Tag Archives: Jeff Libby

Jeff Libby gets first Bandits win at Oxford Plains Speedway

Jeff Libby got that elusive first feature win tonight at Oxford Plains Speedway

Jeff Libby (44) never trailed in his heat or in the feature.

(Oxford ME) Food can be a great motivator.

“My friend Chris Foster told me that if I won tonight, he’d buy me some ice cream,” explained tonight’s Bandits winner Jeff Libby laughing afterwards. “Now I’ve got to go find him.”  Good luck with that!

Last time the Bandits raced (August 28th) at Oxford Plains Speedway, Jeff broke through with his first heat win.  Tonight, he topped that with not only a heat win but also his first feature’s win.

“We had great starting positions (front row), new tires, and a crew that has been working real hard on this car,” Jeff explained.

All those things came together on this night to make it easy for the driver from Auburn (ME).  “We led all the green laps today,” recalled Jeff.  “That was awesome.  It felt amazing to finally win.”

Jeff is the fifth different driver to get a checkered flag in the ten Bandits races to date.

Shelby, Mason, and Chad Wills after tonight’s 2nd place finish

Chad Wills, who finished second, saw the multiple winners as a good thing for the division: “Seeing others win, opens peoples’ eyes to their chances of building a car and doing the same.”

“Jeff has improved every year,” added Chad.  “He’s a lot more competitive than he’s been in years past.”

In the 20-lap feature, Jeff started in the front next to rookie Doug Churchill.  Three laps into the race, Jeff was away from the pack and on his way to an easy win.  Not so fast.

On Lap Three, Eric Parlin (driving Chad Proctor’s car) and points leader Alex Mowatt collided bringing out a caution.

“It was my fault,” said Eric post-race.  “I’ve got to do better.”

Getting ready for the restart in the Bandits feature

The caution gave the field a chance to get another crack at the lead.  “When you’re out front you never want to see yellow,” said Jeff.

But yellow it was.  On this night, however, it didn’t matter.  Jeff flew away from Chad Wills and the rest of the Bandits on the restart and restored a sizable lead quickly.

“I thought that we might be able to battle it out with Jeff a little bit,” said Chad, “but as the laps ticked off, he just pulled away.”

Chad ended up feeling fortunate that he held off Luke Mowatt (winner on 250 weekend) for second.  “I thought that Luke had a faster car,” explained Chad.  “It forced me to protect the bottom a little more because if Luke got under me, I would have been 6th before I could get back down.  I appreciated Luke driving me clean.”

Alex Mowatt, who was put at the back of the pack from the Lap Three spinout, rallied to finish fifth.  Because the starting positions in the Bandits feature are determined by a 3-week rolling average, the points leader is regularly needing to rally to improve a bad starting position.  Alex has accomplished this feat so often that he should be the 2020 Bandits points leader after the divisions next, and final, race of the season on September 26th.

Ralph Green ended up 4th.

Jeff Libby leads Dean Jordan in the first heat

Jeff Libby defeated Dean Jordan and won the first heat handily.

The second heat featured a tight battle between Alex Mowatt and Eric Parlin.  Alex, who seems to thrive on the upper levels of the track, pulled by late in the race to take the win.

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

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Travis Verrill (24) veers off course in the feature

Alex Mowatt (11) and Eric Parlin (04) off the track in the feature

Jeff Libby all alone in the lead early in the feature

Jeff Libby pulls away early in the feature

Getting ready for the start of the Bandits feature

Alex Mowatt (11) gets past Eric Parlin (04) in the 2nd heat

Eric Parlin (04) pressed by Alex Mowatt (11) in the 2nd heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chad Wills catches a break and wins 2nd Bandits race at Oxford Plains Speedway

Chad Wills wins the Bandits feature with Jeff Libby second at OPS

Chad Wills takes a victory lap after winning for the second time at OPS this season

(Oxford ME) Over a year ago in the Bandits Division at Oxford Plains Speedway, Caleb Proctor won his only race of the season while driving the 04.

Tonight, Caleb’s 04 earned another checkered flag.  This time, however, the driver was Chad Wills.

“I’ve really got to thank Caleb,” said Chad post-race.  “I wrecked my car two weeks ago and he let me use his.”.

Chad has gotten a third and now a first in Caleb’s car.  Caleb will probably be the driver the next time the 04 appears at OPS.

There will be nearly two weeks off before the next Bandits race.  “I bought another car yesterday,” explained Chad, “like the hatchback that I wrecked.  Hopefully, in a couple of weeks I’ll be here with it.”

Chad Wills and Jeff Libby get inside Eric Parlin (3) in the last lap

Chad got his first win on July 25th when he took full advantage of a multi-car crash to move into contention.  Tonight, it wasn’t a crash. This time it was leader Eric Parlin slipping away from the bottom of the track near the end of Lap 18.

“Eric got loose in the last lap,” said Chad, “and I happened to be close enough to capitalize on it.”

Chad moved inside of Eric and Jeff Libby followed as Eric tried to recover.  Chris Foster also got to the bottom of the track.

“I could have forced my way back down there,” said Eric Parlin afterwards, “but cars might have been wrecked and I couldn’t do that.”

Eric ended the race settling for a tough fourth behind Chad, Jeff, and Chris.

Eric Parlin gets ahead of Brady Heath (91)

At the outset of the 20-lap feature, Eric took the lead from Brady Heath in the second lap.  Chad followed with Alex Mowatt running third.

Alex is not only the points leader but has won two straight weeks.  It was easy to expect him to get the lead sooner or later.  But not tonight.  In fact, his brother Luke, beat him in the second Bandits heat race.

Alex spent most of the evening racing on the upper levels of the track.  “Alex worked hard on the outside, but it heated his tires,” said Chad.  “It was impressive that he could hang out there as long as he did.”

Alex Mowatt (11) persisted in trying to pass Eric Parlin using the upper part of the track

Alex threatened leader Eric Parlin from the outside on several of the later laps.  When Eric slide up from the bottom in Lap 18, Alex got caught behind him and ended up finishing fifth.

Chad realized his good fortune.  “For the second time this year I was in the right spot at the right time.  Sometimes it’s better to be lucky rather than good.”

Jeff Libby continues to chase that elusive first win.  He has finished second three different times, including tonight.

Jeff was behind Chad Wills when the bottom of the track opened up on Lap 18.  “We followed Chad and that’s how we ended up where we did,” said Jeff.

Luke Mowatt won the second heat defeating his brother Alex in the process.

Chad Wills won the first heat and Luke Mowatt won the second heat.

Eric Parlin’s car threw off plenty of smoke last week.  No sign of any smoke this week.

Eric had a pretty good hold on first until a spinout (Brady Heath) in Lap 11 forced a caution and a restart.  The restart bunched everyone up.

The good weather continues.  This is the 8th week I’ve been at OPS and it’s been nothing but sunshine.

Limited number of spectators on the other side of the track.

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

Caleb Proctor Chad Wills, Brandon Caston

Jeff Libby (2nd)

Last lap action

Alex Mowatt tries to get by Eric Parlin on the high side

Eric Parlin comfortably in front in the feature

Brady Heath has the early lead in the feature

Chad Wills and Brady Heath set up in front for the Bandits feature

Luke Mowatt

Luke Mowatt on the inside and Alex Mowatt on the outside in Heat 2

Chad Wills and Josh Lovell in front in Heat 1

 

 

 

 

 

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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?

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(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.

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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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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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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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