Oxford 250 winner Cole Butcher holds the trophy in front of his No. 53 car after the victory Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway. Brewster Burns photo

OXFORD — Cole Butcher climbed out of his car in Victory Lane after winning the Oxford 250 and was greeted with boos.

The driver from Hantsport, Nova Scotia, took the lead with eight laps remaining after running into the back of leader Johnny Clark while the two were racing through lapped traffic.

Clark, the 2020 winner, ended up crossing the finish line fourth in Sunday’s 49th edition of the race at Oxford Plains Speedway.

In his Victory Lane interview over the public address system, Butcher began by apologizing for running into Clark – “I had nowhere to go,” he said. Clark had caught up to the rear bumper of Jimmy Hebert’s lapped car and got turned sideways between Hebert and Butcher’s No. 53 car.

But still, the boo birds rained down on Butcher.

“For one thing, I don’t want that to happen. That’s not how I race,” Butcher said. “You know, I had to do a couple bump-and-runs, but that’s because everybody’s hogging the bottom. So, you know what, we had better tires than everyone else and it showed in the end.


“But that’s not how I wanted to race Johnny. Johnny knows that, and, you know what, hopefully he’ll get over this.”

Clark, of Hallowell, had held the lead from 186 until the bump and spin. Clark and Butcher had pulled away from the rest of the field before the caution.

Butcher, who started the race 20th, took the lead after the collision, pulled away two restarts later and was comfortably headed to the white flag when the 18th and final caution came on Lap 148.

Oxford 250 winner Cole Butcher answers questions following the race about a collision with then-leader Johnny Clark on lap 242, after which Butcher took the lead and went on to win Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway. Brewster Burns photo

That gave two-time Oxford 250 winner Eddie MacDonald and Gabe Brown a chance to battle with Butcher for one more restart, but they didn’t have enough time, or speed, to make a move.

“I knew we didn’t really have anything for the lead. That 53 was fast,” said MacDonald, who won in 2009 and 2010. “But just the timing worked out good. Whoever had the outside was going to end up third on that restart. So, luckily, we were in the right spot at the end (to finish second).”

Brown wasn’t thrilled about starting on the outside of Butcher for the final restart.


“We were screwed when we were on the top and I didn’t know what to do,” Brown said. “I was sideways all the way around, and I was screwed on the top, and I just had to get to the bottom as soon as I could.”

Still, Brown called his third-place showing a win, considering his previous best finish was 10th and his next highest was 30th.

Butcher called his win “surreal.”

“You know what, I don’t do very good with my emotions. It might not seem I’m excited, but I definitely am on the inside,” he said.

He’s the first Canadian to win the Oxford 250 since 1995, when Ontario’s Dave Whitlock finished off three wins in a row from north of the border. Junior Hanley and Derek Lynch, also from Ontario, won the two years prior. Don Biederman is the only other Canadian winner, back in 1977.

Joe Pastore dominated the beginning of the race. After starting on the outside pole, Pastore jumped ahead of pole-sitter Curtis Gerry – the 2017 winner – at the drop of the green flag.


Pastore kept that lead until Gerry returned the favor off a Lap 51 restart, but that only lasted two laps until Gerry spun in Turn 1 while trying to stay ahead of Pastore in the outside groove.

Pastore caught up to the tail end of the field on Lap 72, then Max Cookson caught up to Pastore on Lap 81 and took over the lead.

After starting the race fifth, defending champion Cassius Clark exited the race just before the halfway point on Lap 124.

Max Cookson, front, and Eddie MacDonald battle for the lead on lap 125 of the Oxford 250 on Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway. Brewster Burns photo

MacDonald, who spun off track earlier because of a flat tire, got under Cookson and took the lead on Lap 130.

“You know, I thought we were kind of done when we got that flat (early),” MacDonald said. “I knew the car was pretty good at the beginning and we were kind of in the middle, three-wide, and unfortunately we kind of got tangled a little and actually ripped the valve stem right out of the wheel.

“So, unfortunately, that kind of screwed us up a little, changed our strategy a little. But luckily it worked out. We had to take tires a lot earlier than we expected. Thankfully we ended up second, and hopefully next year we’ll get ’em.”


MacDonald gave up the lead to pit under caution on Lap 180, when Pastore retired his car from the race. MacDonald said the reason for pitting was to get new tires again.

Calvin Rose Jr. took over the lead and held it after the restart until Johnny Clark grabbed the top spot on Lap 186. Butcher made a move after a Lap 220 restart to get into the second spot.

“There was no strategy. It was kind of every man for himself,” Butcher said.

Cookson, a 19-year-old from Pittsfield who racing in his first Oxford 250 and is in his first season driving a Super Late Model car, finished fifth.

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