As a result of his full-time job as an engineer for Brad Keselowski Racing, Ben Lynch isn’t presented with many opportunities to get behind the wheel of a race car. However, there’s one race on his calendar each year that he refuses to miss. For the third season in a row, the New Hampshire native will be taking advantage of an off-weekend on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series circuit to return to the 44th Annual Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
After finishing third two years ago, Lynch will attempt to bring a victory in the biggest single-day show in Super Late Model Racing back to North Carolina. Despite his busy schedule, he commits to the Oxford 250 for the simple fact that it’s the race he grew up wanting to win.
“It’s the Daytona 500 of the north,” Lynch told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I grew up hearing about the guys that ran and won that race; it’s one I wanted to win as a kid. Even as I work down south, most of the guys know of it and most want to run it, plus having run well and come close keeps me itching to get those last two spots we couldn’t get just two years ago.”
Because Lynch lives in North Carolina and his race shop is located in New Hampshire, it can pose a challenge when it comes to preparing the car and getting ready for a race as big as the Oxford 250. With help from a dedicated crew consisting of volunteers, he has found a way to get around that.
“We still set up the car in New Hampshire and I spend most of my time in North Carolina,” Lynch explained. “We do most of the work in the offseason and then it sits, unfortunately, but when there is stuff I want to do I call up there and tell them I want it done. We ran the Fourth of July race and tried some stuff. We really have the one race a year to get ready for. Other than that, you have to do your homework and hope for the best when you show up.”
Lynch, the engineer on the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 driven by Chase Briscoe in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has three career starts in the Oxford 250, with a career-best third place finish coming in 2015.
“Honestly, I think looking back on that third-place run, a lot of our issues were on pit road. We just weren’t prepared; it was our first time running a Super Late Model and our first time in the Oxford 250,” Lynch stated. “We kinda just worried about qualifying and having speed in the race; we didn’t really prepare for the pit road stuff and gave up a lot of spots on pit road. That was one of the things we worked on this offseason, see if we can’t give up fewer spots and hold track position.”
Lynch doesn’t hire a crew like some teams do for bigger events with live pit stops; he keeps it real and uses his crew consisting of local volunteers.
“It’s nothing special. In years past, we haven’t even practiced. It’s usually just show up, put some lug nuts on and race. I know there are some teams that hire pit crews, but to do it right is just a big expense to hire those guys to come in, so we don’t do that. Anyone that brings in a pit crew definitely has an advantage but you have to look at the cost for us and it’s just not realistic.”
If Lynch can pull off a win at Oxford, it may be a surprise to some, but for him, it will just be the culmination of a childhood dream.
Race fans unable to make it to Maine to watch Ben Lynch compete in the Oxford 250 can watch the race via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Video tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.
-By Reese Nobles, Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent
-Photo credit: Jeff Elliott