Monthly Archives: July 2022

Breeanna Spaulding wins Ladies Feature

Breeanna Spaulding wins the Ladies Feature

(Oxford) Breeanna Spaulding has won a lot of Ladies Features at Oxford Plains Speedway.

This season the 28-year-old picked up where she left off winning three of the first four races.

But suddenly things changed, and Breeanna hadn’t won in over a month.

However, last night the also-rans ended, and it was time for that long-awaited victory lap.

“I was driving a different car tonight,” said Breeanna after the race.  “The other one had been running badly, and we finally found out why.  In the hold in the fuel tank there was plastic still in it.”

The different car made last night’s race a pleasant one.

Maddy Herrick and Amara Parker follow Breeanna Spaulding

“It was kind of nice watching them in the mirror,” said Breeanna with a laugh afterwards.

The “them” she referenced were two 15-year-olds, Maddy Herrick and Amara Parker.

In eight weeks of racing, the winner has been either Breeanna (4), Maddy (2), or Amara (2).

Kasie Kolbe won the Ladies 8-lap heat last night and was off to a good start in the 20-lap feature before the front tire blew several laps into the feature. 

Flat tire for Kasie Kolbe

Kasie shares the car with her cousin Skip Tripp.  Ironically, Skip had a flat in the July 8th Outlaws feature on the same side and it cost him dearly in that race.

Kasie’s flat led to a caution and a restart with Breeanna on the pole and Maddy on the outside. 

Breeanna resumed the lead right away with Maddy and Amara close by in Lap 4. 

Amara Parker tries the second groove

Both Maddy and Amara tried, during the final sixteen laps, to use the second groove to get past Breeanna.  It didn’t work for either of them, in fact, they each gave up second when they attempted it.

“There was no second groove,” said Maddy Herrick who finished second afterwards.  “The track was wicked slick.  We’re still getting used to racing on hot days.”

Breeanna got a little wide on the final turn.  “It was the last lap,” she said.  “I was getting excited, and I gave up the bottom a little bit.”

Maddy has been first or second for the last four weeks.  “We were there speed wise,” she said.  “A few more laps and I probably could have got her.  I’ll take second.  She’s very good.”

Maddy Herrick finished second

“We think we have a winning car,” Maddy added.  “We’ll learn from this and be better next week.”

Maddy is also the goalie on the Oxford Hills girls’ soccer team.  I covered her game last year against Brunswick. “Soccer preseason starts soon,” she said.  “It’s a lot of work but I like it.”

My intention was to cover the Outlaws, but their feature was moved to last.  The Ladies were first.

Impressive run by Jake Dobson in the Outlaws’ heat.  Skip Tripp passed everyone else, but Jake won his first heat by holding Skip off for the final four laps of the 8-lap race.

Jake Dobson holds the lead over Skip Tripp in the final lap of the 8-lap heat

Skip Tripp starts to move on the upper groove in the Outlaws heat

The finish of the Ladies 8-lap heat

Heat action

Heat action

Heat action

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Portland Sea Dogs Excite Sold-Out Hadlock

Christian Koss slides home safely
Alex Binelas homered twice

(Portland) It was a happy Sunday at Hadlock.

Yes, the Sea Dogs won in last-inning, dramatic style but that was only part of it.

The park was busy with folks.  There was a buzz in every part of the place.

The Sea Dogs pulled out a 12-11 win against the AA Yankees.

I guess, that alone would make a Yankees’ disliker, like myself happy.

The best part may have been that the young Yanks grabbed the lead in the top of the ninth only to have the young Red Sox take it back.

Christian Koss at bat

The crowd got my attention. People were excited to be there and were enjoying themselves on a warm Sunday afternoon. 

The Sea Dogs management always has fun going on, but on this afternoon just being there was enough.

In the pre-game, one young man got to hand slap the players on both teams.

My biggest takeaway was a special needs young man taking on the National Anthem.  He gave it a shot and pulled it off.  It didn’t have quality, but it had heart and that put a lump in my throat.

I had hoped for a look at young Ceddanne Rafaela, but he was in Los Angeles taking part in the Futures Game.  I’m guessing that the Yankees’ top prospect (Anthony Volpe) was also there.

I saw Anthony at a New Hampshire/Somerset game earlier this year.

There was plenty of action on the field.  There were baserunners galore and several home runs.

Alex Binelas congratulated by Manager Chad Epperson

Young Alex Binelas (#17 Red Sox prospect) whacked two homers.  Alex moved up to AA in late June.  This was certainly his best game so far.

Impressed with Christian Koss.  He has the numbers to be Portland’s MVP to date. Today he homered and was aggressive on the bases.

Portland’s David Hamilton leads the Eastern League in steals with forty. 

I was on the edge of the Portland dugout and so when he was picking up his glove at the start of the game I said to him, “Steal, steal, steal!” He smiled.

David Hamilton steals second base in the first inning

David then went off to his position in the field but when he came back in, he led off with a hit and then immediately stole second.  From my location I had pretty good photographer’s positioning to catch that action.

When the inning ended, David again came by for his glove.  Again, I told him to steal.  He looked at me and said, “I already gave you one.”

David did steal second (again), and this time with no throw.  Later, he would steal home.  Wish I’d gotten that shot!

I did get Christian Voss sliding into home.

Christian Koss reaches for second base

A player I was looking for was Max Burt.  Max attended St. John’s (Danvers).  When I saw the Somerset team in NH, Max didn’t play.  However, the day before today’s game Max had hit two home runs.  Today, he collected a couple of hits.

St. John’s Prep’s Max Burt had two hits against Portland

One thing that Max did in the field that was unique was, just before a pitch was made, he would jump in the air.  I’m not sure what advantage there is to it, but he did it just before every pitch.

Max Burt gets ready

The Eastern League schedule is interesting.  Teams now play six-game series with each opponent.  What this means for Portland is that their next two series are away, so they won’t be at Hadlock until August 2nd versus Erie.

August works the other way for the Sea Dogs because most of the month they will be at Hadlock.

The weather was interesting.  There was sun, clouds, and a little bit of rain.  Welcome to New England!

Continued thanks to Chris Cameron for making my visits possible.  Hadlock Field is a great place to be.

Ricardo Cubillan

Chad Bell retrieves a loose ball in the infield

Alex Binelas

Christian Koss congratulated in the Portland dugout after his home run

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Drew Morse wins Outlaws Feature

Drew Morse gets the win and Will Dunphy finishes second
Skip Tripp and Will Dunphy 1-2

(Oxford) It looked like last week but then it didn’t.

Skip Tripp and Will Dunphy had finished 1-2 last week and there they were in the same order deep into Friday night’s 20-lap Outlaws feature.

A blown tire changed everything.

Skip Tripp suddenly lost speed with Will Dunphy close behind him.

Drew Morse makes his move

This turn of events opened the door for Opening Day winner Drew Morse.

“I saw Dunphy and the 12 messing around,” recalled Drew.  “I was like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna hang her out there and pray that I can get around them on the outside.’”

Get around he did, and Drew held the lead the rest of the way to gain his second win.

Will Dunphy

“I thought I had a chance,” said Will Dunphy afterwards.  “I’m still happy with second, in fact I’m happy to be in the top five.”

Will has now finished second four straight weeks.  He had a win before the run of seconds began.

Tonight, was the first night of three straight days of racing.  There were fewer races tonight and that effected the track significantly.

“We had a way better track this time because we didn’t have all the Super Late Model rubber on the track,” explained Will.

The increased traction opened the upper grooves as options and there were plenty of Outlaws’ takers.

Running four wide is usually a direct route to trouble but not tonight.  The feature had four-wide’s and they never led to cautions.  It was a bit tight for those in the middle of it, however.

Running four wide

“I felt like a pinball out there!” said Drew laughing.

Drew wasn’t pleased with the way his car has been handling since he won the feature the end of May.  “We’ve been struggling with the car being tight,” he said.  “We were still tight tonight, but it was good enough to get the win.”

Drew Morse

However, it wasn’t enough to get the win in the 8-lap heat for Drew. He ended up second to Betty Nelson.

“I just happened to be a little tighter than Betty and she got me,” added Drew.

Chris Foster heads for third

Chris Foster finished third in the feature.

Serious accident in the Rebels’ feature tonight.  The longer the medical people are on the track the more concerned I get.  Can’t help it. 

The prospect of injury is part of the reality that race-car drivers (and their families) face.

“It’s the chance you take every time you buckle in,” said Drew Morse.

The weather was just right. 

Between the heats and the features, kids got rides in race cars.

Victory lap

Last lap

Skip Tripp chases pole sitter Jake Dobson

Betty Nelson wins the heat

Spinout in the Ladies Heat

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Eric Ashe and Heather Gallant win 46th annual Bridgton 4 on the Fourth

46th annual Bridgton 4 on the Fourth gets underway

(Bridgton) Eric Ashe of Natick (MA) was the top finisher in the 46th annual Bridgton 4 on the Fourth road race.

Eric Ashe (Natick) wins the Bridgon 4 on the Fourth

Heather Gallant of Wayne (ME) was the repeat winner among the women.

Heather Gallant crosses first
Eric Ashe

Nearly 1500 runners participated under sunny skies departing from in front of Food City at 8AM.

Eric Ashe was visiting his mother in Greenwood during the holiday weekend.

“I talked myself into driving over and running the race,” said Eric afterwards.  “The cash price covers the gas expenses.”

Sasha/Scott Mindel (Burlington) have family on Moose Pond but hadn’t run the race before.

The two of them ran today, and both came in second.

“Our A goal was for both of us to come in first,” said Scott afterwards.

“I had seen the recent results, so I thought that I had a chance to win,” Scott added.

Eric Ashe (885) and Scott Mindel (766) at the start of the race

That optimism suffered a bit of a jolt before the race started.

“At the warmups, I saw Eric (Ashe),” said Scott.  “He generally beats me, but I’ve beaten him a couple of times.”

For a mile the talented twosome stayed together.  Then came the hills.

“The uphill started, and I tried to maintain the same effort,” recalled Eric.  “Luckily, I was able to open a gap and keep it.  I think the gap got bigger.”

Scott Mindel

“He’s much better on the uphills than I am,” said Scott.  “When the uphill started today, I was hoping to keep him within close enough distance because I’m better on the downhills.”

“But Eric got too much on me and I couldn’t make a move until the downhill in the last mile,” said Scott.  “It was too late by then.”

“At least it was a fun last mile,” he added with a smile.

Eric finished at 20:06 and had a thirteen-second lead over Scott.

Heather Gallant (Wayne) won last year.

“I was happy with last year’s weather and this years’ time (23:26),” she said.

2021 was rainy with temperatures in the fifties.

Heather was 15th overall today.

Heather Gallant at the start

Heather didn’t face any serious challengers from today’s runners.  Her closing time was 23:26. The next woman to finish (Sasha Mindel) closed at 24:58.

“I hung out with a couple of guys during the race,” said Heather afterwards.  “I pace off them.  They’re good about doing that.”

Heather said she felt better prepared this time.  “I had a couple more races coming into this one compared to last year.  The hills here are still memorable.”

Sasha Mindel, who had a daughter last year, was glad just to be out there running.  “This is only my second race since having her,” she said.  “It was the first time it felt as if everything clicked.”

All four runners I talked with enjoyed the Bridgton race and would return if they could.

Scott Mindel told me that he had run at the University of Cincinnati.  “I now run for the Central Mass Striders. I do a lot of races including marathons.”

Race Director Bill Graham

Eric Ashe attended Boston University.  “I saw online that guys were doing twenty-flat here,” he said, “so I knew it would be competitive.  I am focusing on marathons.  I did one in Minnesota two weeks ago.”

Joseph Reynolds (3rd), Andrew Mongiat (4th), and Chris Harmon (5th) were in the top five.

Race Director Bill Graham again ran things smoothly.

The object is to have the male and female winners run through a banner at the finish line.  It’s always easy with the male.  The female…not always.  Today was an example.  Female leader Heather Gallant was close behind another runner near the finish and when the banner went up that runner (Thomad Lyons) got wrapped in it. 

(The pictures should enlarge if you click on them.)

Sasha Mindel finishes

Banner malfunction
Chris Harmon (5th)

Andrew Montiat (4th)
Joseph Reynold (3rd)

Sasha Mindel at the start

National Anthem

Eric Ashe wins

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Skip Tripp wins third straight Outlaws feature at Oxford Plains Speedway

Skip Tripp takes a victory spin after winning his third straight Outlaws feature

(Oxford ME) They each did it their way and they each made it work.

Skip Tripp had the fast car and the ability to get around cars. 

Skip Tripp (12) heads for the lead in the second lap of the Outlaws feature.
Will Dunphy

Will Dunphy envisioned chaos on the track and stayed back waiting for his chance.

Skip Tripp won his third straight Outlaws feature on Saturday night at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Skip started in the back because of his successes in the previous weeks.  It didn’t matter. 

Within two laps, in both the 8-lap heat and the 20-lap feature, Skip had used the outside lane to pass the field.  Once there, he didn’t look back.

Skip Tripp

“Everything went our way,” said Skip afterwards.  “We were pretty hooked up.  It was kind of easy tonight.”

Will Dunphy finished second.

Will also started in the back because of previous successes.  Unlike Skip, however, Will was content to stay there for a while.

“I hung back because I knew things were going to happen,” explained Will.  “I could tell the way drivers were acting at the get-go.”

“Some want to get to the top by Lap 2,” he added.  “They need to calm down and realize that there are twenty laps.”

Corey Morgan got spun and his car was totaled early in the Outlaws feature.

“A car getting totaled takes the fun out of it for me,” said Will.  “There were way too many cars wrecked tonight.  There is no need for it.  There are not enough of us out there for that to happen.”

The spin below in the feature gave Will (#4) his chance to move from the back to the front around the involved cars and he did:

Skip Tripp: “We’re just playing with this thing now until we get to Street Stocks for something else.  We’re just getting back into rhythm.  We’ve been out of it for so long.  The car is for my cousin.  I set it to her liking but it’s too loose now for her.  We need to change it.  We’ll tighten it up and hopefully she’ll have the same success.”

Corey Morgan’s car taken off

Will Dunphy: “Tripp’s car is definitely fast.  It wasn’t that fast before but maybe a lot of experience has something to do with the way it’s now going for them.  There was too much rubber on the track today from the Super Late Models.  It was super icy.  I couldn’t stay up there very long.  This is my second year with the Outlaws.  I was told to move up from the Cruiser Class.  It’s been a fun venture so far.”

This was the fifth week of Outlaws’ racing.

Skip Tripp’s lowest finish so far has been third.

Skip Tripp working the outside in Lap 1 of the 8-lap heat

Will Dunphy has been either first or second during the past four weeks.

Car 26 near the Grandstand

Matt Veinott earned third today.  His highest previous finish had been fifth.

Combining two days of racing with fireworks brought out a good crowd.  The weather was ideal too.

Yes, I gave the Bandits coverage last year.  Their demise set me searching for another group to cover.  The Outlaws have a small roster….less confusion initially for me. I’ll see what I can do over the next three months.  There will be pictures and interviews.

(The pictures should enlarge if you click on them.)

Pushing to the lineup

Pre-race family time

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