This past weekend, Oxford Plains speedway hosted their coveted Oxford 250 weekend, welcoming drivers and teams from across the country to compete in the biggest short track racing event in New England.
A massive rain spell on Saturday (quite literally) dampened a third of the race weekend and all of Saturday’s festivities were moved to Sunday, making for a jam-packed day of racing to cap off the weekend.
The change of schedule also meant that the PASS Modified drivers and teams were going to pull double-duty, competing in a 50-lap feature for the morning program and a 75-lap feature for the afternoon/evening program.
The 75-lap feature was unique in itself, as the feature had a title sponsor, Mayhan Antiques & More. In addition to the support of Mayhan Antiques & More, fans and businesses were encouraged to “sponsor” a lap of the race for $20. The $20 sponsor would go towards lap leader money, leaving an additional $1,500 up for grabs. The additional lap money upped the ante and provided additional motivation to the drivers and teams competing in the race. Mainely Awards also sponsored the feature race, providing trophies and “Hard Charger” & “Rookie of the Race” Awards.
26 PASS Modified drivers stacked the field for the first feature, with Chandler Harrison, Colby Benjamin and Gary Dwinal picking up heat victories to start off the day.
Spencer Vaughan took a spin on the initial lap of the 50-lap feature, resulting in a pileup at the tail-end of the field. The incident led to the first caution of the feature. Ajay Cates took off with the lead on the restart, but trouble was brewing behind the leaders as Colby Benjamin took a spin on lap 5 in turn 4, resulting in another yellow flag.
Ajay Cates pulled away from his competitors once again on the restart. Spencer Vaughan’s troubles continued as he took a spin on lap 13 in turn 2, but the field remained green. Jairet Harrison’s day took a turn as he spun on lap 15 in turn 1, collecting Bill Dixon and Justin Larson, among others. The incident resulted in yet another caution.
Ajay Cates held steady on the restart as Tyler King began to make his move, advancing to fourth over Kevin Durgin on lap 26 as Spencer Morse followed suit. Spencer Vaughan went around once more on lap 37 in turn 1, but the field remained green.
Ryan Ripley was all over Ajay Cates’ back bumper, hungry for the lead with just ten laps remaining in the feature. Meanwhile, Spencer Morse and Gary Dwinal were beating & banging for position just behind the leaders. Spencer cut down a right front tire on lap 44, falling to the back of the pack just 6 laps shy of the finish. Mayhem continued as Ryan Ripley sent Ajay Cates for a spin at the start/finish line on lap 48, resulting in a late-race caution.
Gary Dwinal powered to the lead over Ben Tinker and never looked back, securing his first feature victory of the 2020 season. Ben Tinker, Kevin Durgin, Tyler King and Troy Morse rounded out the top five. (Huge props to Troy Morse, who nabbed a top 5 finish in his first race back after a 12-year hiatus from racing.)
Bill Dixon, Spencer Vaughan and Kris Matchett secured heat victories for the Mayhan Antiques & More 75-lap main feature.
Jake Madore took off with the early lead in the main event, but Colby Benjamin was close behind, banging on his door by lap 7. Bobby Nadeau’s #35 machine began smoking heavily from the rear end on lap 9, but the driver powered through it and maintained his spot in the field.
Bill Dixon came to a slow on lap 12 after his strong performance during the heat race, retiring to the pits. Spencer Morse navigated through the field in the early laps of the feature, cracking the top 5 on lap 15.
Lap 16 began some early-race mayhem, with Jake Madore taking two spins followed by Troy Morse taking a spin on lap 19, making contact with Ajay Cates. The repetitive cautions slowed down the pace momentarily, but the field picked it back up by lap 19.
Spencer Morse powered into the runner-up spot over Ryan Ripley on the restart. By lap 24, he was riding Colby Benjamin’s coattails for the lead. Another spinning incident led to a caution shortly thereafter, squaring Morse and Benjamin up on the restart. Morse took over the lead, slowly pulling away from his competitors.
Tyler King was still paving his way to the front of the pack, challenging Colby Benjamin for the runner-up spot on lap 33 and taking over that lap. Ashley Beyea took a spin on lap 36, followed by Spencer Vaughan going around on lap 39. Both drivers were able to drive away under their own power as the field remained green.
The leaders began navigating lap traffic on lap 40, with 35 laps still remaining in the feature. Chandler Harrison put up a fight on lap 43, posing a threat to leader, Spencer Morse, as Tyler King was able to catch up to his back bumper. Lap 49 was met with more chaos as Ashley Beyea and Troy Morse both took spins, but the field remained green once again.
Spencer Morse and Tyler King met lap traffic once more with 25 laps to go. King made the most of it, pulling up to Morse’s back bumper for a second time on lap 54. Ashley Beyea’s struggles continued as she took a spin on lap 59 in turn 2, resulting in another caution. The incident was followed up by Troy Morse spinning in front of the field on the restart, erupting madness as drivers attempted to navigate through the chaos.
Spencer Morse pulled away with the lead on the restart and never looked back, securing a near full-straightaway victory over his closest competitor. Ben Tinker, Tyler King, Shawn Knight and Matty Sanborn rounded out the top five. The “hard charger” title was awarded to Tyler King while Gary Dwinal was awarded with the “rookie of the race” title.
The victory is #3 on the season for the Chasing the Checkered driver. Morse, coming off of his PASS Modified championship, entered the season with some strong finishes and a feature victory at White Mountain Motorsports Park. But, troubles began plaguing the #34 machine after the first few races of the season and it took the team a handful of races to get their groove back and return to winning form. Spencer’s climb back to the top of the podium this season is a true “Spinderella” story. He found his glass slipper on 250 weekend, but the rest of the story is still to be determined.
Tune in to see how it all plays out and support the PASS Modified division! I’m sure that this is a story that you’ll want to witness in real-time.
You can catch the PASS Modified division next on Saturday, September 19th, at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
Get out there & support your local short track! They need everyone’s support more than ever this year!
See you soon & continue to chase the checkered!