Cassius Clark (13) holds off Curtis Gerry on the final lap of the 2021 Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. Brewster Burns photo

Editor’s note: To commemorate the 50th Oxford 250 on on Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway, we asked a current and a former Sun Journal staff writer which of the previous 49 races is their favorite. Wil Kramlich chose 2021. Read Kalle Oakes’ favorite here.

It seems strange to call a stock car race too quiet, but the 47th Oxford 250 in 2020 was too quiet.

Sure, the 40-plus cars who started the race were quite noisy when they came around the frontstretch, but then they turned left to the backstretch and the swarm seemingly settled their decibels down.

The problem was that there were only 200 fans in the sprawling frontstretch grandstands at Oxford Plains Speedway, which normally seats 8,000 hootin’ and hollerin’ people on race day. But not during the COVID-19 pandemic and not with social-distancing guidelines in place. The race winner that year, Johnny Clark, even mentioned how quiet it was in a post-race interview.

That’s part of what makes the 48th Oxford 250 in 2021 all the more memorable.

IT GOT LOUD AGAIN! (Sorry, I felt like I had to say that over the crowd and cars that were screaming in my head while reminiscing about the race.)


The race-day atmosphere returned, along with the thousands of fans happy to be back, bumping elbows and shoulders in the bleachers as the cars down on the track bumped fenders. They were rewarded with a race that lived up to its billing.

The 2017 winner of the race, Curtis Gerry, had the dominant car early. Then the next-big-thing, Derek Griffith, whose résumé was starting to compare with someone twice his age, then took the top spot in the middle portion of the 250-green-flag-lap marathon.

The third and final act of the show started off with a bang — one between the left side of two-time winner Eddie MacDonald and the right side of Farmington native and fan favorite Cassius Clark as they battled for the lead soon after a lap-175 restart.

Clark took the top spot, albeit with a roughed-up right side. It miraculously made no difference as Clark’s tires stayed inflated and his lead remained intact — save for a brief lead change between Clark and Griffith with 27 laps to go.

Gerry gave Clark a slight bump in the final corner of the race, but Gerry stayed true to his reputation as a respectful driver and allowed Clark to hold on — to control of his car and to the win at the finish line.

It was Clark’s long-awaited first win in his 14th try — including numerous top-10 finishes. As a kid, he watched his father Billy Clark come oh-so-close but never seal the deal. Cassius had both his father and his son, Cale, in victory lane with him as he celebrated — along with thousands of happy fans in the stands.


Clark’s ability to win the 250 was never in question, but there was an hint of improbability in his victory. He had driven to a Pro All Stars Series victory at Oxford Plains two weeks prior, but that was Clark’s first time in his Nova Scotia-based race car since the previous year’s 250. It would have been understandable if there was some metaphorical rust for Clark and his car to knock off.

But the racer with the nickname “Cash Money” cashed in with his natural talents and a car that remained dominant while dormant.

It all made for a memorable Oxford 250, and my favorite since I started covering the race in 2016.

Wil Kramlich is the Sun Journal’s assistant sports editor and has covered every Oxford 250 since 2016. Contact him at

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