OXFORD — Travis Benjamin insists he’s not feeling any extra pressure this year as he seeks a third consecutive victory Sunday in the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Benjamin, 34, of Morrill hopes to become only the second driver in the 42-year history of the event to win three straight years. Ralph Nason of Unity did it from 1998 to 2000 and was the oldest winner at age 60.

“The approach I took last year was, I’m going to take it all in and I’m going to enjoy it, and I’m not going to stress about it,” Benjamin said. “There’s not many people who have had a chance to (win) three.”

Benjamin can remember how excited he was to watch the race as a youngster.

“The 250 was our Daytona 500,” he said. “I remember sitting in the stands when I was a kid just wanting to be in the race. I never even thought of winning it.”

Now that Benjamin has become only the fifth driver to win back-to-back 250s, he’s trying to maintain the same attitude he had as a spectator.

“I’m happy to be there,” he said. “You’re happy to be in the show. Winning it is a bonus, a dream come true.”

If everything goes well, Benjamin is convinced he can contend.

“We’ve been very fortunate to get two (wins), but I feel strongly we can get a third one if things go our way. No question about it,” he said. “We’ve got the car. We’ve got the team. Everything’s the same as it’s been the last two years.

Benjamin is winless in 12 PASS North races this season. He has nine top-10 finishes and has been among the top four four times.

With four races to go on the regional tour for Super Late Models, he’s in fourth place in the points race, 94 behind the leader, Mike Rowe.

Rowe, 64, of Turner – a three-time Oxford 250 winner – has three wins this year and has been among the top 10 finishers 10 times in 12 starts.

Benjamin, who won the PASS North championship in 2012, has already run two 150-lap PASS North races at Oxford Plains this year.

On April 19, he finished 24th while Rowe earned his 151st career win at the track.

“The first race we kind of struggled, but it was the first race of the season,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Benjamin finished sixth in the HP Hood 150 after starting from 24th place.

“After 80 laps we were fifth,” he said. “We kind of got messed up on a restart, and then a lapped car got real loose in front of me and I had to check up. When I checked up to miss him, it put me almost a straightaway behind, but we caught up to the top three cars by the end of the race.”

Benjamin said he was satisfied with the way his car performed.

“I was really happy with the car,” he said. “At Oxford, we’re really, really good at night. Once the weather cools down, we’re usually really, really good.”

NOTES: Back-to-back winners of the Oxford 250 include Geoff Bodine (1980-81), Ben Rowe (2003-04) and Eddie MacDonald (2009-10). Rowe and MacDonald will try to qualify for Sunday’s race.

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