Staff Writer

The 39th annual TD Bank 250, the biggest race in the state, is Sunday night at Oxford Plains Speedway, but that’s not the only show at the track this weekend.

For the second consecutive season, the Pro All Stars Series North will race at OPS the night before the 250.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Farmington driver Cassius Clark, who is chasing a PASS North points title. “There’s a lot of people and you get everybody camping out. It can get pretty wild.”

The 150-lap PASS North feature is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Teams will be practicing throughout the day, along with drivers who’ve entered the TD Bank 250.

Lost in the hoopla of the busy weekend, however, is a tight points battle between the top five drivers in PASS North.

Travis Benjamin of Morrill leads with 1,701 points. He has one win and six top-five finishes in eight starts.

Cassius Clark is second with 1,692 while four-time defending points champ Johnny Clark is third with 1,691.

The Clarks, who are of no relation, are the only drivers with two victories in the series this season.

“This is a race everybody wants to win,” said Johnny Clark of Farmingdale. “Oxford is a home track for a lot of people.”

Added Cassius Clark, who drives for Hight Motorsports after competing on a limited basis last season: “It’s a big weekend because we’re in the middle of a big points battle. We’re all pretty darn close to each other. You can’t have any more bad days.”

Cassius and Johnny Clark have had a few of them already.

Cassius Clark failed to finish two races, setbacks that have prevented him from overtaking Benjamin at the top.

Johnny Clark, meanwhile, has finished outside the top 10 twice and has just one heat victory all season.

Drivers earn points for winning their heats.

“We’re not going up to our standards,” Johnny Clark said. “I’m certainly not counting points right now. We just are trying to get back to what we’ve done before. We just haven’t been where we should be.”

Clark added he and his crew have made big adjustments to the car this week.

“We’ll either be really good or really bad,” he said. “We’ve done some adjusting. We’re trying to make sure everything is just right.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch won the PASS North race last year. He edged Cassius Clark for the victory. Busch then took the checkered flag at the 250 as well.

His appearance created quite a buzz at OPS, which hosted a PASS North race for the first time since 2007.

Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champ, entered the TD Bank 250 this year, but will not compete in the PASS North feature.

OPS President Bill Ryan said he is curious to see what the turnout will be Saturday night.

“It will be interesting to see how much Kyle Busch had a factor,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what happens this year without the Kyle effect.”

Added Johnny Clark: “I don’t think Kyle affected it that much. There is a pretty big following. I expect a pretty good crowd Saturday.”

* * *

There will be no racing at Unity Raceway this weekend because of the TD Bank 250.

“The drivers voted and that’s what they wanted to do,” said track manager George Fernald, Jr. “All but five of the drivers wanted to go watch Oxford and half my crew did, too. It was a pretty easy decision.”

Fernald added that Unity was open last year during the 250 weekend, but that it “was not a good weekend for us.”

Racing will resume July 28 at Unity.

* * *

Bayne, 21, the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500, will be signing autographs from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at Quirk Ford at 7 Water St. in Hallowell.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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