Tag Archives: Caleb Proctor

Brandon Caston gets first win

Brandon Caston wins first Bandits feature

(Oxford ME) Two weeks ago, Brandon Caston took the lead early in the Bandits feature…..and lost it at the end.

Not this time.

It was Brandon’s first win at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Brandon Caston across the finish line with Jeff Libby second

“I’ve been chasing this for four years,” said Brandon afterwards.  “I couldn’t be happier.”

Jeff Libby was the guy in Brandon’s rearview mirror as he navigated lap-after-lap of the 20-lap feature in front.

Jeff Libby with 2nd place trophy

Two weeks ago, it was last year’s points winner, Alex Mowatt behind him.

“It was the first race of this season,” recalled Brandon.  “I was out there getting used to the car.  I had the lead and then I saw Alex coming.  I had watched him for two years and I knew he was quick.  I was like, ‘Oh, no.  Here we go.’  I overdrove the car and lost the lead.  I was, however, happy to get my first trophy.”

This time around Brandon kept the challenger (Jeff Libby) in his rearview mirror in the closing laps and secured his first top spot.

Alex Mowatt finished third after winning the first two weeks.

“It’s good to get on the podium with Jeff and Alex,” said Brandon.  “They’re really good people.”

Brandon Caston (middle) makes his move on the leaders

One of the appealing trademarks for spectators of Bandits features is that the more successful a driver has been, the further back he is placed to start in future races.  (I’m not sure the drivers are thrilled with this!) 

“I was pretty nervous going into the feature,” said Jeff Libby, “because I was starting in the middle of the pack.  There were guys up front with less experience.”

Accurate split decisions become essential for the previously successful drivers if they are to finish at, or near, the front as they have done before.

“I knew going into the race that I had to get to the outside,” said Brandon.  “The car was really fast out there.  To get there early I ended up pushing Caleb (Proctor) out three wide.  I didn’t mean to do that.  I thought there was room.”

Brandon Caston (14) gets the lead with Jeff Libby (44) following

But Brandon did get outside and quickly was by early leader Josh Lovell and on his way to the front for the rest of the race.

Victory lap

Brandon’s move helped Jeff Libby.

“Our buddy Brandon poked a big hole for us, and we followed him through it,” said Jeff. “It worked out for the best for us tonight.”

Jeff and Brandon both won their heats.

Jeff was able to hold off Alex Mowatt in his heat. 

“Alex is very fast,” said Jeff.  “We did everything we could to keep him behind us.”

Brandon Caston: “Three years ago I started racing using Caleb’s old O4.  It didn’t go too well and so I took a couple of years off.  Last year, I did a little bit and finished 4th in my first race back (July 18th).  I decided to buy another car this year and go for the points and see how it would do.”

First corner in the Bandits feature

Jeff Libby: “The car is going very good (4th and two 2nds).  We’re running a different tire this year and that seems to be helping quite a bit.”

Overcast weather looking as if it might rain but it didn’t.

Lengthy time in post-race tech for the Bandits drivers after new regulations kicked in.

Good to finally be at OPS in person although the videos of the races from the previous two weeks have been very helpful is seeing how things are going at OPS.

The Bandits feature today was restart free.  Maybe the “inexperienced” drivers are getting better at navigating the early laps?  Last season that first corner was close to a fender-bender certainty!

Josh Lovell (42) and Nick Wilson (53) collide

It took Jeff Libby nine weeks last season to get his first-ever top finish.  Hasn’t had one after three weeks this season.  About due?

Expecting something special from Alex Mowatt in Week Four. 

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

Early going in first heat – Jeff Libby leading Caleb Proctore and Alex/Luke Mowatt
Start of the second heat with Josh Lovell in front

Leave a comment

Filed under Oxford Plains Speedway

Mowatt and Mowatt dominate Week 9 in Bandits Division at Oxford Plains Speedway

Luke Mowatt (18) wins the Bandits feature for the first time

Alex Mowatt (current Bandits points leader) finished second

Jeff Libby gets an elusive win

(Oxford ME) Racing was back.

At least the way I remember it.

The pits were crowded, and race cars were in places unused until today.

The parking lot was transformed into a campground.  Fires were burning and, I suspect, stories of previous races were being shared.

Races were won and for the first time since June 27th you could hear the winner’s support system erupt in cheers.

But all this was tempered by a look across the infield to the grandstand.

There the policies of Governor Mills (D) were on display.  In an area ready and willing to hold thousands, there were several hundred spectators.

Infield dust kicked up in the heat race

The Oxford 250 is scheduled for Sunday (August 30th).  In the past, the noise of the cars warrants some sort of hearing protection.

The crowds make plenty of noise too. But not this year.

The race will end, and the primary excitement will come from the driver and his close associates.

But I digress!

This is a story about last night’s Bandit’s racing.

It was exciting.

Let me tell you why.

Chris Foster (71) gets turned in the feature

There were folks in the pit grandstand, and they came to root for specific drivers.

There were more cars in the race than usual.  I counted at least twenty.  The more cars, the more action on the corners.

With eight divisions racing in the heats and a large delay while some 250 drivers got some practice, the start of the feature was delayed into darkness.

Without headlights and running under streetlights, the visibility was limited.  Another direct link to action on the corners.

The cautions were frequent in the Bandits 20-lap event.  Cars went into the infield.  Others went off the track high-side.

The placement in the feature is based on a rolling three-week average.  That puts those who show up every week, but haven’t been very successful, in the front.  The successful regulars face the task of getting by a collection of less-successful drivers to get where they have been ending up.  I actually like the concept because it makes every feature interesting.

But I continue to digress.

Luke Mowatt wins his heat

The surprises for the Bandits were already in place even BEFORE the race itself.

Jeff Libby got a pole start in the first heat and actually won.  I know that he has never won a feature at OPS.  I’m guessing that the winless thing might also extend to heats as well.

I have interviewed Jeff after several of his near-wins and he has never made an excuse.  He sees me coming and he says, “One of these times….”  Tonight was that time!

Jeff had points leader Alex Mowatt chasing him at the end but on this evening, Jeff held off the challenger and had, what has been, the elusive win.

The other heat winner was young Luke Mowatt.  Last week, in a heat shocker, Luke held off his older brother for the victory.  That impressed me at the time.  However, in the feature that followed, Luke could only get 6th.

But there was Luke again tonight winning a heat.

Chad Wills (52) and Jeff Libby (44) off the track in the feature

Tonight, however, was only Luke’s fourth feature race of the season, all in the last few weeks. I didn’t think he had the experience yet to be a feature contender.

“I didn’t have a car,” Luke told me afterwards as to why he hadn’t raced earlier in the season.

Tonight, Luke started on the pole in the feature and won the biggest race of his life.

“It was his time to win tonight,” explained his brother Alex post-race.

Luke had the sweet starting spot and a car that could handle the numerous restarts.

Meanwhile, Alex the points leader with three wins, started back in the pack thanks to the 3-week rolling average.  That was indeed where the action was.

Luke leads Caleb Proctor and his brother Alex in the feature

In recent weeks Alex has avoided most trouble by staying away from the inside.  Not tonight.  With 20+ cars in play, Alex went off the track early along with Chad Wills and his new car.

“I got a nice dent that I’ll have to fix,” said Alex.

But Alex stayed in the race, as did Chad, and thanks to cautions moved back in contention.

Luke, meanwhile, escaped the fender benders.

“I knew about them, but they were all behind me,“ he said.

Before too many laps were gone, Alex had recovered from his earlier mishap and was in 2nd challenging his younger sibling.  Having seen Alex for eight weeks show the ability to engineer comebacks, I was quite certain I knew what would happen next.

The Mowatt brothers with Eric Parlin spinning behind them

But I was wrong.

Luke held his own.

A caution put them side by side near the end but that didn’t matter.  On this night, Luke did not wilt.  He rode to his first feature win in only his 8th race.

I have four siblings and I know how competitive things can get among us, so I tried the “sibling rivalry” angle with the Mowatt brothers but they wouldn’t take the bait.

“You weren’t just letting your brother go, were you?” I asked.

“No, I was actually trying to catch him,” Alex laughed. “With all that went on I was fortunate to be there to get second.

“I’m happy for Luke,” said Alex.

Caleb Proctor ended third in the car that Chad Wills borrowed (for a win) on August 15th.

Track dispute in the feature

Tempers reached an elevated status after one of the multi-car spinouts.  OPS security made sure that things didn’t get worse in the pits.

The weather turned cool as the evening wore on.

One of the most dangerous places you’ll ever be in would be the pits at night.  The cars, coming and going, have no lights and there are no overhead lights in the pits.  It truly can be “look, listen, and run for your life” in that area!

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

I am on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClelland Miscellanea).

Luke Mowatt, Alex Mowatt, Caleb Proctor, and Chris Foster in the last lap of the feature

Luke Mowatt in front followed by his brother in the feature

Cars in the infield in the feature

Spin off the back in the feature

Brady Heath (91) and Luke Mowatt (22x) in front on a restart

Travis Verrill in the infield in the feature

Brady Heath between races

Doug Churchill (07) spinning in first heat










Leave a comment

Filed under Oxford, Oxford 250, Oxford Plains Speedway

Caleb Proctor wins first Bandits feature at Oxford Plains Speedway

Chad Proctor won his first Bandits feature tonight

Chad Proctor on Victory Lane

(Oxford ME) You come back week after week and finally everything falls into place.

That’s what happened tonight for Caleb Proctor as he won his first feature at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Caleb started in the pole position and never let go of the lead.

“Starting at the front really helped,” said Caleb afterwards. “We started in the front and stayed there.”

The driver from Casco has been in all fourteen of the Bandits races this season.  Prior to tonight his best finishes were third on June 29th and fourth on May 25th.

I asked Caleb if they had done anything different with the car this week: “Nothing different.  We’re running on old tires.  We’re about as low-budget as it gets.”

Jeff Libby – still chasing his first win

Jeff Libby, from Poland, took second.

“Sooner or later we’re going to get one,” said Jeff afterwards.  “We’re getting close.”

Jeff finished second on July 27th behind Travis Verrill.

Jeff stayed in second for most of the 20-lap feature after moving up from 5th at the start.

“Caleb is a really good guy,” explained Jeff.  “Running second to him?  I’m not mad about it.”

I asked Jeff what it might take for him to win a race: “A little bit better starting position would help.”

I dubbed Dustin Salley, “Mr. Consistent,” last week.  He continues to be just that.  DSal’s lowest finish this season was 5th on June 8th.  Tonight he ended up third but believe me he was pressing Caleb and Jeff over the last few laps.  Dustin started near the back in the feature but skillfully worked his way into contention.

Travis Verrill and Bobby Doherty caused a caution early in the race.  Travis didn’t return from the collision that resulted.

Tyler Green (26) and Luke Mowatt (53) after the race was over

Luke Mowatt and Tyler Green came together at least once during the race and didn’t stop the interaction after the race was over.

I have covered four Bandits features and met a different winner each week.

The weather was chilly and there was a little rain before the race started.

Rookies Brady Childs and Owen Stuart put on another show tonight.  Brady won the heat, but it was Owen in the feature winning for the sixth time.

Two weeks ago, Brady crashed just before the finish.  This week he was spun out at the top of the stretch.

Owen Stuart (8) and Brady Childs (1) pass a slower car

Both these young drivers showed me something when they overtook, and lapped Jeremy Turner.  Brady went high and Owen went low.

The Oxford 250 is on August 25th.

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

Skip Stanley (64) and Matt Dufault (61)

Skip Stanley (64) spins out

Start of the Bandits feature

Travis Verrill won a heat

Travis Verrill and Bobby Doherty in the feature

Final turn in the Bandits feature

Jake Dobson (12) involved with Luke Mowatt and Tyler Green

Luke Mowatt (53) and Grady Doherty (1)

Owen Stuart and Brady Childs side by side

Owen Stuart wins 6th Rookie race

Leave a comment

Filed under Oxford, Oxford 250, Oxford Plains Speedway