Tag Archives: Alex Mowatt

Alex Mowatt overcomes obstacles notching 2nd Bandits Division win at Oxford Plains Speedway

Alex Mowatt battled back to get second Bandits win

Alex Mowatt (11) escapes a Lap 2 wreck

(Oxford ME) It wasn’t a straight line to his second win, but Alex Mowatt will take it.

“I didn’t have the fastest car,” said Alex, “but we still won.”

Alex finessed his way through a major wreck in Lap Two only to be placed last while he had a damaged fender removed in the pits.  He didn’t let that discourage him and skillfully worked his way close to the front in the closing laps.

Alex has dominated the Bandits Division at Oxford Plains Speedway for six weeks, never finishing lower than third in every race this season.  He is the current points leader in the division

Having a good car helps but Alex’s ability to stay out of wrecks so far has been crucial.

David Cook first and Alex Mowatt second

Newcomer David Cook actually won tonight’s race but was immediately disqualified giving Alex Mowatt the winner’s trophy.

There were eighteen cars in tonight’s crowded feature.  With the heats having little bearing on the positioning in the feature you knew that newcomers in the cars in the front would have their hands full.

They did manage to go around the track once but in the tight second lap leader Doug Churchill spun out and finished several driver’s evenings with the resulting crash.

Chad Wills looks back at his damaged car

Chad Wills took advantage of a spinout last week and came out of it in second place.  Tonight, he wasn’t so lucky.

Alex Mowatt faced the spinning car and avoided a direct hit by getting down to the curb.  Chad was behind Alex and had nowhere to go, taking a direct hit that ended his evening.

Bridgton’s Chris Foster was further back.  “I was lucky enough to be behind the wreck,” said Chris.  “I saw it happening, so I got into the curb and avoided it.”

Chris earned second place tonight.

 

This is what the spinout/wreck in Lap Two of the Bandits feature looked like:

Travis Verrill with the lead after the spinout

Travis Verrill and Brandon Caston came out of the wreck in first and second.

Chris Foster and Jeff Libby chased Travis for a few laps before David Cook rallied for first in the 13th lap of the 20-lap feature.

Alex Mowatt was the lone challenger over the last few laps.

“He (Doug Churchill) got into my fender,” explained Alex.  “I had to go off and get that fixed and had to start last.”  Alex would rein in everyone but the disqualified winner in a rousing comeback.

Chris Foster captured second place

Chris Foster: “We started 11th.  That wreck helped us a lot.  I’ve got a good crew and a good car.  I used to race on Wednesday nights.  I ended up buying a Bandits car and here we are.”

There were a few spectators in the grandstands as Governor Mills limited the crowd to two hundred people.  But that is better than the zero spectators that had been allowed previously!  The Oxford 250 is four weeks away.  What will the crowds be like then?

I am on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brandon Caston wins Heat 1

Brandon Caston gets inside Doug Churchill in the first heat

Alex Mowatt wins Heat 2

Jeff Libby and Chad Wills chase Alex Mowatt in Heat 2

Luke Mowatt

Waiting for the feature

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chad Wills earns first Bandits win of the season at Oxford Plains Speedway

Chad Wills gets his first win tonight in the Bandits Division this season

A Lap 2 spinout gave Chad Wills an opening into second place

(Oxford ME) Chad Wills has won before but sometimes it’s more than the best car that earns you the checkered flag.

“We were fast for sure, but our win tonight had to do with being in the right place at the right time,” explained Chad after winning the Bandits feature at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday night.

That “right place/right time” occurred for Chad in the second lap of the twenty-lap event.  He started in the 4th row but a spinout (Eric Parlin) in the 2nd lap quickly rearranged things in the front to his benefit.

“The guys up front at the start are still learning and so we got off to a bit of a slow start,” recalled Chad.  “When things happened, I picked the right lane to get through it.”

Eric Parlin in a spin

Despite several cars thrown off course, there was no caution.  “It stayed green,” added Chad, “and that definitely helped.”

Alex Mowatt, who would end up second, was near the back when the spinout happened.  “I thought there was going to be a caution when Eric Parlin got spun.  I slowed down but they didn’t throw the caution.”

Nick Ogden came out of the spinout ahead with Chad Wills nearby, but not for long.  Chad was by him on Lap 4.

Chad Wills moves to get inside Nick Ogden

“I figured that Nick would do all he could to protect the bottom, but he gave me plenty of room, surprisingly,” said Chad about getting past Nick and into the lead.

“I certainly appreciated the opening,” added Chad.  “Nick is a good driver.  He won the championship at Riverside.”

Last year’s points champion in the Bandits Division cruised over the final sixteen laps to get his first win of the season.

Alex Mowatt rallied back to get second place

This year’s points leader (Alex Mowatt) finished strong getting past Jeff Libby for 3rd place in Lap 15 and Nick Ogden for 2nd place in the last lap.

“I think I would have had a shot at (Chad) Wills if my front tire held up,” said Alex.  “It was pretty chunked off.”

Alex has had a first, second, and three thirds so far.  “I won the first race and I’m ready for another,” he said.

Chad said that he was aware of Alex’s late run: “I kept watching the board.  I didn’t want to burn up everything I had if I didn’t need to.  But then I saw with about two laps left that Alex was making his way around Nick Ogden, so I had to step on it.  I wanted to stay away from those lap cars because you never know what they’re going to do.”

Josh Toothaker

Newcomer Josh Toothaker took the only Bandits heat.  “Josh used to race Outlaws,” explained Chad.  “He can weld and fabricate, and he stumbled upon a good deal for a car.  He hit the right lane in that heat that he won today just like I did in the feature.”

Alex Mowatt: “Most of the drivers get along pretty well.  At the same time, we’re not out here to make friends.”

Another week (it’s been five) without spectators.  The Oxford 250 is less than a month away.  Will that race be run without a crowd?

I am on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

crowd at OPS

Alex Mowatt gets by Jeff Libby

Chad, Alex, and Nick in late lap

Chad Wills alone in front

Chad Wills moves in front of Nick Ogden

Chad Wills wins feature

Doug Churchill (07) leads at start of feature

Feature just before spinout

Nick Ogden tries to hold off Alex Mowatt and Jeff Libby

Nick Ogden with the lead after the spinout

Josh Toothaker has big lead in heat

Josh Toothaker (left) uses the top of the track to get the lead in the heat

 

 

 

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Travis Verrill gets second win this season in Bandits Division

Travis Verrill shown here with son Tucker wins his 2nd Bandits race of the season

Travis Verrill first, Chad Wills second in the feature

(Oxford ME) Every other week Travis has been awfully good.

The other weeks?  Not so much.

But he has shown with the two W’s that he is tough to move from the front.

And there were plenty of attempts to do just that tonight at Oxford Plains Speedway.

“I don’t think that there was a corner I turned that someone didn’t hit me in the rear,” said Travis smiling, “but that’s what makes it fun.”

Not as much fun tonight for Jeff Libby.  Jeff had consecutive seconds in place and looked to be heading for another second in tonight’s feature, when he spun out with three laps left in the 20-lap feature.

Travis Verrill pulls away from Grady Doherty early in the feature

“Jeff did everything he could to get around Travis,” explained runner-up Chad Wills.

Asked about the spinout that took Jeff out, Chad said, “We were all in a line behind Travis and he was protecting the bottom on the corner by going slow.  That is what you’re supposed to do when you have the lead.  We just didn’t check up in time and Jeff ended up getting spun out.”

Chad and Alex Mowatt benefitted from the spinout and were able to jump into 2nd and 3rd.  They would hold those positions the rest of the way.

“I glanced up real quick and I saw Jeff heading for the infield,” recalled Travis.  “They must have done a little too much bumping behind me.”

Close finish in the first heat between Jeff Libby and Travis Verrill

Chad Wills was coming off three straight 4th place finishes.  “We got one more position tonight with a little bit of luck, but I definitely thought that we had a top three car.”

The competition has been tough in the Bandits Division this year. “We’ve got five or six real fast cars in the division,” said Travis.

“The competition is a lot more stout this year than it has been in the past,” added Chad.  “Tonight you could have thrown the top seven under a blanket for most of the race.”

“Jeff (Libby) has definitely figured out his stuff this year,” said Chad.

Best race of the night was in the heat that pitted Travis against Jeff.  Very close finish but they gave it to Travis.  Jeff has never won a heat or a feature.  That should change in the near future.

Nice weather.

I asked Chad about the missing spectators: “When you’re racing you don’t notice the fans at all.  I think we’ll get them back.  It hard to see why people can’t sit outdoors here.”

This is what the costly spinout in the Bandits feature looked like:

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(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Mason, Chad, and Shelby Wills

Alex Mowatt wins second heat

Nick Ogden has the early lead in the second heat

Row of cars in the feature

First head – Travis Verrill, Jeff Libby, Dean Jordan

Travis Verrill, Chad Wills, and Jeff Libby

 

 

 

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Eric Parlin takes Bandits feature for first win at Oxford Plains Speedway

Eric Parlin won his first feature tonight at Oxford Plains Speedway in the Bandits division

Eric Parlin wins the first heat

(Oxford ME) The car was a winner last year.

This year the owner of the car (Eric Parlin) was along for the ride and took the Bandits feature on Sunday night at spectator-less Oxford Plains Speedway.

“I let my buddy Jake (Hall) drive it last year when I first bought it and he got a win out of it,” explained Eric.

Eric’s previous best had been a third at Wiscasset.  Eric also won his heat tonight.

“It felt awesome,” said Eric, “I’ve been at this for a little while.”

In tonight’s 20-lap feature, Eric took the lead in the third lap and wouldn’t be denied.

Jeff Libby gets second for the second straight week

Jeff Libby (Auburn ME) continues to rack up seconds.  Rather than being discouraged, he sounded optimistic when I talked to him. “We’re killing it this year,” he said.  “We’ve made a lot of gains with the car and the set up.  I can’t complain about another second-place finish.  We’ll get a first one day.”

Jeff had two seconds last year and already has two this year.

Jeff said that the track’s conditions were a factor: “I was struggling for grip today.  The track was hot and greasy.  It’s hard to do too much with conditions like that.”

The two top finishers were fortunate that their heat successes gave them up-front positioning for the feature.  Why?  In lap two, five of the seventeen starters went into the infield in a group collision, and they were all done for the night. Here is a sequence of that action:

Eric Parlin told me that he didn’t see the crash.  “Many of those guys are friends of mine.  I’d rather be racing with them then see them tore up.

In the feature the four top finishers- Eric Parlin, Jeff Libby, Alex Mowatt, Chad Wills

Once the dust and the cars were cleared, Eric quickly took the lead from Adam O’Neil.  Jeff moved up into second with Alex Mowatt nearby.  Chad Wills, who went into the pits for repairs, returned and settled into fourth.  That foursome got into that order until the race ended.

Alex now has a first and two thirds so far.  “Alex is really fast,” said Jeff Libby.  “If you want to beat him you have to get in front of him and stay there.”

Chad Wills, last year’s Bandits champion, has come in 4th in all three races to date.

Two weeks ago Eric Parlin looked to have a heat won until he spun out with no one around him.  I asked him about it. “Every lap tonight,” he said, “I thought about that spinout two weeks ago.  I felt like I was on ice.”

Second heat – Alex Mowatt, Travis Verrill, Caleb Proctor

I asked Eric how his driving has improved.  “Tonight, I was patient with my cornering,” he said.  “I used to barrel in, and the car never seemed to handle right.  I taught myself to be a little more patient and let the car do the work.”

Jeff Libby: “When you start out racing not too many people are willing to give you a hand, so you have to learn on your own.  As you gain respect, people will help you.”

I asked Eric about racing without fans: “I don’t see the sense in allowing people to go into Walmart but not out here.”

Eric Parlin: “I want to say thanks to Shawn Knight for helping me out.  My car stays at his house all week long.  I wouldn’t have anywhere to work on it if it wasn’t for him.  He encourages me.”

Sunny and breezy tonight.

I am on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

All of the pictures above and below should enlarge considerably if you click on them.

First heat – Eric Parlin, Jeff Libby, Chad Wills

Feature – finish

Feature – Eric Parlin nears finish

Feature – Eric Parlin catches Matt Smith (4) and Colby Marriott (95)

Feature – Adam O’Neil (14X) with early lead

Colby Marriott

Alex Mowatt wins 2nd heat

 

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Travis Verrill wins Week Two in the Bandits Division at Oxford Plains Speedway

Travis Verrill first, Jeff Libby second in the Bandits Feature

Travis Verrill went from last to first in one week

(Oxford ME) Last week Travis watched the end of the Bandits feature from the bleachers.

This week? An entirely different story.

“It worked out great,” explained Travis Verrill afterwards.

Travis won his heat and then went on to take the feature on Saturday night at spectator-less Oxford Plains Speedway.

“We had no mechanical failures,” said Travis. “We stayed in front. Clean racing. Good Saturday.”

Jeff Libby was close tonight but still is chasing that elusive first win.

Jeff Libby chased Travis in the heat and the feature. “We’ll get to first someday,” he joked afterwards. Jeff is still looking for his first win.

Travis lined up in the front in the feature with Adam O’Neill. By lap two Adam was fading back and the top four finishers (Travis Verrill, Jeff Libby, Alex Mowatt, and Chad Wills) were in place.

Round and round they went in that order for the final eighteen laps. “It’s hard on these hot days because we have to run these radial tires and it’s hard to keep grip,” added Travis.

So the first four stayed on the bottom of the track waiting for things to change. They didn’t. And there were no cautions leading to restarts.

The order of finish (Travis Verrill, Jeff Libby, Alex Mowatt, Chad Wills) was already in place in the second lap of the feature.

“I just needed that one little shot at it,” lamented Jeff, “but he never opened the door.”

Adam O’Neill got off to an early lead in the feature.

“(Jeff) Libby was all over me though out the whole race but I managed to keep it up in front,” said Travis.

Although Jeff finished second, he loved the race. “It was probably the most fun I’ve had here in three years. The competition was bumper to bumper. If any one of us moved out of the way, someone else was taking that spot immediately. Everyone ran real fair and clean and that’s all you can ask for out of racing.”

Jeff: “We definitely miss the fans, that’s for sure. It’s just not the same.”

Crowd tonight

Travis: “It’s frustrating for a lot of the fans because we can only bring ten people in with us. Now we don’t even have pay-per-view coverage which is even more frustrating. I am hoping that in the next couple of weeks they can figure it out with the state and get the fans back in here. Then we can all enjoy it together.”

Nice weather conditions…….temps in the upper 70s.

It was certainly a quick evening at OPS. There were heats and features for four divisions and everything was over in less than two hours.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

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Alex Mowatt (finished 3rd in feature) finds some water in the pits

Chad Wills finished 4th in the feature

First heat ending – Travis first, Jeff second

In Heat 2, Chad Wills and Brandon Varney battle

Chad Wills wins the second heat

Matt Smith

 

 

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Alex Mowatt wins Bandits opener at Oxford Plains Speedway

Alex Mowatt takes the Bandits Division opener at Oxford Plains Speedway

The pits were filled with cars, drivers, and crew members

(Oxford ME) The caution flag has been out for several months.

That ended Saturday as the green flag dropped at Oxford Plains Speedway and this season’s racing began.

No spectators were allowed making for an odd view across the way of an empty grandstand. Hopefully, this will soon change.

I decided last year to concentrate my coverage on one division (Bandits) at OPS and I am doing it again this year.

Alex Mowatt (11) was quick to build his lead after restarts in the feature

Alex Mowatt (Norway ME) won tonight’s Bandits feature easily.

Alex’s win in the first heat earned him the pole position in the feature.

Alex never gave up the front in the feature despite two restarts and clearly had the best car in the Bandits division on this evening.

Even in his heat win, Alex was lengths ahead of the rest of the field when it was over.

In the second heat, Eric Parlin (Oxford ME) appeared to be coasting to a win. However, with less than two laps left, Eric lost control, spun out, and his lead vanished. He ended up 6th.

Brandon Varney chats pre-race with Dustin Salley

Brandon Varney (Mechanic Falls ME) took advantage of Eric’s spinout and won the second heat. Brandon finished the feature several car lengths back of Alex in second place.

Mike McKinney (Greenwood ME) rallied in a close finish to get third in the feature, despite a car that seemed to be coming apart the longer he drove it. Mike had a fender that hung off for several laps and later a pipe that was bouncing on the asphalt in the final laps. These things, however, didn’t faze Mike. He was going to drive that thing until it stopped!

Comfortable weather and plenty of, “how-you-been’s?,” heard in the stands.

I am on Twitter (Mcclellandpeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Spinout Doug Churchill (07) in the Bandits feature

1st Heat – Alex Mowatt (11), Chad Wills (52), and Jeff Wentzil (77)

2nd Heat – Eric Parlin (3), Brandon Varney (1X), and Mike McKinney (08)

Travis Verrill’s car stopped in the feature

Fender trouble for Mike McKinney (08)

Eric Parlin

Colby Marriott

Chad Wills gets ready to race

Alex Mowatt wins first heat

2nd heat lead change – Brandon Varney (1X), Mike McKinney (08), Dean Jordan (55), and Leon Kennison (13K)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Travis Verrill wins 2nd leg of Bandit Triple Crown Series at OPS

Travis Verrill wins the Bandits Triple Crown feature

A line formed

(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.

Chad Wills and Shelby

“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.

Alex Mowatt

“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.”

There was contact but Travis held on

“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.)

Car 50 starts on the pole

Frustration for driver of Car 50

Chad Wills, Travis Verrill, Alex Mowatt

Chad Wills tries the second lane

The final stretch of the Bandits feature

Grady Doherty was in second early in the race

Onto the tow truck in another race today

The finish of the top three

Travis and Alex afterwards

Travis out of the car with the checkered flag

Victory lane

Victory lap

The start of the race

Early in the race

 

 

 

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Jake Hall returns to win the Bandits feature at Oxford Plains Speedway

Jake Hall celebrates with his children after winning the Bandits feature tonight

Mikey McKinney gets second place

(Oxford ME) The car wasn’t even his.

It belongs to Eric Parlin, and he wanted someone to “try it out and break it in.”

Jake Hall accepted the opportunity and drove Eric’s car to victory in the Bandits’ feature tonight at Oxford Plains Speedway.

This was Jake’s first race in the Bandits division this season.

“It was a perfect night, honestly,” said Jake afterwards.  “I got the win.  My kids got to see it.  And my teammate (Mikey McKinney) got to finish second.  You can’t beat that.”

Lineup for the start of the Bandits feature

Jake came in second in his heat to Dustin Salley but in the feature, it was a different story.  Starting in the pole position, Jake led from beginning to end in the 20-lap race.  “This thing is a rocket,” exclaimed Jake.

Mikey McKinney was quickly in second in the feature and the teammates (“I help Mikey with his car” – Jake) separated from the rest of the field.

No cautions cut the gap between cars and without cars to pass it was an easy win for Jake.

Jake and Mikey on the final turn

Jake was rookie-of-the-year in the Bandits division several years ago but has not raced much lately.  “I’ve got a car, but I haven’t broken it out,” he said.  “We bought a house and stuff, so finances weren’t there.”

This was only Mikey’s fourth race this season in the Bandits division and the best he had done previously was 14th.  “I haven’t raced much this year, but I’ve done well in the past,” Mikey told me afterwards.

Dustin Salley won his heat

Mr. Consistent (Dustin Salley) won his heat and came in third in the feature.  “Consistent” describes Dustin because in thirteen races this season, he has never finished lower than fifth!  He has also won five times.

Alex Mowatt, who has won twice, took fourth.

Chad Wills won the other Bandits heat.

I am starting to become a fan of the Rookie Division.  There aren’t many cars but it’s highly competitive and there’s plenty of action.  Last week, Brady Childs tried to catch Owen Stuart at the very end and crashed just before the finish line.  Tonight, the same two were side by side and the next thing you knew Owen was spinning, and he and unfortunate Maddie Herrick collided.  Maddie’s night ended but Owen returned.  Brady won this race.

Cole Binette

How can you not pull for Cole Binette in that Rookie division?  The young man is 10 years old!  Tonight he got third.

Lovely night for racing.

Jake Hall: “Eric (Parlin) has only raced a couple of races but this car is a good one for him to start with.  I’m going to run again on the 250 weekend with the Rebels.  Then I’ll be down here helping Eric make sure that this car does for him what it did for me tonight.”

(All the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Mikey McKinney chasing Jake Hall

Jake Hall and Mikey McKinney

Jake Hall gets out of the car

Dustin Salley (18), Alex Mowatt (11), Jeff Libby (44), and Caleb Proctor (04) chase the leaders

On the wall

Reid Lanpher (59) on the move

Chad Wills wins heat

Brady Childs

Brady Childs (1), Maddie Herrick (95), and Owen Stuart (8)

 

 

 

 

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Travis Verrill wins first Saturday night Bandits feature at Oxford Plains Speedway

Travis Verrill celebrates his first Saturday night feature win

In the final yards, Travis Verrill (24) holds off Jeff Libby (44) with three other cars close by

Start of the Bandits feature

(Oxford ME) They came around the final turn with the chance of a lifetime.

One driver had never won a Saturday night feature.

The other had never finished above third.

Travis Verrill got his first win; a Saturday night feature in the Bandits division at Oxford Plains Speedway.

“It was my first Saturday night win,” said an exuberant Travis afterwards.  “We’ve got a couple of third places and fourth places on Saturdays.  We’ve won some flag poles but never on a Saturday night.”

For Travis to get that first Saturday night checkered flag was exciting but the race itself (20 laps) was one of the best I’ve seen at OPS.

Jeff Libby (pardon the poor camera setting) finished second

It was highly competitive from start to finish.  With no cautions sometimes the field spreads out and the outcome takes shape very early. This race wasn’t like that.  Travis and Jeff Libby started at the front and never seemed to separate by more than a car length.  Most of the time they were side by side.

Later in the race, three other drivers (Chad Wills, Dustin Salley, and Alex Mowatt) closed in on the top two.  Dustin has multiple wins while Alex had a win two weeks ago.  Any mistake up front and they were ready and in position to take the lead.

But it didn’t happen.  Both Travis and Jeff were that good on this evening.

I asked Jeff about the race: “It was exciting to get second since third was the best I had ever done before this.  The only chance I had to get past him (Travis Verrill) would have been to move him and I don’t race like that.  It still was our best race so far.”

This is how it looked into the 19th lap

Travis used his car last Friday in a four-cylander, figure-eight race.  Things didn’t go so well.

“We don’t usually do a race like that,” said Travis, “and we took a lot of damage.  We had to replace everything in the left rear.  We even missed the first practice today but got it together before the heat.”

Travis won the first heat ahead of Alex Mowatt.

Dustin Salley took the second heat.

“I figured that all the work these guys put in this week to get me back on the track, there was no way we were going home without that trophy,” said Travis.

Little room for error in the last lap

The Paris resident added, “We won this in front of a good crowd.  I have a lot of fans who come out and support me.  My mom makes everyone come whether they want to or not!  But I appreciate everyone who comes.  It’s really the only reason it’s worth it.  You don’t make a million here.”

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brian Caswell (47) loses a tire

Rookie spinout – Brady Childs (1) and Dylan Cook (87)

Mark Turner (09) spins out in the Street Stocks

 

 

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Rookie Alex Mowatt wins Race #1 in Bandit Triple Crown series at Oxford Plains Speedway

Alex Mowatt wins the first of three races in the Bandit Triple Crown series

Alex with trophy

(Oxford ME)  Rookie Alex Mowatt won the first race in the 2019 Bandit Triple Crown series on Sunday night at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The second, of three races, in this series will be held on September 15th at OPS.

Alex, of Norway, ran away and hid in his heat and then did the same thing in the 25-lap feature.

“I got off to a great start and Dustin (Salley) had trouble with his car,” Alex explained afterwards.  (Dustin is the points leader among the Bandits and has won numerous races this season.)

The way Alex’s car was moving on this evening, however, I’m not sure Dustin would have stayed with him even if his car had worked well.

Chad Wills (Oxford) took second and Dustin, despite his gear trouble, was third.

What certainly helped Alex was the combination of a small field (12 cars?) and no cautions.  Alex never had to weave through traffic, and he didn’t have to chance his lead with a restart.

It was clearly his day.

After one lap Alex (11) had control of his heat and later the feature.

Highlight of his racing career?  “This was nice, but the racing highlight so far for me was the first race I won here earlier in the season,” said the 20-year-old from Norway.

Dustin Salley (18) and Chad Wills (54) battled for second place

I tried to figure out the way things go at the speedway.  Sorting out drivers and cars was a challenge.  No up-to-date rosters anywhere to be found in the press box certainly didn’t help.

Dustin Salley (3rd) with Alex after the race

I had planned to interview several drivers afterwards.  That fell through because the inspection of the cars after the race seemed to last at least an hour.  That left me little time to find the other drivers.

But it was my first time trying to cover a race where I interviewed participants, and I enjoyed being there.  I am creating my own Bandits’ roster and I will know better what to expect next time.

I expect to be at OPS for the 250 late in August.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alex with the victory flag

Alex’s car

Nick Ogden (9) leads Dustin Salley in heat

Chad Wills (54), Dustin Salley (18), and Travis Verrill (24)

Eddie MacDonald’s car

Alex finishes

Alex ahead of Dean Jordan (55) and Greg Sessions (91) in his heat

Alex alone on the corner

 

 

 

 

 

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