At the end of the night it was 24-year-old Brandon Barker who took down the victory, holding off Ryan Robbins and defending Oxford Champion Series Super Late Model titlist Dave Farrington Jr.
Despite the Pro All Stars Series starting around 40 cars each year for the Oxford 250 feature, there are already nearly 60 on the entry list now just under a month out. With the starting grid being determined almost entirely by heat qualifying races, a major source of pressure is off of Barker’s mind. Although he will still have to race hard in order to ensure a starting spot up front.
It’s a lot of weight off of our shoulders, everybody is competitive with each other for those 20 lap heat races when the tires are new. – Brandon Barker
More importantly, Barker and his No. 88 team have hit upon a setup which seems to give them better speed over an extra-distance race. A critical key to victory in the Oxford 250.
“What we found was consistency, that’s what we have been struggling with since I started racing these cars. If I’ve been good, we’d be good for 50 laps then fall on our face. I was kind of shocked for me to run 100 laps and still have something at the end. I feel like we’re getting better.”
As ever, winning the 250 is the primary goal, but Barker stated that he would also find solace in simply being in the mix.
“Anything in the Top 10 would be good, the race is tough, 250 laps is a long race for us up here. To be competitive is the only thing I want. Run strong and if something happens there at the end, it stinks, but people know that you were there.”
After COVID-19 restrictions in the State of Maine limited spectators to only a few hundred in 2020, Barker is looking forward to seeing a crowd into the tens of thousands that the Oxford 250 is known for. To win in front of all of them would be quite the treat, along with taking home a guaranteed $25,000, plus however much lap leader money.
“It is pretty important, they’ve been having good crowds there on Saturday nights, but there is nothing like the Oxford 250. I don’t know how many people are in the town, but there’s people that come from all around that pack the place. The camping is pretty wild, they start coming in on Thursday night and right up to the end of the race on Sunday is pretty wild. For us up here, the Oxford 250 is the best race, and it pays pretty good too.”
Speed51’s Pay-Per-View broadcast of the 48th Oxford 250 begins on Saturday, August 28 with The Night Before The 250 featuring the American-Canadian Tour Late Models and Modified Racing Series. Then on Sunday, August 29 the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models take center stage starting with heat races, all leading up to the Oxford 250 itself.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Oriana Lovell