Nine-time track champion Jeff Taylor has completed thousands of laps around Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) during his racing career. The experience and knowledge he has gained while turning the wheel himself is now translating into overwhelming success for his chassis business, Distance Racing Products.
While Taylor’s three-person operation located in Fairfield, Maine may not be nationally known, it has become well-known for success at the track that will host this weekend’s 45th Annual Oxford 250. In fact, three of the last five Oxford 250 winners have piloted Distance chassis since the race returned to its Super Late Model roots.
“For me, Oxford is home. It’s an odd place,” Taylor told Speed51.com. “Of course, we all think our home tracks are odd places, but cars need to do a lot of the work themselves more so there than a lot of places because it’s so round and just kind of lays the wrong way. Years of running around that place trying to get our own car better has translated into where we are today. Myself, Ben (Ashline) and my wife, there’s only three of us. We put a lot of effort towards it and it’s home, so we want to make sure we run good there.”
“We’re very fortunate. For the most part most of our teams are basically able to take care of the cars themselves. We’re a shoulder to lean on when they need us, but they pretty much take care of themselves. We give them the package that we know works and they’ll tweak it from there and do their own touches. If they need something we’re there, but we pretty much tell them what we know and let them go.
“I’m kind of old school. I’m not a guy that’s going to go to the race track and hold your hand because my personal belief is that speed is made in the garage; at the race track it’s awfully hard. There are some guys that can go to the race track and help themselves, but it’s very difficult. You make better decisions sitting in the garage than you ever do at the races, in my opinion.”
Distance Chassis race cars have had quite the run at Oxford and beyond the last couple of years with winning drivers such as last year’s PASS North champion Travis Benjamin, Reid Lanpher, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., and last year’s 250 winner Curtis Gerry all driving cars that have helped form quite the force in both the Northeast U.S. and Eastern Canada.
“We’ve been very fortunate through the years to have a good business in our area. We have customers from Connecticut to Nova Scotia. We’ve had the champion up there the last two years and we only have three cars up there that run full-time. We’ve been really lucky and have been at it for a long time. We have plenty of business and plenty of cars to do. Has it been better? It hasn’t been any worse, that’s for sure. I guess in the end I’d probably say it’s been a little better. We’ve been very fortunate to have a good run for quite some time as the years go by. We’ve worked hard at it. We’ve all tried hard, got luck, things paid off, cars won races and it’s been pretty good.”
As of this summer, Gerry in particular has caused quite the stir heading into the Oxford 250, riding a five-race winning streak in PASS sanctioned races at Oxford that started with the 2017 250. While Taylor knows the basics, he knows it ultimately comes down to the knowledge that the No. 7G team has accumulated over the years.
“Curtis had raced for a long time. Obviously, Curtis has worked hard and has got something that even though we built a lot of those cars, his car is the one to beat at those places. What Curtis does and his team, they polish it off and they’ve got it a little better than everybody else’s. You get those comments, but that all being said you’re never going to get Curtis to drive two cars at the same time. He deserves a lot of credit. He’s done really well and been able to maintain it and keep his car fast. He’s wrecked it once, we snouted it and I think he won the next time back. He knows exactly where his pieces go, where he puts them and he can repeat it.”
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor & Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos