Winning the Oxford 250 is the ultimate goal for short track racers in New England. Prepare yourself for an overused cliché: the race truly is the Daytona 500 for those who race Super Late Models in the region. Despite coming close at times, a victory in the rich and prestigious race has eluded some of the best racers of this era. Today, we take a look at five drivers who are overdue for an Oxford 250 victory when the green flag waves this Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway.
Will any of these drivers score an overdue Oxford 250 victory this weekend? If you can’t make it to the race track to find out, watch the live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com.
#5 – Reid Lanpher
How can we say a 21-year-old driver is due for an Oxford 250 win after only four career starts in the race? It’s quite simple. Lanpher has come as close as you can get to holding the big check on two separate occasions. In his first career start, the Manchester, ME native trailed Glen Luce under the checkered flag in 2015. Two years later, he finished second to Curtis Gerry in 2017. Fast forward one year to 2018, and he once again charged to the front to finish third following a pit road mishap. With three podium finishes and an average finish of 5.75, the youngster is due to break into Victory Lane at Oxford.
#4 – D.J. Shaw
Despite the family’s success throughout the region, the Oxford 250 winner’s list does not contain the last name Shaw. Given his father Dale’s resume, as well as his own PASS North championships and victories, it’s almost hard to swallow. The family’s chassis business, Dale Shaw Racecars, have indeed won the race before but they have yet to win one behind the wheel. D.J. Shaw will make the family’s 27th start in the race this weekend, with his best previous finish of third coming in 2016. Dale finished second in 1992 but was never able to seal the deal.
#3 – Tracy Gordon
If you ask Tracy Gordon why he’s still racing, he’ll likely tell you it’s because he wants an Oxford 250 victory. The 12-time Busch North Series winner finished second in 1997 and 1998 but the flow of the Oxford 250 just never clicked for Gordon. He’s had several strong runs, including a few dominant ones, throughout his 17 career starts in the race but has never closed the deal. Whether it’s been an ignition wire burning off or a lapped car ruining his chances, Lady Luck has not been on Gordon’s side in the big race.
#2 – Johnny Clark
For those who have been around long enough to remember when Johnny didn’t have facial hair, it’s hard to believe he’s never won the Oxford 250. He had a fine run going in 2004 and finished second in 2005 after losing the lead to Mike Rowe with 10 laps to go. Earlier this week, he told Speed51.com this week he would trade in all six of his PASS North championships for an Oxford 250 win. That ought to tell you what this race means to drivers in this region.
#1 – Jeff Taylor
It’s a Cinderella story and it’s almost midnight in Oxford. Jeff Taylor has won nine Super Late Model track titles at Oxford, but he has yet to win the 250. Gearing up for what would be his 19th start in the race makes us all feel like we are watching the movie Rocky (yeah, the original) over and over and over. He keeps punching at the old track and gets no special luck on 250 Sunday. He’s finished second twice but until he knocks out Apollo Creed, he won’t be happy.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com National Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / John A. Miller