OXFORD — As of early last week, the entry list for the 45th annual Clark’s Scrap Metals Oxford 250 had already swollen to 60, and that number is expected to approach 70 by the middle of this week.

The list includes 37 drivers from Maine, 11 from New Hampshire, four from North Carolina, three each from Canada and Massachusetts, and one each from Connecticut and Georgia.

Among the favorites to take home a $25,000-plus payday is Georgia native Bubba Pollard. Considered by many to be one of the top Super Late Model drivers in the country, Pollard is a specialist when it comes to long-distance, high-purse races.

“We’re already getting pretty excited about this year’s race,” Oxford Plains Speedway owner Tom Mayberry said. “The fact that Bubba is coming shows how big this race is to successful guys like him. He’s coming up with the goal of winning, no doubt about it. But he’s just one of several capable of getting it done.”

Mayberry talked about this year’s entries, looking at who’s been hot in recent weeks and who else could be a factor when Sunday night rolls around.

“I know everybody feels that Curtis Gerry is the odds-on favorite, and I know he’ll be tough,” Mayberry said. “He’s a very smart racer. He knows when to push it, when to cool it and seems to save enough in his car for an impressive late charge. He’ll be fast, for sure, but so will a lot of other guys.”

Manchester’s Reid Lanpher could be considered another heavy favorite. The two-time Beech Ridge Motor Speedway champion (2015, 2017) has been on a hot streak in 2018, winning multiple races, including the U.S. Pro Stock Nationals in Seekonk, Massachusetts in July.

Other Pine Tree State drivers to watch include former 250 winner Glen Luce, Scarborough native Garrett Hall, Fort Kent native and 2017 ACRA Racing Series champion Austin Theriault, two-time 250 winner Ben Rowe and his Hall of Fame father Mike, now going for his fourth 250 victory.

“I think it will be tough to pick a winner this year, just because of how deep the talent pool is within that huge entry list,” Mayberry said. “You have DJ Shaw running strong right now, and of course Cassius Clark is hot after winning the Toromont Cat 250 in Canada recently. It’s wide open, really.”

Looking beyond Shaw (Center Conway) in the New Hampshire contingent, you have to consider former 250 winner Joey Polewarczyk Jr. as one of the favorites, as well. The Hudson native won the big show in a Late Model back in 2012 and has become very competitive in a Super Late Model.

Two-time 250 winner Eddie MacDonald is making a big effort to secure his third victory on Sunday.

“Eddie has been at the track testing and worked hard the whole time,” Mayberry said. “They ran laps, made changes, and checked the stopwatch all day long. I know Eddie is pretty serious about going after another 250 win this year, as well.”

Among those making the haul south from Canada is young Cole Butcher, of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Butcher won the Parts for Trucks Maritime Pro Stock Tour championship in 2016 and has raced at Oxford a number of times in recent years. Last year, he finished 36th in the 250.

Along with the talent-laden entry list, Mayberry also talked about plans to accommodate the growing number of campers converging on Oxford Plains Speedway in the coming days.

“We’re looking into more spaces to park campers, since so many of our guests choose to arrive early and enjoy the great racing and overall atmosphere that defines the Oxford 250,” he said.

“We like to get them all in and settled early so local fans can get in and parked easily on race day. Putting on the 250 is a ton of work for the staff every year. But on Sunday night, after what I feel is going to be a very exciting race, I think it will have been worth the effort.”

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