OXFORD — Tracy Gordon hopes history repeats itself this summer.

The 1991 Oxford Plains Speedway track champion from Strong returned to his stomping grounds Sunday afternoon, winning the Pro All Stars Series Open 100 at the track and earning himself a guaranteed starting spot in next month’s Oxford 250. Multi-time track champion T.J. Brackett of Buckfield finished second, with 15-year-old rookie Austin Teras of Gray finishing third.

Two years ago, Wayne Helliwell Jr. won the Open 100 — a race restricted to non-race winners over the past five years in the PASS series — and went on to win that summer’s Oxford 250.

“You never know,” said Gordon, who finished a career-best second in the Oxford 250 in both 1997 and 1998. “This means a lot, because it gives me a provisional. The car’s going really well, and I should get in the 250, but you never quite know.

“Even for my practice schedule for the 250, it changes everything knowing you’re in.”

Gordon was content to ride out the first half of the race after starting ninth with a car he didn’t feel was handling as well as it should have. When he got stuck on the outside on a lap 50 restart, he realized that the top lane might provide enough grip to work his way to the front.

It did.

He motored his way to the top three on lap 62, moved into second 11 laps later and on lap 84 Gordon had the race lead. Each time he picked off another position, he did so by venturing to the outside.

“When I was back in eighth or so, the car was really, really loose to start off with. I told the guys we missed the stagger (on the tires),” Gordon said. “But after that caution, I guess my tire guy had it figured that way, because they came in after that. I could see everybody was coming back to me.”

The win was Gordon’s first PASS victory since he won at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway in 2004.

Polesitter Lonnie Sommerville finished fourth with Ryan Robbins rounding out the top five.

Ray Christian III, Kelly Moore, Shawn Martin, John Peters and John Salemi finished in the sixth through 10th positions, respectively.

Brackett, who led a race-high 67 laps after starting 10th in the 25-car field, was kicking himself following the event after failing to test the outside groove himself.

“I feel like I gave it away,” Brackett said. “Like it always does here, the groove moves up and I didn’t have enough gap (to the second-place car) to get up there and just try it. I feel like if I’d just have gone to the top and rode out there, we probably would have won.”

Even at the 100-lap sprint distance, instead of a more typical longer 150-lap or 250-lap PASS race, that outside groove still came in after being virtually non-existent in the first 30 or 40 laps.

“It happens all the time here,” Brackett said. “(Previous Oxford 250 winners) Travis Benjamin and Curtis Gerry usually win these races in the third groove. I should have just moved out.”

It was hard to fault Brackett for not going high. Teras, who won his first career Super Late Model race at Oxford this spring, struggled to keep track position following restarts in which he was slotted in the outside row.

“We were a little tight in the center, and on cold tires the outside groove really didn’t help us much with that,” Teras said. “I felt like we were in contention to get a win if we’d started up there and stayed up there, but the leaders got away and then we had to come back.

“We still got a strong third-place finish.”

Gordon, who now races part-time after years of full-time racing in NASCAR’s lower levels and in other regional touring series in New England, knocks his schedule is now all about the Oxford 250. On Sunday, he removed any of the angst that comes with qualifying for Maine’s marquee stock car event on Aug. 28.

It might not count as an official PASS win, given that it was a non-points race, but Gordon’s enthusiasm was not quelled.

“It feels really good,” Gordon said. “I’ve been back to this for three years, and I’ve got a couple seconds and a third or so, but I haven’t pulled off a win. This means a lot.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.