(Oxford ME) Great start.
And in between wasn’t so bad for Alex Mowatt either!
Tonight, at Oxford Plains Speedway, 21-year-old Alex won the Bandits twenty-lap feature and took the points championship as well.
“We got what we wanted,” said Alex afterwards.
Alex was the winner on opening night (June 27th) and finished the same way in tonight’s season finale.
In between those victories, Alex won two other races and never finished lower than fifth in any race in a very competitive division.
This season OPS used a 3-week rolling average to place cars in the Bandits features. That rewarded the faithful attendees who weren’t doing very well with front-of-the-pack starts. The “successful” drivers had to start further back and get by cars to get to the front. This arrangement had a habit of making the first few laps exciting to watch.
Tonight was no exception. Lap One, spinout and a caution. Lap Two, spinout and another caution.
Fortunately, for Alex and his brother Lukas who finished second, the spinouts didn’t bother them.
“I started in ninth,” explained Lukas. “and was on the bottom. I saw it happen and was able to sneak under it.”
Alex gained ground on the first caution and had the lead after the second caution.
After that tonight’s race reminded me of many from last year. The cars got in a row on the bottom (Alex, Lukas, Eric Parlin, Chad Wills, Ralph Green) and stayed there, lap after lap.
“If you pull up to try to pass you may not get back,” said Eric Parlin.
“After the first few laps, everybody kind of cleared out and it was clear sailing,” said Lukas.
Lukas told me that he felt lucky to have finished second. “I changed a tire after the heat and it probably wasn’t the greatest idea,” he said. “The car was really loose in the feature. I had all I could do to keep it under control.”
Chad Wills was 5th tonight and finished 2nd in the Bandits points standings. “It was an up-and-down season for us. We won two races and used four different cars. We won the overall championship last year so I’m happy with how this season ended up.”
Eric Parlin used the same “up-and-down” description for his Bandits season. He won a race on Week #3 after finishing 10th and 15th the two previous weeks. He also had his share of car trouble. “Please include in the story how thankful I am for the help Caleb Proctor and Brandon Caston have given me,” said Eric. “I never would have finished 4th in points without them.”
Six different drivers (Alex, Lukas, Chad, Eric, Jeff Libby, Travis Verrill) took checkered flags during the eleven-race season. Next year looks as if it may be just as competitive. Alex Mowatt was the only one that I spoke with who wasn’t certain he’d race with the Bandits.
“I’m going to have a full season of Bandits next year,” said Lukas who didn’t compete until August. “I’ve got a new car.”
“I’ll be back racing again,” said Eric. “It’s fun. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a blast. I’ve raced other tracks just trying to get more experience.”
“I’d like to try the Outlaws,” said Chad, “but my budget will keep me in the Bandits division for a while.”
I have gotten used to the small crowds in the grandstands. It would be nice to have that all changed to the way it was come next season.
Really impressed with the driving skills of Alex Mowatt. His ability to race up on the track kept him away from much of the trouble early in races. Never finishing lower than fifth enabled him to win the points championship by a wide margin. He was a distant 7th in 2019.
Nice crisp fall night for racing. There was only one race (of eleven) postponed in 2020.
The delayed start of the racing season worked well for me because my wife and I don’t usually arrive in Maine until June.
I enjoyed interacting with the cooperative/appreciative drivers.
All the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.
I am on Twitter (mcclellandpeter) and Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea).