The Oxford 250 is a race rich with tradition, with memories from the past making the race what it is today. Today, we take a look at the top 10 moments in Oxford 250 history, in no particular order.
Song of the South: People would have bet the farm that Bubba Pollard would not make a lot of noise in his first Oxford 250 start. Pollard, a Super Late Model stud all around the county, was in Maine trying his hand at the 250 for the first time in 2018. As the laps clicked off, the No. 26 inched forward and before long Pollard was leading and driving off into the night. It was a shocking feat because race cars drivers don’t normally conquer Oxford on the first try, but Bubba did it in style that night.
Trifecta: The 250 was a thorn in his side for many years, but Ralph Nason from Unity got the wheels rolling late in his career and won not one, not two, but three straight Oxford 250’s in front of hostile crowds who booed Nason almost every lap. The feat will likely never be topped and the shear dominance of those season is a thing of the past. The No. 10 ride could almost drive itself on those nights.
Record Setting From the Back: A month before the Oxford 250, Mike Rowe was inching closer to what would be his 150th career win at Oxford. That victory was stripped from him when he got crossed up with a lapped car and lost the lead. Fast forward to the 250 and Rowe once again had a fast car but trouble in the heats and consi sent him to the last chance race. He won the last chance race and came from 37th to get the lead late to win his 150th race at OPS and his record-tying third Oxford 250.
New York, New York: Geoff Bodine returned to Oxford in 1982 to do what no other driver had done to date and that’s win the Oxford 250 more than once. The New York Modified ace was a natural fit to Oxford by winning his first two starts. Bodine was spun out of the top spot on two different occasions, but he marched to the front to get the job done.
Happy Harvick on a Monday: He came, he saw, he waited and he won. Kevin Harvick had it all work out for him in his lone trip to the Oxford 250. It was a strange weekend when rain forced the race to Monday and instituted a halfway break for safety due to damp conditions.
Three of a Kind: Some people of this generation might not know that Dave Dion was the first driver to win the Oxford 250 three times. The kick to it was that Dion did it in three different decades. His first win came in 1975, then 1985 and finally in 1992. The only consistent thing was that he was in a Ford. Dion ran the race 26 times during his career.
Out of Gas: The drama that surrounded the 1996 Oxford 250 is still being talked about today. A young second-generation driver named Ben Rowe would find himself leading the race late, very late. In fact Rowe hit the line as the leader with three laps left before running out of gas. That left Larry Gelinas as the leader and the winner after two more circuits. Some claim that Dennis Demers was the winner and Gelinas was a lap down, but Demers had to settle for second.
Launching a Career: The timing was right and an up-and-coming Maine star used the Oxford 250 as a stepping stone to the next level. Ricky Craven won the 1991 Oxford 250 that included the likes of Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, David Green, Joe Nemechek, Butch Miller and Ward Burton. Craven started sixth and out lasted Tommy Houston and Todd Bodine.
A Southern Star: Tommy Ellis was one who never made many friends at Oxford and the 1983 Oxford 250 was no different. After winning the race, he told the fans it was a tough night and he was tired of driving around the local junk. Ellis beat out a local driver in Dick McCabe who led 138 laps. The comments from Ellis sparked a fire under the Maine drivers and the first hometown guy (Mike Rowe) would win the race the following year.
The Maine Hero: Being a hero at your home track can be easy, and when you win the prestigious Oxford 250 it can set you up for years to come. Mike Rowe was the first on so many levels at OPS and being the first from the Pine Tree State to win the race was just fitting for the Turner, Maine driver.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com National Correspondent