He may not consider himself a thrill seeker, but Reid Lanpher has ridden the roller coaster already at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Lanpher, of Manchester, finished second in last year’s H.P. Hood Oxford 250, just two years after failing to qualify for the race. And while his first career start in the summer stock car tradition may have announced that the 2015 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway track champion had arrived, he’s not so sure.

Even one year removed from finishing second to Glen Luce last summer in the 250, Lanpher says he still has plenty to prove.

“I’d like to consider myself to have a good chance (at the 250),” the 18-year-old Lanpher said. “The car’s been going good. Then again, outside of the 250 last year, my best PASS finish is sixth place.

“I’m not ready to consider myself among that elite group of drivers. I haven’t earned that.”

Last season, Lanpher rolled through the second half of the season, winning multiple feature events at Beech Ridge en route to his first NASCAR championship at the track. The second-place finish at the Oxford 250 cemented the notion that his title run wasn’t a fluke.


But, like Lanpher alluded to, his Pro All Stars Series career hasn’t been dominant by any means. In 17 career starts, he’s posted five top 10s with only the one top five in the Oxford 250.

There are signs that he’s becoming more consistent, though. In a PASS race at Oxford on Aug. 1, Lanpher led a handful of laps before finishing sixth.

Three weeks later, he won a 50-lap Super Late Model weekly feature at Oxford.

“We’ve got the car going good up there, but I’m not going to toot my own horn,” Lanpher said.

Statistically, he’s enjoying a better overall season in 2016 than he did a year ago. Through the first eight races of the season at Beech Ridge, he had two wins and an average finish of 5.6 — nearly four full spots ahead of his average finish for last year when he rolled to the track title. With one points race remaining, Lanpher is third, 13 points out of the lead.

Beech Ridge will settle its championship on Sept. 3.


Until that date rolls around, it’s all eyes on the Oxford 250. Though Lanpher doesn’t have as much personal history with the race as some other drivers, last year remains one of his career highlights.

“It’s like anything. The more times you fail at something, the more that success is going to mean to you when you get it,” Lanpher said. “Having been the first one I actually qualified for, I’m sure I don’t really grasp how awesome it was, but it does mean the world to me.”

One area where Lanpher said he struggles in the longer races, not surprisingly, is tire management. The same tricks that work on a 40- or 50-lap weekly feature don’t translate to 150- or 250-lap races when it comes to setup and nursing tires for the long haul.

“There are things you can get away with in weekly races with stagger and stuff that just don’t work in the longer races,” he said. “You take 150-lap tires, and really your fine-tuning is very fine because it all comes down to the end of the race.”

And the end of the race is why Lanpher chuckles when he sees Oxford 250 predictions start showing up on social media in the weeks leading up to the race. With more than 70 cars expected to enter, several rounds of qualifying and stout competition, the only thing predictable about the Oxford 250 is its unpredictability.

“I think it’s hard to really consider anyone,” Lanpher said of who might win. “The odds are definitely against you when 70 or 80 cars show up. You can’t count anybody in our out at this point. … Look at all the PASS wins guys like DJ (Shaw), Joey Doiron, Mike (Rowe) and all those guys have. I could list 10 of them that I’d put way up there before me.”


The only problem with Lanpher’s reasoning is that there was only one guy ahead of him at the checkered flag a year ago.

Travis Barrett — 621-5648

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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