OXFORD — Beaten so many times by Oxford Plains Speedway itself, Derek Griffith finally struck back.

Griffith, of Hudson, New Hampshire, took the lead for a second and final time with 38 laps remaining and drove away to win the Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150 Sunday afternoon. It was Griffith’s first career Pro All Stars Series win at Oxford.

“I said earlier in the season that if I won a PASS race this year at Oxford, that would make my whole season,” Griffith, 22, said. “I’m mind-boggled right now. I can’t believe it.”

Ben Rowe of Turner had the dominant car for most of the day and took four turns at the front before settling for second. D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire, finished third, with three-time Oxford 250 winner Travis Benjamin and Reid Lanpher rounding out the top five.

For Rowe, who was all smiles after a podium finish at Oxford earlier this summer, signs of frustration began to show for the winningest driver in PASS history.

Rowe’s winless streak has now stretched to exactly one year to the day, his only win since May of 2015 coming on Sept. 15 last season at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, New Hampshire.


“It’s the third time this summer (on the podium at Oxford). We put a lot on this track,” Rowe said. “We’re starting to turn it around, but we still need a little bit more here.”

Griffith first chased down Rowe to take the lead on lap 85, but Rowe needed fewer than 20 laps to chase Griffith down and pass under him exiting turn four on the .375-mile speedway.

On lap 113, Griffith used the outside lane to again get by Rowe.

In both cases, it was a restart which allowed Griffith to get by Rowe. And in both cases, Rowe knew that restarts could be his undoing on the afternoon.

“We’re made for the long runs here,” Rowe said. “On those yellows, I can’t get going. It’s probably just me. The car’s fine, but it takes me eight to 10 laps to get back in a rhythm. I didn’t do a good enough job keeping him (outside) long enough.

“I knew we were better on long runs, but there weren’t enough laps left.”


Griffith said he learned something from the first time Rowe passed him for the lead.

“I rolled the center (of the corner) a little bit better than him,” said Griffith. “I knew if I could get him on the outside and then get a gap, I’d probably have a shot at it.”

From there, Griffith was gone.

“When (my spotter) said, ‘Clear to the bottom,’ I was like, ‘Oh my god. Thank you,’” Griffith said. “We’ve been coming here for a lot of years and I’ve had awful luck. So this feels pretty good.”

It was a particularly difficult day to pass, as the final third of the race saw very few movers toward the front of the field.

Curtis Gerry, this season’s track champion at Oxford and a two-time PASS winner at the track this summer, never made his customary charge to the front after starting deep in the 30-car field. Ben Ashline of Pittston ran inside the top-five for most of the afternoon before pitting and then running into trouble on his way back through the field, a collision with Craig Weinstein ending Ashline’s day in the frontstretch wall.

Nick Sweet of Barre, Vermont, and Garrett Hall of Scarborough — who won the first two PASS races at Oxford this spring — never got themselves into contention.

Little of that mattered to Griffth, who finally exorcised his Oxford Plains demons after finishing a career-best second in last month’s Oxford 250.

“I can’t believe it,” Griffith said. “This place has beat the crap out of us since 2012. I didn’t even make it into my first Oxford 250. We’ve won a weekly show here, but to win a PASS race means the world to me.”

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