OXFORD — The “new” in New Oxford Dragway is greater than just a word signifying a trade in song possession over the winter. For Les Williams, he hopes it reflects a positive atmosphere at one in every of two drag racing facilities in the state.
“I recognize you may please absolutely everyone,” the 36-year-antique speed shop proprietor from Arundel stated. “But if something makes experience to me, and it most effective takes a touch time and energy to make anyone glad about what we’re doing, I need to do it.
“That stuff goes a protracted way.”
Previous Oxford Dragway possession introduced past due remaining fall that the 1/8th-mile strip could now not open for a 50th season this summer time. Williams stepped up over the wintry weather, inquired with Tom Mayberry — who owns the attached Oxford Plains Speedway, the property the dragway sits on — and by way of early January had reached a settlement to lease the strip for the 2019 season.
It operates on Friday nights, simply as it did final 12 months. Car counts are similar to what they have been in 2018, but Williams said they’ve grown each week regardless of uncooperative spring weather.
Immediately, Williams and track supervisor Matt Gagne began implementing great enhancements to each the belongings and the real racing strip.
Beginning inside the iciness, renovations were made to concession areas, to a defective timing and scoring device, and to the traction compound used for racing. Before the quiet of this summertime, new asphalt is anticipated to be laid down within the shutoff areas beyond the finish line — a notoriously problematic and perilous a part of Oxford Dragway with its creases, bumps and worn-out pavement — and in different wished areas for the duration of the pit and return lanes.
Scoreboards, lights and reflective finish line markers have also been up to date or brought.
Williams stated the feedback he has received has been effective.
“We’ve gotten a variety of help, which has helped lots,” said Williams, himself an element-time avenue magnificence racer and snowmobile racing fanatic. “Ninety percent of this has pop out of my personal pocket, but I’ve achieved it just because I really need this to paintings greater than something. It’s no longer approximately the cash, it’s about getting this proper.”
One source of assist which humans outdoor the drag racing network might not have anticipated has come from Winterport Dragway, the oldest drag racing song within the nation and the only different one in Maine.
On one hand, having Oxford no longer reopen ought to have boosted the competition at Winterport. On the alternative, Williams said, what’s properly for drag racing is ideal for each track.
“One week we were low on traction compound (because the order had no longer arrived), and we had been so involved,” Williams stated. “Somebody from Winterport met me that morning halfway, bought me a half a drum of compound.
“I can’t trust how this drag racing network comes collectively. That’s above and past for them. They may want to have kicked us when we had been down, however they saw it as a danger to assist every person.”
Ironically, it’s the same approach Williams is taking to New Oxford Dragway, a good way to maintain the 50th-anniversary party on July 20 at the side of Oxford’s famous and long-going for walks Show, Shine & Drag occasion.
“I’m being attentive to the racers,” Williams stated. “From what I heard about the beyond, they misplaced quite a few racers due to the conditions. But on the cease of the day, everybody simply desires a place to race.”
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A 1/3 of the manner through the 18-race Pro All Stars Series season, there is a converting of the guard on the top of the standings.
Of the drivers presently occupying the top 5 spots, handiest 2d-area D.J. Shaw — the defending PASS North champ — has gained a series name. And simplest one of the drivers is even from the state of Maine.
For Scarborough’s Garrett Hall, a two-time winner in six begins this season, that’s not necessarily a problem. Hall is the modern-day PASS point chief, 31 points clean of 2nd-place Shaw.
The rest of the pinnacle five suggests how PASS has changed, as does the lowest 1/2 of the pinnacle 10 in the standings. Teenager Gabe Brown, the reigning Oxford Plains Speedway champion, is 0.33, whilst most latest winner Derek Griffith is fourth. Vermonter Nick Sweet, a multi-time tune champion at Thunder Road in Vermont is fifth.
Sixth through 8th within the standings are all former PASS champions — Travis Benjamin, Ben Rowe and Johnny Clark, three drivers with 12 series titles between them. Reid Lanpher, who has never competed complete-time inside the collection, and Vermonter Bobby Therrien complete the top 10 inside the standings.
Only seven drivers have attempted all six PASS races this season, a trend which has evolved over the last few years as teams opt for better coaching among appearances as opposed to grinding out making each unmarried race over the course of a long season.
That low range has been augmented by way of some other huge one. Fifty-seven one-of-a-kind drivers have made PASS starts this season, 35 of which attempted or greater races.
PASS heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this weekend for the New England Short Track Showdown and a 50-lap occasion on the 1.058-mile oval Sunday afternoon.