OXFORD — When the sun goes down at Oxford Plains Speedway, Bryan Kruczek heats up.

The Vermont driver raced to his second win of the season on the American-Canadian Tour with a victory in the Oxford Plains 150 on the night before the 250.

“Any time you can win at Oxford is good. It doesn’t matter,” Kruczek said. “If I could win in a wheelbarrow race here, I would.”

Kruczek’s earlier win at the track in April had meaning because it was his first career win on the tour, but Saturday night’s victory was just as special.

“This one meant a lot. (Car owner Bobby Webber Jr.), when we made the deal to drive this car, he said, ‘The only thing I want you to do is win on the night before the 250.’ And I said, ‘OK, that’s the deal.’ And we accomplished the goal,” Kruczek said.

After Kruczek’s heat race he scrapped the car’s setup and “went back to what we had in the spring just because it was going to cool off.”

It took him half of the 150-lap race to get to the front after starting in the 13th position in the 36-car field, but once he grabbed the lead he never let it go. One caution right after he took the lead and another 12 laps leader could have spelled trouble, but didn’t. Neither did the yellow flag flying with 13 to go.

Kruczek said the win gives him a confidence boost “to have a decent run at least” in Sunday’s Oxford 250, which he is entered along with fellow Saturday night competitors Bobby Therrien and Ryan Kuhn.

Seasonably cool temperatures in Sunday night’s forecast should help tighten up Kruzcek’s car, as he prefers.

“I always have a free race car, so if it tightens the track up, I’m usually a lot better,” he said.

Stephen Donahue waits for the lineup call for the ACT heats at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday. Brewster Burns photo

Saturday night’s main feature was also special for second-place finisher Stephen Donahue, who is a rookie on the ACT Tour.

“I mean, I’ve watched 250s here, more back when they were Late Models — my dad’s run here multiple times, he’s finished third here,” Donahue said. “And it’s really cool because this really is not my favorite track to come to. I really have struggled learning to drive the track the way it needs to be driven, and it really showed today, where the car was just good enough to where we were able to bolt some new tires on and it stayed all the way through, which that car is very good at doing. It stays consistent, it doesn’t fall off. A top three here is very special.”

Donahue started fifth, just ahead of Jesse Switser, from whom Kruczek took the lead from after Switser led more than 30 laps. Therrien had the lead before that, having taken it from pole-sitter Cody LeBlanc at lap nine.

Veteran Scott Payea finished third, which he said was “sort of like a win to us.”

“We struggled all day, and we threw four springs at her right before the feature, so to be able to compete up front here, it feels really good,” he said.

Series points leader Rich Dubeau battled to a fourth-place showing after starting 16th. Payea’s cousin, Dylan Payea, rounded out the top five. Kuhn finished in fourth, while Therrien fell back to a 27th-place finish after losing the lead.

In other Saturday night action, Kyle Hewins dominated the 30-lap Street Stocks race to kick off the features. Hewins pulled the Jordan Russell-owned car away from runner-up Skip Tripp, who held off a few different challengers, including third-place finisher Shawn Knight.

Hewins said his crew put more rubber in the right side after their heat race, and that made the difference. He expressed his appreciation of Russell for letting him drive the car Saturday night.

The Wicked Good Vintage racers ran two divisions, and the early late model division went first with an entertaining 25-lap feature. Keith Smalley won in the end, but not without a fight from South Paris driver Kevin Waterhouse. The local racer had a tough battle on the final lap, just edging Dean Grant at the stripe.

Mike Teague made the second Wicked Good Vintage race look like a highway drive, pulling away by half a lap into the 25-lap outlaw feature. Patrick Verner and Sylvain Massicotte battled for second, well behind Teague but also comfortably ahead of the rest of the field.

Before the ACT cars put on the main event, the North East Classic Lites cars dueled for 25 laps. Tom Harwood took the win ahead of Duane Skofield and Derrick Marsan.

Casey Call won the NELCAR Legends feature after the ACT race finished.

 

 


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