Kyle Busch burns out in celebration of his win in the TD Bank Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on July 24, 2011. Press Herald file photo

This is the fourth in a series of recaps of the first 49 editions of the Oxford 250, in honor of the race’s 50th running on Sunday. The fourth decade featured two champs from NASCAR, a family with a dominant day and a repeat. Here is a look at the 31st through 40th races:

31. JULY 18, 2004
It’s difficult for Turner’s Ben Rowe to do anything in a race car that his dad, Mike, hasn’t already accomplished. But Rowe did just that in the 31st Oxford 250 by becoming the third driver to repeat as champion, joining Geoff Bodine (1980 and ’81) and Ralph Nason (1998-2000).

In a race that featured NASCAR stars Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch, Ben Rowe cut Hebron native Alan Wilson’s 4-second lead in half, then took over first place when Wilson’s car failed him on the 238th lap. Wilson finished fifth. Albany Township’s Ricky Rolfe came in second, Kenseth took third after starting at the back, and Mike Rowe was fourth. Busch, in his only Oxford 250, placed 13th.

Ben Rowe of Turner celebrates his second straight victory at the Oxford 250 on July 18, 2004. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald file photo

Rowe’s victory put him in the company of two-time winners, which includes his dad, and made him the ninth consecutive Mainer to earn the checkered flag.

32. JULY 31, 2005
Leading up to the 2005 race, two-time champion Mike Rowe said of his two-time champ son, Ben: “He’s definitely got a lot more chances to win his third one. I’m getting a little over the hill here now.”

First, Rowe is still racing 18 years later. Second, Mike Rowe needed only one more chance to join the three-win club. Well, he also needed the last-chance race to even make the feature, and started 37th out of 40 drivers.


Rowe worked his way to the front and slipped under Johnny Clark with nine laps remaining and held on for his third win, this one only eight years after his second (he waited 13 years between wins No. 1 and 2). Clark took second and Nick Nichols of New Sharon was third.

Rowe (1984, ’97, ’05) joined Dave Dion (’75, ’85, ‘92) and Ralph Nason (’98, ’99, ’00) as the only three-time winners to that point, and he and Dion are the only drivers to win Oxford 250s in three different decades. The victory also was Rowe’s 150th at Oxford Plains Speedway.

33. JULY 30, 2006
The Rowes are the first family of the Oxford 250, having won a combined five titles. But even they never accomplished what 22-year-old Jeremie Whorff and his dad, 44-year-old Bill Whorff, did in 2006: finish first and second, respectively, in the 250.

Jeremie Worff, second from left, and his crew celebrate after Worff won the Oxford 250 in July 2006. Whorff’s dad, Bill, placed second. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald file photo

Jeremie Whorff, of Topsham, qualified for the first time and started in the No. 2 spot. He stayed near the front and even led a few times as bad luck befell contenders Dale Shaw, Mike Rowe, NASCAR star Kyle Busch and Jeff Taylor. Busch overtook Whorff on lap 156, but three laps later his car gave out on him. After that, Jeremie and Bill Whorff drove away to glory.

34. JULY 22, 2007
The decision to switch from Pro Stocks cars to Late Models left the 2007 race wide open. New Hampshire’s Roger Brown took advantage, getting the nose of his car across the finish line just ahead of 59-year-old Dale Verrill of Paris for the victory, breaking a string of 11 straight races won by a Maine driver.

Brown built a large lead, but Verrill closed the gap in the late laps to set up the sprint to the finish line. Scott Payea finished third.


35. JULY 21, 2008
Kevin Harvick saw Oxford Plains Speedway for the first time on Friday, July 17, 2008. He quickly figured the track out, and following a one-day delay due to rain, he won Monday’s race and became the first active NASCAR Cup driver to win the Oxford 250.

Harvick beat Glen Luce by a few car lengths. Luce placed second and was one of three Turner drivers to finish in the top five, along with Shawn Martin (fourth) and Ben Rowe (fifth). New Hampshire teenager Joey Polewarczyk Jr., four years away from winning the 250, finished third.

36. JULY 19, 2009
Kevin Harvick overtook Eddie MacDonald, who had led nearly half the 2008 race, on the 136th lap and held the lead for the remainder of the race. A year later, the Massachusetts outlaw refused to give up the lead.

MacDonald took the lead for good on lap 168. Patrick Laperle closed the gap to less than two car-lengths, but MacDonald pulled away in the final 10 laps. Laperle was the runner-up, and John Donahue placed third.

37. JULY 18, 2010
Coming off a victory the year before, Eddie MacDonald was the favorite to win in 2010. He bided his time and followed through, becoming the first repeat winner since Ben Rowe in 2003-04.

Brad Leighton dominated the race, leading from the 14th lap until the 203rd when he lost control of his car in Turn 4 and left an opening for MacDonald, who took advantage and became a two-time winner.


Brian Hoar came in second, and Lewiston’s Corey Morgan had a great day and placed third.

38. JULY 24, 2011
NASCAR star Kyle Busch returned to Oxford Plains Speedway for his third attempt at the 250. Armed with lessons learned and a Dale Shaw car built specifically for this race, the 25-year-old Busch added his name to New England short-track lore.

Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday, July 24, 2011. Press Herald file photo

Jeff Taylor passed Busch with 25 laps to go, but Busch, who also won the PASS race at the track a day earlier, got the lead back and held on to join Kevin Harvick (2008) as the only active a NASCAR Cup Series drivers to win the 250.

Nick Sweet placed second, and 17-year-old Austin Theriault of Fort Kent finished third.

39. JULY 22, 2012
New Hampshire’s Joey Polewarczyk Jr., only 23 years old but already accustomed to big days on race tracks, had his biggest to win the 2012 Oxford 250.

Polewarczyk had the fastest car, but it’s the way he drove it that made the difference. Starting from the No. 2 position, he led the first 135 laps before pitting. He regained the lead 47 laps later when he passed future winner Wayne Helliwell Jr. on the 182nd lap, then held off Farmington’s Jeff Taylor over the final 30 laps.

Taylor placed second, while Austin Theriault came in third. Trevor Bayne, about a year removed from winning the Daytona 500, couldn’t repeat Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Cup magic from a year earlier and finished 31st.

40. JULY 21, 2013
The Oxford 250 switched to Super Late Model cars, and a Maine driver returned to victory lane. Morrill’s Travis Benjamin eked past Joey Doiron and held on for the final 42 laps to win the state’s crown-jewel race. Doiron was the runner-up, followed by Jay Fogleman.

Travis Benjamin’s name was going on the trophy, but it was only the beginning: soon his name would join the conversation of best drivers in 250 history.

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