Oxford, ME — Williamstown’s Jimmy Hebert finished a job he had come close to so many times before by winning the Oxford Plains 150 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday, August 30. Hebert took the lead for good from Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe with 57 laps to go and was never seriously threatened from there on his way to becoming the first repeat winner of the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) season.
For Hebert, it was a victory that had been within reach on multiple occasions prior to Sunday. In nine previous starts at Oxford, he had posted six top-5 finishes with a pair of runner-up results. His elusive first win at the historic 3/8-mile track also put him in the driver’s seat for his first ACT championship with three point-counting events remaining.
Hebert started 10th in the 28-car field and spent the first third of the event conserving his Hebert Excavation Chevrolet as the field tussled in front of him. Polesitter Marcel J. Gravel of Wolcott, VT led the first five laps before Steuben, ME’s Rowland Robinson Jr. got underneath him on the backstretch to snatch the top spot. Robinson’s stay at the front was also short-lived as Candia, NH’s Jimmy Renfrew pulled a similar move six laps later to lead an ACT event for the first time.
Renfrew paced the field for the next 42 circuits as Robinson, Gravel, Rowe, Ryan Kuhn, and others fought to position themselves for the long haul. Rowe was up to the second spot by lap 40, and after looking to the outside of Renfrew multiple times, he finally made it stick on the high groove to move in front on lap 54.
The long green-flag run came to an end on lap 69 when Robinson and Renfrew tried to split a lapped car on the front chute. Robinson bounced off Renfrew’s driver-side door entering turn one, and the contact sent Robinson spinning to bring out the first caution. His misfortune moved Milton, VT’s Dylan Payea into the third spot with Hebert right behind him for the restart.
When the green flag came back out, Hebert decided it was time to go. He had slashed his way to the second spot when the second caution flew seven laps later after Connor McDougal got turned around. Hebert restarted outside Rowe and rode the rim to put a nose out front for the next four circuits.
The point leader couldn’t make it stick, though, and fell back in behind Rowe on lap 81. After stalking the multi-time Pro All Stars Series (PASS) champion for the next 13 laps, Hebert got a great run through turn two and dove beneath Rowe exiting the corner to fly into the lead.
After dodging a bullet on lap 98 when Matt Anderson and Dave MacDonald spun right in front of the leaders coming out of turn four, Hebert pulled out to a huge advantage with New Sharon, ME’s Dillon Moltz moving into second. However, the gap was instantly erased when Jimmy Linardy spun in turn three to trigger caution number four.
On the backstretch following the restart, Rowe slid underneath Moltz on the back chute to regain second. Both Moltz and Payea then went for the low lane entering turn three and got together. Each made great saves coming to the frontstretch, but the field got bunched up behind them, and Anderson was the innocent victim as he looped it for the fifth and final yellow.
That meant one last 15-lap sprint to decide the winner. Hebert easily outpowered Rowe on the restart, and although Rowe tried to keep pace, Hebert was simply too strong as he captured his seventh career ACT Late Model Tour victory.
Rowe finished second for his best run of the year in a limited ACT schedule. Newmarket, NH’s Bryan Kruczek continued his mid-season resurgence by completing the podium after making several passes in the third groove. Payea had his best career ACT result in fourth. Moltz, Kuhn, D.J. Shaw, Renfrew, Robinson, and Derek Gluchacki completed the top-10. The result unofficially gives Hebert a 39-point edge over Shaw in the overall standings.
The ACT Late Model Tour makes its second visit of the year to Barre, VT’s Thunder Road on Sunday, September 6 at 1:00pm for the Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic. Both the ACT and Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model regulars will go at for 200 green-flag laps. They’ll be joined by Thunder Road’s Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors.
Admission is $25 for adults and $5 for kids ages 12 and under with limited fan attendance. Advance tickets are on sale now at https://happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl. Please visit www.thunderroadvt.com for information on face mask policies and other health and safety guidelines. For those who can’t attend in-person, the Northeast Sports Network is offering a $25 live pay-per-view broadcast at www.NSNsports.net/sponsors/racing.
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
OXFORD PLAINS 150
OXFORD PLAINS SPEEDWAY
SUNDAY, AUGUST 30, 2020
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
- ( 10 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 4 ) Ben Rowe ( 4ME ) , Turner, ME , 150 Laps
- ( 8 ) Bryan Kruczek ( 19NH ) , Newmarket, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 9 ) Dylan Payea ( 7NH ) , Milton, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 14 ) Dillon Moltz ( 5ME ) , New Sharon, ME , 150 Laps
- ( 11 ) Ryan Kuhn ( 72MA ) , E.Bridgewater, MA , 150 Laps
- ( 17 ) D.J. Shaw ( 04VT ) , Center Conway, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 2 ) Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ( 00NH ) , Candia, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 3 ) Rowland Robinson, Jr. ( 28ME ) , Steuben, ME , 150 Laps
- ( 16 ) #Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) , Dartmouth, MA , 150 Laps
- ( 19 ) Brockton Davis ( 47NH ) , Whitefield, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 15 ) Christopher Pelkey ( 64VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 5 ) Max Dolliver ( 0NH ) , Londonderry, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 18 ) Jesse Switser ( 25NH ) , W. Burke, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 7 ) Ryan Olsen ( 61NH ) , N. Haverhill, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 12 ) Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 149 Laps
- ( 21 ) Connor MacDougal ( 8NH ) , Rochester, NH , 149 Laps
- ( 1 ) #Marcel J. Gravel ( 86VT ) , Wolcott, VT , 149 Laps
- ( 25 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 148 Laps
- ( 22 ) James Linardy ( 77MA ) , Somerville, MA , 148 Laps
- ( 26 ) Mike Benevides ( 50RI ) , Westerly, RI , 148 Laps
- ( 23 ) #David MacDonald ( 69ME ) , New Gloucester, ME , 147 Laps
- ( 27 ) Matt Anderson ( 49NH ) , Andover, NH , 147 Laps
- ( 13 ) Joey Laquerre ( 15VT ) , E. Montpelier, VT , 115 Laps
- ( 6 ) John Donahue ( 26VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 80 Laps
- ( 28 ) Garret Leiter ( 20ME ) , Winslow, ME , 64 Laps
- ( 20 ) #Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) , New Salem, MA , 1 Laps
- ( 24 ) Jeff Lebrecque Jr. ( 12NH ) , Rochester, NH , 0 Laps
Lap Leaders: Marcel J. Gravel, 1-5; Rowland Robinson Jr., 6-11; Jimmy Renfrew Jr., 12-53; Ben Rowe, 54-76; Jimmy Hebert, 77-80; Rowe, 81-93; Hebert, 94-150. (6 lead changes among 5 drivers)
Time of Race: 1 hour, 6 minutes, 16 seconds Margin of Victory: 0.791 seconds
Cautions: 5 (laps 69, 76, 98, 134, 135)
Heat Winners: John Donahue, Ryan Olsen, Bryan Kruczek
Consi Winner: Derek Gluchacki
-American-Canadian Tour Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo