said.

He made it into the big race again in 2019 and 2020 through the Sunday qualifying process (heats/consolation races/last-chance qualifier), and finished 13th in 2019 and 19th last year.

“Last year we struggled a lot, but we know why, so I’m more prepared this year,” Barker said. “And it’s still all about luck, and I hope my luck doesn’t run out.”

Brandon Barker (88) tries to get around Austin Teras (29) and Dave Farrington Jr., back, during Super Late Model action at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday. Barker won the 100-lap race that served as a qualifier for the Oxford 250 later this month.  Oriana Lovell photo

Barker lucked out, in a sense, on Saturday. He said that he things the late caution was the only way he was going to be able to beat Robbins. He felt he was better on short runs with cold tires, and the green-white-checker finish attempt gave him that chance — though he was also nervous about hard-charging Dave Farrington Jr., who finished third.

On the final restart, Barker said Robbins gave him an opening.

“I knew I wasn’t good on the top. I just had to get in line and hope (Robbins) would slide up, which he gave me a lane on entry of (turn one), which, it’s the last lap for the win, anyone would take it,” Barker said.

While the win — and the secured 250 spot that comes with it — feels good, Barker said that his work preparing for the big race isn’t finished.

“These next few weeks are gonna be important,” Barker said, noting that Oxford Plains Speedway has “mood swings” throughout the season. “We just gotta build a notebook the next few weeks and figure out what the car needs in certain track conditions and hopefully bring the best piece possible at the end of the month.”

An admitted decrease in stress about the 250 that comes with the qualifier win is welcomed for Barker, who noted his struggle last year extended beyond just his 250 finish.

“(Last year) my mind wasn’t really into racing. Honestly, part of it was struggling every week,” Barker said. “It’s frustrating as hell when you work harder on these cars than you do at your day job, to show up and struggle takes the fun out of it, honestly. But I got people that don’t quit and I’m not quitting.”

That no-quit attitude had him winning Saturday, and for that he knows he’ll be racing the last Sunday of August.

SPEEDWAY’S SATURDAY SLATE

Barker’s win in the qualifier was the main event of Oxford Plains Speedway’s Saturday show, but four other divisions were also in action.

Tyson Jordan picked up his first win of the season in Street Stocks, beating series points leader Jordan Russell.

Norway brothers Alex and Luke Mowatt continued their dominance of the Bandits checkered flags, with points-leading Alex earning his fifth win of the season to beat Luke, who tops the division with six wins this season. Jeff Libby, who is second in points, finished third.

Jeremy Turner won his fourth Rookies feature of the season, but points leader Maddy Herrick was the runner-up, which kept Turner from making up any real ground in the points battle.

Larry Lizotte was the winner in the Figure 8s race, with points-leader Eric Hodgkins coming in second.

FRIDAY FUN AT OPS

The weekend of racing started Friday night at Oxford Plains Speedway with the track’s Oxford Acceleration Series divisions in action.

After waiting so long for his first Runnin’ Rebels feature win, Addie McDaniel only needed to wait a week for her second, taking the 20-lap feature Friday night. Adam Oneil was the runner-up, and AJ Smith, who entered the night with a slim points lead over McDaniel, finished fifth.

Dominik Knowlton helped pad his points lead in Cruisers with a feature win, while Matt Hiscock took second.

Cam Childs, No. 2 in Outlaws points, was the No. 1 finisher Friday, with part-timer Jonathon Emerson the runner-up. Chris Foster, third in points, was third in the feature, while division-leader Brandon Varney was fifth.

Kasie Kolbe finally bested Breeanna Spaulding and the rest of the Ladies division for the first time this season. Points leader and seven-time winner Spaulding was second.

Kyle Glover beat runner-up Ryan Farrar in Sport Trucks to match Farrar with a division-leading three victories. Jake Dobson, the division’s points leader, was seventh.

Trying to gain ground on points leader, Jason Cyr, Scott Merrill won the 4-Cylinder Figure 8s feature Friday. Cyr was third behind Kyle Hewins.

WISCASSET WINNERS

Brian Robie won the Vacationland 100 for the Modified Racing Series on Saturday night at Wiscasset Speedway.

Other winners Saturday, as part of the track’s Group 1 divisions, include Shane Webber (Thunder 4 Mini), Dominic Curit (Super Streets), Cole Binette (4-Cylinder Pro) and Nick Hinkley (Pro Stocks).

RACING AT THE RIDGE

It was the Brandons show at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Brandon Lizotte won in Beetle Bugs, Brandon Johnson won in Mad Bombers Varsity and Brandon Williams won in Mad Bombers JV as part of the track’s Thursday Thunder divisions (which started racing with the regular weekly Saturday series starting in 2020). Keith Petrin won in Mighty Trucks, the other Thursday Thunder division.

In the regular Saturday divisions, Wyatt Alexander won in the Pro Series, Richard Pelton won the Sport Series feature and Jacob Vaughn won in Wildcats.

Anthony DeCapua won the Whiz Kidz feature.


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