OXFORD — It’s starting to look like the old Oxford Plains Speedway again.

Four-time track champion Tim Brackett of Buckfield passed Berwick’s Joey Doiron with one lap remaining on Saturday night, holding on to win the 50-lap Super Late Model feature. The victory was the 56th of Brackett’s career and his first since 2018.

“What was different tonight than all year, basically, was that I wasn’t loose getting in (the corners),” said Brackett, 58. “We spent a lot of time this week trying a whole different deal, and it worked. It just rolled. We’ll take it.”

Reigning track champion Curtis Gerry of Waterboro finished third after starting deep in the 17-car field. Scott Robbins of Dixfield and pole-sitter Josh Childs of Otisfield completed the top five.

The track paused all activity before beginning the racing program for a moment of silence to recognize the passing of former track owner Bob Bahre. Bahre, who built New Hampshire Motor Speedway and opened it in 1990, died Thursday at the age of 93.

Doiron used a bold three-wide move to the outside following a Lap 17 restart and had checked out to a full straightaway lead by the midway point of the event. Brackett sensed he had a chance with less than 10 laps to go, when he saw Doiron’s car wiggle off one of the corners and took a big bite out of Doiron’s advantage.

Brackett got a great run off of turn two to pull alongside Doiron a lap and a half from the checkered flag and completed the pass while driving under the white flag.

“We stayed about the same, about the same, and then (Doiron) got loose a little bit once on about Lap 40 and I gained some,” Brackett said. “Once I could get to him, I could kind of hold him down a little bit and he got looser. I got up beside him that way. He’s a good guy to run with, so it was a lot of fun.”

“At that point, I just started driving harder, and then I kept getting tighter and tighter,” Doiron said. “When he finally got to my right rear, I got loose into one and he got up beside me. I knew it was over from there. Once you get position on somebody, especially when they’re loose in, it’s easy to pass them.”

Gerry was running outside the top 10 when he opted to pit for an air pressure adjustment on his left rear tire on lap 17. From there, he made a charge toward the front of the field that might have ended up with a win had the yellow flag slowed the field again at any point over the final 33 laps.

That second caution period never materialized, and Gerry was left to wonder ‘what if?’

“Had we not pitted and just floundered in the back, we probably would have stayed where we were,” Gerry said. “I was decent on the bottom and maybe could have picked a few (spots) off. You’ve got to nip it in the bud, make the call (to pit) and come in and do it. In the end, if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried.”

Under green, Brackett was the only driver with a chance to reel Doiron in, and the driver who won back-to-back championships is 2015 and 2016 capitalized on the opportunity. He was somewhat surprised to be standing in Victory Lane, given he was running on a right side tire with two full races’ worth of wear on it before ever taking the green flag.

“With that tire, I figured we were just screwed,” Brackett said. “I thought we’d make it up next week and be better, but I figured if we had a seventh-, eighth-, 10th-place finish tonight, we’d be thrilled.”

But a win for Brackett — who began racing at Oxford Plains Speedway in 1978 — was not the only reason it felt like the track was looking like its old self again.

Every driver to finish in the top four had at one point used the outside groove to make passes and gain track position. Brackett did it for the victory following an earlier move to go from sixth to second on lap 18, Robbins did it in the second half of the race to go from seventh to fourth and Gerry did it to go from sixth to third on lap 40.

For the first few weeks this season, drivers had been left scratching their heads at the lack of a consistent outside groove at Oxford.

“The track is definitely changing again,” Doiron said. “It’s getting back to how it was when (Tom Mayberry) first bought the track (in 2012). The groove is widening out a lot. For a couple years there, it was right around the curb, so it puts on good racing now.”

Dan Brown of Turner used a late pass to win the 30-lap Street Stock feature.


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