Part of what makes the Oxford 250 so special is the underdog stories that are often witnessed. During Sunday’s 44th Annual Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) there were a pair of underdog efforts that had many race fans talking after the race.
While Curtis Gerry’s victory may have been considered an underdog effort by some, the biggest underdog stories came from the drivers finishing ninth and 32nd in the 250-lap race.
Rose was last year’s Street Stock champion at Oxford Plains Speedway and made the transition up to Super Late Models this season. He went into the race with just a handful of Super Late Model starts on his resume, so when he made the race it was a big victory for his family-owned team.
“It was pretty nerve-racking. It was a big weekend for us because we didn’t go into the weekend with a whole lot of funds to compete with the big guys so we really weren’t expecting much,” Rose told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
In addition to his limited starts, Rose also went into the weekend with a smaller budget than most teams. The race alone was a 10-tire race, but Rose and his team had only allotted for 12 tires all weekend. He used four of those tires throughout all of Friday and Saturday’s practice, while delegating eight tires for race day.
“The heat race finish really helped set us up for transferring in since we drew so well. It was my first time drawing for myself and I never draw since I am never very good at it,” Rose joked.
After Rose transferred in as a result of his fourth-place finish in his qualifying heat, he went on to finish 32nd in the feature. However, just taking the green flag and standing on the frontstretch for driver introductions was enough for his team.
“It was a big boost for the whole team just to even make it in there,” Rose stated. “I just couldn’t stop smiling and was giddy all day. We were expecting to have to run the consi and the last chance. Just to make it in, the whole team was just dumbfounded.”
Like Rose, McDaniel was another driver whose Oxford 250 story may have varied from winner Curtis Gerry’s, but ultimately he found a victory of his own. McDaniel won his heat race to earn himself the third starting spot in the feature. He went on to lead multiple laps and finish ninth when the
checkered flag waved.
“I have been going to the Oxford 250 since I was seven in 1996,” McDaniel said. “To be able to run well there made all the difference in the world and I really think we had one of the fastest cars there; we just had power steering issues that made us have to pit early.”
The ninth-place finish wasn’t all that McDaniels got out of his performance at Oxford Plains. McDaniels actually led 27 laps in the later stages of the race to earn himself an extra $2,700 in lap money.
“A strong finish has really boosted mine and the team’s confidence and everyone was really excited about it. We actually just secured a sponsor for some tires for Beech Ridge so it goes to show that running good at that race really makes a difference.”
Race fans can watch an on-demand replay of Sunday’s 44th Annual Oxford 250 by clicking here.