Eddie Wins!
2 - Patrick Laperle
3 - John Donahue
4 - Brian Hoar
5 - Shawn Martin
"A GREAT Race"
When Eddie MacDonald and crew chief Rollie LaChance first joined forces years ago, both felt they would be competitive so two goals were set. The first was to win at Loudon in the Camping World Series East and the second was to win the Oxford 250 in the Late Model the two owned together. Last year the first was accomplished with back-to-back wins at Loudon. Last night, the second was realized with an impressive win in the TD Banknorth 250 in one of the most prestigious short track races in the country.

This year’s race is considered by many to be one of the very best in recent memory. The race for the win was intense but the racing throughout the field was relentless. There was side-by-side racing all night wherever you looked. No one left the track disappointed with the quality of racing that went on. Although MacDonald held the lead for over one hundred laps, every lap provided excitement with three and sometimes four-wide racing. Brent Dragon started on the pole as he and MacDonald swapped the lead in the early going with Dragon extending his lead by lap 32. Patrick Laperle, John Donahue, Brian Hoar joined Dragon and MacDonald as race leaders but it was all MacDonald when he took the lead from Hoar on lap 170 and never gave it up.

LaChance, a New Gloucester, Maine resident and Oxford Plains veteran for many years, was exuberant after the win saying, “This is a great win. I have wanted this one for a long time. It ranks right up there with the Loudon wins. We were okay early, then we faded in the middle of the race but we came back to take the lead and we were racing on our heat tires so I was thinking how good we would be on new tires. We took new rubber on lap 129 then Eddie had to fight his way through the field and was racing three and four wide. I was holding my breath a couple of times saying, ‘we have a good car, don’t wreck it.’ There’s a reason they call running three and four wide here the Angels Expressway. I am just so proud of this team and this win will be with us for a long time.”

Brian Hoar, a former competitor in the old Busch North Series, was on the move taking the lead on lap 139 and pulling away but MacDonald caught him on lap 165 and the race for the top spot was on. Hoar tried to regain the lead but finally slipped back to fourth as Laperle made a charge for the lead. MacDonald was too strong and established a solid lead as Laperle, Hoar, and Donahue battled for second place. With 25 laps to go, Laperle made a gallant effort and reeled in the leader but appeared to have used up his tires in the process giving the final ten laps all to MacDonald. Donahue finished third with Hoar and Shawn Martin completing the top five.

MacDonald put $35,200 in the coffers with the win and lead lap money. The Rowley, Mass. driver, only the third Mass. racer to win the Oxford 250, was thrilled with the win saying, “This is awesome. We came so close last year; it was great to get another chance this year to win it. The car was really good early on and it was fun to race with those guys. No one made it easy out there. It was hard-nosed racing right from the start. Laperle, Michaud, Hoar and all the others gave us all that we could handle. It is so much fun racing at this track and to be able to run three and four wide without getting wrecked shows what kind of drivers compete in this thing. We were so good after we took on the four tires; I was just trying not to mess up. I am so glad to win this for Rollie. Being a Maine guy, winning this one has been a goal of his since he started racing here. To win this is huge and I want to thank everyone for all the help and support, especially Harry Franson who owns Speedway Sports Park in Loudon. Harry has sponsored a number of big name winners of the 250 in the past: Dave Dion, Joe Bessey, and Joey Kourafas, just to name a few. To have him be part of another 250 win that means so much to him is great. Of course Ron and Becky Bennett from NEMO-New England Mechanical Overlay have been huge for us, as well as Rob Grimm and his family.”

Over seventy cars tried to qualify for the 43 car field, somewhat down from previous year’s numbers and perhaps a sign of the economic troubles. The Wallace family was in attendance with Rusty coming the closest to the finish line when he waved the green flag to start the race. His son Steven ran 21st, while Kenny finished 33rd. With the win, MacDonald qualifies for the ACT Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September and will try to add another win this weekend at Beech Ridge.

Eddie Starts the 250 from 3rd Place!
- Drew 8th for the third heat.
- Won the third heat.

NERacng.com: "Best heat yet! Eddie Mac is flying, using a third groove"

Top 12 starters for the feature:

(1) 55vt Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt.
(2) 85 Travis Stearns, Auburn, Maine
(3) 17 Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
(4) 6vt Cris Michaud, E. Montpelier, Vt.
(5) 03 Travis Adams, Canton, Maine
(6) 26vt John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
(7) 37vt Brian Hoar, Williston, Vt.
(8) 55nh Brad Leighton, Center Conway, N.H.
(9) 88 Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
(10) 91 Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Que.
(11) 25 Shawn Knight, South Paris, Maine
(12) 97 Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H.

Follow all the Oxford Plains action at the Speed51 "Trackside Now" posts:

Speed51 TD Banknorth Oxford 250 Index of Stories Page HERE

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