A guaranteed starting spot in one of the richest and most prestigious short track races in North America will be on the line Saturday at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway. As part of the “Road to the Oxford 250” program announced by Pro All Stars Series officials, the winner of the Easter Bunny 150 will lock themselves into the 43rd annual Oxford 250 in August.
The starting spot is valuable to Super Late Model racers for many reasons, but more than anything it alleviates the stress that comes with trying to qualify for the race. In 2015, 79 drivers entered or attempted to qualify for the race with only 41 of those drivers making the 250-lap main event.
One of those drivers who got into the show, but had to work his way in through a consolation race, was Derek Ramstrom. The West Boylston, Massachusetts native drew poorly in the all-important qualifying draw and needed the second-round of qualifying to get in.
This weekend Ramstrom will take his No. 35 Super Late Model south to Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in an attempt to win the Easter Bunny 150 and lock himself into the Oxford 250 four months before the race. He admitted that having the guaranteed starting spot would lower the stress level of his team during Oxford 250 weekend and allow them to focus more on their long run setup.
“That would be huge,” Ramstrom said. “That’s the race that I want to win the most. I want to win that race so bad. I’ve been trying to win that race for years and it’s incredibly hard. That would definitely take off a lot of stress. We definitely want to get that.”
Another driver looking to win the Easter Bunny 150 and earn the guaranteed Oxford 250 starting spot will be 2014 PASS North champion DJ Shaw. He will be racing with his family’s race team during PASS events this season and believes the guaranteed starting spot would be a huge help in August.
“It would be nice for sure,” Shaw said about the guaranteed Oxford 250 starting spot. “The 250 is such a prestigious weekend and there’s so much going into it and so much expense. If you’re not locked in, the expense could be all for nothing. It would definitely be nice, especially having our own deal this year, if we could lock ourselves into that before the time even comes.”
Overall, nearly 20 teams from the Northeast region and Canada will be making the trip to Hickory, North Carolina this weekend. While the reason for their trip may not solely be because of the Oxford 250 starting spot, it surely provides them with a great opportunity to lock themselves into the biggest Super Late Model race in the region.
Currently, David Garbo, Jr. is the only driver in North America to be guaranteed a starting spot in the 43rd annual Oxford 250. He locked down that honor by winning the PASS Super Late Model version of the North-South Shootout at Concord Speedway (NC) in November.
This weekend, roughly 40 Super Late Model teams will make their way to Hickory hoping to join Garbo on that short list. If they are to win the Easter Bunny 150, they’ll already have completed half of the battle associated with winning the Oxford 250.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Norm Marx/Pro All Stars Series