Tag Archives: Dustin Salley

Dustin Salley wins Bandits feature, Chad Wills claims points title

Dustin Salley wins his 6th race of the Bandits season

Mason, Chad, and Shelby

(Oxford ME) Dustin Salley won the Bandits feature tonight.

Chad Wills won the Bandits points championship.

Dustin looked to be on his way to winning his second straight points title but ran into some “technical difficulty”, as Chad described it, after the August 23rd race and was disqualified.

Dustin’s zero points for that race put Chad ahead going into tonight’s final chance for points.

“I knew that I had to stay within five cars of the 18 (Dustin Salley) to win the points title,” explained Chad.

The opportunity to win the championship had an effect on Chad prior to the race: “I was a nervous wreck.  I was quite sick before the race.  It was nerves.”

So while Chad played it safe, Dustin was all in.

Dustin Salley

“I drove the wheels off it,” Dustin said.  “Tonight, this thing was hooked up.  Brand new tires are what make a difference with these cars, it’s not going to be all about the motor.”

Grady Doherty had a big night.  He won his heat and came across second in the feature.  Grady’s best previous finish had been a 4th on August 10th.

Dustin won his heat and had already won five times before tonight’s victory.

Grady had the pole in the feature while Dustin started 6th.

Several laps in, the race was between Grady and Dustin.  They were side-by-side briefly and there was contact between the two of them as Dustin took the lead for good.

Dustin squeezed by Grady Doherty and Alex Mowatt

“I tried to keep it as clean as I could,” he explained.  “I didn’t have the preferred groove when I’m out in the second groove, so I kept it tight.”

Once Dustin had the lead, the issue wasn’t who would win but by how much would he win.

“We’ll take the win and move on and see what next year brings us,” added Dustin.

To win the title at Dustin’s expense was bittersweet for Chad: “I owe a lot to Dustin.  He helps me on and off the track.  I thank Kyle Hewins too.  He and Dustin are pretty much the mechanics.  All I’m good for is driving the car.”

Dustin: “We had a great crew; KHM, Chad, Kyle and all of those guys.  They help out a ton.  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to race anymore.  It’s a perfect combination between Kyle and me.  We get these things to go pretty good.  I can’t thank those guys enough.”

Dustin wins the feature with plenty to spare

I decided this summer to spend some time at Oxford and opted to specialize in one division.  The Bandits became the choice, and in my six visits I met six different winners; Alex Mowatt, Travis Verrill, Jake Hall, Caleb Proctor, Chad Wills, and Dustin Salley.

Dustin finished with six victories.  Chad had three.

“We got a DQ last week which cost us the championship,” said Dustin.  “In the whole year it was the only time we were out of the top five so I can’t complain.”

Other divisions settled championships today as well.

I always find the Rookie division entertaining.  It is almost a certainty that the cars will get tangled up.  Tonight’s tangle eliminated all put two cars and so 12-year-old Maddie Herrick was declared the winner.

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

Maddie Herrick wins Rookies feature

Truck winners

Curtis Geary

Driver taken to an ambulance after hitting the wall

Dustin (DSal) and Chad (Wills) get by Dean Jordan (55)

Dustin Salley won the second Bandits heat

Grady Doherty and Alex Mowatt tangle in the feature

Grady Doherty leads in the first Bandits heat

Grady Doherty wins the first Bandits heat

 

 

 

 

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Chad Wills wins the Bandits feature on 250 Weekend………again

Order of finish set on the final turn of the Bandits feature

Chad Wills celebrates his third win of the season

Chad and Dustin get by Jeff Libby in the feature

(Oxford ME) Two years ago Chad Wills won his first Bandits race.

The occasion was the race-loaded weekend of the famous Oxford 250.

Tonight, before a large crowd, Chad did it again.

Beating Dustin Salley on this cool evening, however, was not easily done.

Both Chad and Dustin won their heats with little trouble.  However, the way the features in the Bandits division are set up, winning a heat does not get you to the front in the feature.  Instead, the non-winners are put to the front.  So Chad and Dustin had to get past drivers in a second race to get to the front.

“We had few cars tonight,” said Chad afterwards, “so it put us more toward the front in the feature.  That definitely helped in the first few laps because that’s when you need to get by as many cars as possible before things settle in.”

Travis Verrill, Chad Wills, Dustin Salley

“It’s hard starting from the back,” said five-time winner Dustin Salley.  “All the guys out here are really good racers.  There’s a lot of respect but when you start back you got to get there.  Sometimes you have to be a little rougher than normal.”

Jeff Libby had the pole position in the 20-lap feature.

Chad, and then Dustin, were quick to get by Jeff low…….and then we had ourselves an exciting race between the twosome!

Chad stayed low on the track while Dustin used the second groove for many laps.  They were side-by-side at times and close the whole race. Chad won this race because he wouldn’t let go of the inside. On this evening, Dustin didn’t have the car to get by.

“I tried, I tried,” said Dustin afterwards.  “I had three brand new tires on the car, and it handled it for a while.  Once that right front tire got hot it was junk and I just faded back.”

Chad Wills gets inside Jeff Libby in the first heat

“If Dustin could have got me in the bottom, he would have won,” confided Chad.  “He had the car to beat, that’s for sure.  I just had position on the track and got there before him.  The second groove is hard here, yet he was able to stay with me for many laps.”

The win was sweet for Chad, but he did have to beat his teammate and friend to do it.  “Dustin is one of my good friends,” said Chad.  “The car he’s driving is the one I started with this year.  He had some car troubles, so Kyle Hewins and I let him drive the car I had been driving. I drove a backup car.”

The top three finishers (Travis Verrill came across third) in the Bandits division had their cars checked very carefully after the race tonight.  “They pulled the heads off the top three cars,” explained Chand, “checking for competitive advantages.

Dustin on Chad’s shoulder

Dustin is the points leader in the division.  “I started strong,” he said, “and the other drivers are getting better and better.  I am hoping to win most points for the second straight year.”

Dustin worst finish this year has been fifth.  “You try to pick your spots and be smart about it.”

Both drivers have cars owned by Kyle Hewins.  “I owe a lot to him,” said Chad.

Chad admitted that he doesn’t know too much about cars: “I can drive them but I’m not mechanically inclined.”

*I have just learned that Dustin Salley was disqualified.

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

(I also have a Twitter account – @mcclellandpeter )

Spinout

Truck turnover

Chad Wills wins the first heat

Collision

Sizable crowd for Friday night’s racing at Oxford Plains Speedway

Dustin Salley wins the second heat

 

 

 

 

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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

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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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