(Oxford ME) It was like the old schoolyard days when the teacher told the class to get in line and stay there!
Travis Verrill started on the pole in the 25-lap Bandits feature at the Oxford Plains Speedway and nobody passed him.
Believe me, the attendees this sunny Sunday afternoon will tell you that those who wanted to pass Travis were close by for most of the race.
The track conditions forced drivers to stay down low (in line) and wait for something to happen.
“Today was pretty much a one-groove track,” explained 3rd place finisher Chad Wills afterwards. “There were no second groove whatsoever. It was too slippery out there.”
This was the second time Travis has won at OPS.
“It’s been an awesome weekend for our team,” he said. “We won the Demolition Derby at the Fair (Oxford County) last night and then to come over here and win this race is something special.”
Travis got a good start and separated from the rest of the drivers in the early going. Grady Doherty (finished second last week) was the nearest pursuer.
“In the beginning I broke away a little,” said Travis. “I thought for a little bit that I had some room, so I tried to make the track a little wider for myself. Once I saw (Chad) Wills and Alex (Mowatt) get by #1 (Grady Doherty) I knew that it would be only a couple of laps before they would get close. It was just a fight for the bottom.”
Once Alex and Chad got close there were at least fifteen laps for them to get by Travis………..but they couldn’t.
“Travis did a good job of holding me off,” explained 2nd place finisher Alex Mowatt. “I didn’t have anything for him on the outside. It was just too slippery.”
So in line they stayed and very close to each other.
“Everyone was sliding around so it was a much slower race,” explained Chad. “You really had to use the brakes and pay attention so that you didn’t run into the guy in front of you. On a normal night you’re able to coast through the corners but today people were slowing down because they had no grip.”
There was plenty of contact.
“Alex came into me a couple of times, but I managed to hold on,” said Travis.
“We were playing tag a little bit,” added Alex. “I was having fun and they were having fun and we all got trophies.”
I asked Alex about moving out and trying to pass Travis: “I might have had a chance, but Chad was right on my butt and I didn’t want him to get under me.”
“I could feel them there,” said Travis. “There wasn’t time to look back. I could hear them. You get caught mirror-driving here and it will cost you. I over-drove one corner because I made eye contact with Alex in the mirror.”
Alex won the first leg of the Bandit Triple Crown on July 7th. (That was the first Bandits race I covered.)
The final leg of the Triple Crown is in October.
Travis: “Today is my last race. My boy plays flag football and I’m a coach.”
Chad: “I will do the October race and maybe a race in Bangor after that.”
With a win and a second, Alex is the points leader going into the final race in October.
Chad: “GA Downing (Minot) sponsors me and I work for them. They like racing and have helped me out a lot.”
Travis: “I told Alex in tech that he did a great job because he easily could have dumped me a couple of times. Chad and Alex were in my rear view the whole race. They certainly were faster than me.”
Nice weather with sun and temperatures in the low 70’s.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)