There’s a reason why the masterminds in Vegas don’t offer odds on the Oxford 250; the race is a handicapper’s worst nightmare. With nearly 70 drivers expected to enter the race, there’s legitimately 40-plus drivers with a shot at taking home the $25,000-plus paycheck.
Despite how challenging we knew it would be, the staff at Speed51.com decided to take the bull by the horns and try to handicap this year’s field. It wasn’t an easy task, but it was one that needed to be done.
We ranked the drivers straight up, not considering the draw and heat race aspect of the Oxford 250. Previous performances in Super Late Model competition, the Oxford 250 and at Oxford Plains Speedway were factored into these odds.
The odds listed below are meant to be fun and at no point are we playing down any one’s talent. The odds are unofficial and are for entertainment purposes only.
Note: If a driver’s name did not appear on the entry list posted on the Pro All Stars Series website as of August 21, their name will not appear on this list.
The Favorite: 2 to 1
Gerry is the odds-on favorite as a result of his five straight PASS North victories, including last year’s Oxford 250, at Oxford Plains Speedway. The No. 7G has been on fire since his win one year ago and seems to be in a great position to contend for the win once again.
Best Chance to Knock Off Curtis: 3 to 1
Cassius Clark, Reid Lanpher, Travis Benjamin
The three drivers listed above have established themselves as the favorite to end Gerry’s dominant streak at Oxford. Clark finished second after leading many laps in two of the PASS North 150’s earlier this year. He also led more laps than anyone and finished third in last year’s Oxford 250. Lanpher has been fast all year, scoring big wins at Seekonk Speedway (MA) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After two runner-up finishes in the race (2015 & 2017), Lanpher is in a prime spot to contend for the win. Benjamin, the defending PASS North champion, is the only former Oxford 250 winner in this group of drivers. The driver of car No. 7 has always been fast at Oxford and he’ll once again be in the conversation as he chases his third win in the big race.
The Contenders: 5 to 1
Bubba Pollard, DJ Shaw & Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
You could easily make a case that any of these drivers should be considered favorites. Bubba Pollard not being higher on this list may be a shocker to some, but this is his first ever start at one of the toughest track’s in the country. While we expect Pollard to catch on quick, winning the Oxford 250 in his first attempt would be one of the most impressive accomplishments of his career. For Shaw, the current PASS North points leader, the Oxford 250 has eluded him. He’s been very consistent at Oxford in recent years, and this could be the year he breaks through for his first win. Joey Pole is a former Oxford 250 winner; however, he won the race when it was contested as an American-Canadian Tour (ACT) type Late Model race. Pole has always been very good at Oxford during his career and his displayed speed in his Super Late Model this year, so it would be foolish to count him out.
In the Mix: 7 to 1
Austin Theriault, Ben Rowe, Eddie MacDonald, Mike Rowe
The Rowe’s may not be what they once were but there’s still reason to believe they have a chance at winning this one. Mike Rowe recently visited victory lane at Oxford at the young age of 67, while Ben Rowe will be debuting a new Senneker chassis and working close with Bubba Pollard this weekend. Theriault, the 2017 ARCA Racing Series champion, has finishes of second, third (twice) and fourth in five Oxford 250 starts. MacDonald is a two-time race winner and finished fourth in the Oxford 250 last year.
Good Picks: 10 to 1
Cole Butcher, Derek Griffith, Garrett Hall, Glen Luce, Trevor Sanborn, Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
This group of drivers would need things to go their way, but we’re certainly not ruling them out. Luce (2015) and Helliwell (2016) are both just a few years removed from their Oxford 250 wins; however, both teams have been a little off their game this year. The rest of the drivers in this group have scored big wins already this year or had strong runs in previous Oxford 250’s.
Worth the Money: 15 to 1
Alan Tardiff, Brandon Barker, Gabe Brown, Derek Ramstrom, Joey Doiron, Johnny Clark, Mike Hopkins, TJ Brackett, Tracy Gordon, Travis Stearns
If you’re looking for a middle of the road pick with a slight gamble attached to it this would be the group of drivers to look at. Tardiff, Brown and Brackett will represent the weekly warriors at Oxford Plains. All three drivers have been the cream of the crop while competing at Oxford over the last two years. This list also includes a recent Oxford winner (Barker), a six-time PASS North champion (Clark) and the winner of this year’s PASS Open (Gordon).
Under the Right Conditions: 20 to 1
Brad Babb, Dave Farrington, Jr., Dennis Spencer, Jr., Jeff Taylor, Jeremy Davis, Kelly Moore, Lonnie Sommerville, Scott Robbins, Shawn Martin, Tim Brackett, Wyatt Alexander
We wouldn’t count any of these drivers out of a top-10 finish, but they’re in need of a picture-perfect day to end up in victory lane with the $25,000-plus check.
Would Pay Off Well: 25 to 1
Adam Polvinen, Austin Teras, Ben Lynch, Bryan Kruczek, Calvin Rose, Jr., Jeff White, Joe Squeglia, John Peters, Justin Drake, Kodie Conner, Ray Christian III, Ryan Robbins
If you’re looking to take a gamble in hopes of a big return, this would be the category to look at. Oxford is a tough track to conquer and many of the drivers on this list (except for White) don’t have as many laps around the 3/8-mile oval as their competition.
The Rest of the Field: 30 to 1
Adam Gray, Chad Dow, Derek Kneeland, Jimmy Renfrew, John Salemi, Kyle Reid, Ivan Kaffel, Rusty Poland, Sammy Gooden, Scott McDaniel, Wayne Parritt, Zach Emerson
The Oxford 250 is a race that allows low-buck teams to have a chance to make the show and compete. Many times we have witnessed underdog stories in this race, whether it was Ben Lynch finishing third in 2015 or Corey Morgan’s podium finish in 2010. While we don’t expect these drivers to get to victory lane, anything can happen at Oxford.
-Text by Speed51 Staff
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos