OXFORD — The names Mike Rowe, Ben Rowe, Travis Benjamin and Glen Luce have become synonymous with the H.P. Hood Oxford 250 and Oxford Plains Speedway itself. They are the names race fans know well.

Chances are, though, that many fans have never heard of the man who has won more Oxford 250 titles than anyone else in the Oxford Plains Speedway pit area this weekend.

Seth Holbrook of Turner seeks to etch his name into the Oxford 250 history books for record seventh time when qualifying for the 43rd annual event begins Sunday at 1:30 p.m..

“He loves racing. He really loves it,” Ben Rowe said. “He pursued it down south, he worked his butt off and got in with the right bunch of people, and he learned. He’s like a sponge. He learned from all of those people and brought it back here.”

Holbrook has won the Oxford 250 three times as a crew chief, including last season when he led Luce to victory lane. He was also the crew chief for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch’s win in the race in 2011 and for Mike Rowe’s record-tying third win in 2005.

Holbrook was also in charge of Rowe’s tires when he won his second Oxford 250 in 1997.

As if those accolades somehow weren’t enough, Holbrook also had a hand in Benjamin’s back-to-back Oxford 250 victories in 2013 and 2014. Holbrook built the shocks that maneuvered Bejamin’s No. 17 over the finicky contours of Oxford Plains.

“It’s like they always say, if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen,” Holbrook, 44, said. “But this is our Daytona 500. If you’re in full-bodied racing in the northeast, this is your Daytona 500.”

“He’s like a son to me, he really is,” said Mike Rowe, the undisputed “King of Oxford” with 151 career wins at the track. “He’s really good. He did a lot for me in racing, and we won a lot of races together. He’s a top-notch person, and he’s good at what he does. He’s right at the top of the chart.”

Holbrook started out as a child in the grandstands cheering on Mike Rowe in the late 1970s, which he said are his earliest memories of racing. He started helping out at the race shop and in the pit area, and over the years made enough contacts to turn racing into his career. By the late-2000s, he was flying all across the country to work with Kyle Busch Motorsports Super Late Model teams.

Ben Rowe only worked directly with Holbrook for one season, when the two ran the No. 48 out of the Mulkern Racing camp for car owners Scott and Vickie Mulkern of Falmouth in 2010. But the four-tiime Pro All Stars Series champion Rowe still turns to Holbrook, a lifelong friend, whenever he’s stumped by something he sees on the race track.

And, he says, he’s not alone.

“He helps us directly or indirectly,” Rowe said. “If I have a question, he’s there to answer it. I bet he has a hand in two dozen cars here this weekend, one way or another. Whether it’s a shock (he’s built) or just talking with people. He’s had success and people see that.”

“He’s on the go, and he’ll help anybody out,” Mike Rowe said. “He’ll do anything for anyone if they ask, and that means a lot.”

For as much preparation as there is for every team when it comes to the Oxford 250 — Holbrook said that the weeks leading into the race should be the busiest of the year for any team serious about winning it — there are myriad variables which must be accounted for. From the qualifying draw to the nearly 10 hours of practice time over the weekend to tire management, there are many things drivers and crew chiefs must wrestle with. Holbrook, though, believes the biggest factor for success is the ability to predict the future.

A good crew chief becomes something of a Nostradamus on Oxford 250 day.

“The qualifying draw doesn’t mean anything anymore,” Holbrook said. “I’ve won with all different pit strategies, all different scenarios. Mike started 38th (in 2005), Kyle started fourth, Glen started 22nd.

“It’s all about reading into what’s going to go on with the track from the day into the night. It’s trying to picture that. Oxford is always changing. It’s trying to get a read on what’s going to happen.”

Holbrook has finished second in the Oxford 250 twice with Ben Rowe, three times with Mike Rowe and has a fifth-place finish with T.J. Brackett, a former Oxford Plains track champion. Even when he’s not winning the race, he’s chasing down the leaders.

Four brothers have combined for 17 wins as crew members. Steve Holbrook has been a crew member on three winning Oxford 250 teams, and stepbrothers John and Lee Verrill have five trips to Oxford 250 victory lane five times as crew members.

On the eve of the 43rd Oxford 250, it’s easy for Holbrook to pick out his favorite 250 win.

“Glen’s win was the one that meant the most,” Holbrook said. “Glen wasn’t expected to win, our team wasn’t expected to win. You’re supposed to win here with Mike Rowe and Kyle Busch.”

Sunday night could make another memory for Holbrook, and an eighth trip to Oxford 250 victory lane.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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