This is the second in a series of recaps of the first 49 editions of the Oxford 250, in honor of its 50th running. The second decade included the first winners from Maine, the first three-time champ, close races and dominating performances. Here is a look at the 11th through 20th races:

This photo taken after Mike Rowe became the first Maine driver to win the Oxford 250 appeared in the July 10, 1984, edition of the Lewiston Journal. Screen grab

11. JULY 8, 1984
Finally, a Maine driver finished first. Mike Rowe of Turner won what some said was the most exciting 250 to date, and finally put the home state of the Oxford 250 in victory lane.

The purse was the largest ever for a short-track Late Model Sportsman event. There were 18 lead changes, the most in the 250’s early history. The per lap bonus increased to $100, and the grand prize of $26,475 that Rowe earned was the highest in race history at the time. And, finally, Rowe’s car was the first with a V6 engine to win the race. Many were skeptical a V6 engine could last the entire race, but not Rowe and not Kennebunkport’s Dick McCabe: “I knew that with Mike driving the V6 car, he was the person to beat.” The following year, five cars had a V6 and three of those finished in the top 10.

The 1984 race also was the last for 1976 winner Butch Lindley, who finished third in his final appearance. Lindley was involved in a crash in April 1985 and was in a coma for the next five years before he died in 1990.

12. JULY 7, 1985
When Dave Dion won the second Oxford 250, the total purse for the entire race was $27,000. Winning the 12th edition of the race netted the Hudson, New Hampshire, driver $30,000.

Dion started 17th and used a patient approach, deciding not to chase the $50 per lap awards. Dion only led one lap, the last one, which he gained by sneaking past Joey Kourafas — the first 250 winner.


13. JULY 14, 1986
Earlier in the year, Oxford Plains Speedway and NASCAR came to an agreement to make the Oxford 250 a NASCAR Busch Grand National event, which upped the race’s prestige even more. Big-name drivers showed up, but they didn’t fare well: Bobby Allison placed 32nd, Darrell Waltrip 35th and Terry Labonte 41st. Future three-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett, who was driving the same car Tommy Ellis won with in 1983, started on the pole but finished 40th.

After the race was delayed a day due to rain, Chuck Bown, from Portland, Oregon, but living in Franconia, New Hampshire, outraced Robbie Crouch and two-time winner Dave Dion to reach victory lane. Bown finished the race in a spinout, and Dion and Crouch had a late incident that led to a confrontation after the race.

14. JULY 12, 1987
Jamie Aube of North Ferrisburg, Vermont, earned his first Oxford 250 victory, and $31,000, by taking the lead with 22 laps to go after Farmington’s Billy Clark pitted. Aube held off the first two 250 champions, Joey Kourafas and Dave Dion, who placed third and second, respectively.

Clark wasn’t using the two-way radios that are universal now, and later said that if he had he might not have pitted because he thought his car had enough left in it to finish the race.

15. JULY 10, 1988
Kennebunkport’s Dick McCabe, who had six top-six finishes between 1981-’87, including a runner-up in 1983, finally broke through to win his first Oxford 250.

“The Irish Angel” had to overcome heat and a 90-minute rain delay to become the second Maine winner. Scarborough’s Kelly Moore placed second, the first time Maine drivers finished first and second.


16. JULY 9, 1989
Jamie Aube became the third driver with two Oxford 250 wins by holding off repeat-minded Dick McCabe.

Aube started 10th, the same starting position he had when he won in 1987. He took the lead for good on the 186th lap. Minot’s Bruce Haley took third, his highest finish in the 250. Ricky Craven, future NASCAR driver and analyst born in Newburgh, won the last-chance race, started at the back in 43rd place, took the lead on lap 144 and finished sixth.

17. JULY 8, 1990
Chuck Bown put to bed the theory that a driver couldn’t dominate the lap money and win the race by leading 200 laps and winning his second Oxford 250. Bown led the final 147 laps. For the day, he earned $51,782.

Ricky Craven celebrates winning the 1991 Oxford 250 in this photo that appeared in the July 8, 1991, edition of the Sun Journal. Screen grab

Tommy Houston took second and Joey Kourafas placed third 17 years after winning the inaugural 250 — the last of his five top-3 finishes.

18. JULY 7, 1991
Ricky Craven led 179 of the 250 laps, but bigger than that might have been the break he caught on the 202nd lap.

Craven had dropped out of the top three, but then rain began to fall and put the race under caution for more than 30 minutes. Craven pitted to replace his tires, and within 15 laps he retook the lead for good and became the third Maine winner. Tommy Houston was the runner-up for the second consecutive year. Todd Bodine, brother of two-time champ Geoff Bodine, took third.


19. JUNE 28, 1992
Dave Dion almost missed the Oxford 250 for the first time in its history. A phone call a few days before the race from Oxford Plains Speedway owner Michael Liberty convinced Dion to put aside his boycott of NASCAR. Dion showed up, and he won, becoming the first three-time winner.

This photo from the June 30, 1992, edition of the Sun Journal shows Dave Dion celebrating after winning his third Oxford 250. Screen grab

The race featured 19 caution flags and 120 caution laps. Dion, of Hudson, New Hampshire, took the lead for good on lap 177 but had to hold off a relentless challenge by fellow Granite State driver Dale Shaw from lap 190 on. Another New Hampshire driver, Babe Branscombe, took third, a finish that he called “the highlight of my career.”

20. JULY 18, 1993
Ontario’s Junior Hanley earned the pole for the 1979 race, but a midweek crash during a weeklong delay due to rain foiled his chances at the Oxford 250 title. He won the pole in 1982 but finished third. In the 20th running of the prestigious short-track race, Hanley won in dominating fashion to become the second winner from Canada — and the first in a stretch of three straight.

The race got off to a wild start. There were a record 20 lead changes, but all of them occurred before lap 144. That’s when Hanley passed Strong native Tracy Gordon and then held the lead for the final 107 laps.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.