In the 41 previous editions of the Oxford 250, having years of experience in short track stock cars and being from the northern part of New England has been a prerequisite for success in the historic event held at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. From the race’s inaugural winner Joey Kourafas to Dave Dion, Mike Rowe, Jamie Aube, Ricky Craven, Ralph Nason, Ben Rowe, Eddie MacDonald and Travis Benjamin, most of the race’s previous winners were longtime competitors of the short track wars in New England that were able to add to their legacies by winning the 250.
This year, two teenage drivers from deep in the heart of the South are looking to buck that trend in the Oxford 250. Fifteen year old Tate Fogleman, of Durham, North Carolina, and 16-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia native Spencer Davis are making the trip up the interstate to Maine for the August 30 Oxford 250 looking to shock the New England racers and fans by taking the $25,000-plus winner’s prize back south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Davis, a driver gaining experience in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR Modifieds and various Pro and Super Late Model series in 2015, is looking to return to Oxford for the first time since his 2013 debut in the Oxford 250, when he finished an impressive 10th.
“Part of the reason we want to go back is because of the strong run we had back in 2013,” said Davis, who is entered into this year’s Oxford 250 in his Ruud-backed No. 129. “I feel like I have some unfinished business up there.”
Davis had to use a transfer from the consolation event in the 2013 edition of the 250, but wants to make his trek to the front of the field easier by having better luck in his draw for heat race starting position and a better heat experience than he had two years ago.
“I want to win my heat race instead of having to run the consi. I want to improve on what we did last time. That’s the only time I’ve been to the Oxford 250, so I feel like we have a package that was good at Oxford the last time and should be good again this time. I feel like I’ve improved as a driver and we have some better connections than we had last time. We’ve got Freddie Query helping us out and the whole program has gotten better, so I’m real excited to go back.”
Fogleman has run in the Oxford 250 twice before, in 2013 and 2014 with a best finish of 25th in his debut. This time around, he is looking to improve on those stats when he competes with his JFCO Motorsports No. 8.
“I’m really excited to just have a chance to make that race is huge for me,” said Fogleman. “Last year making the show was great, but I’m looking forward to doing even better this year. I enjoy the competition.”
Fogleman and Davis both cut their racing teeth in Southern Super Late Model racing where time trials setting an event’s starting lineup are the norm. In the Oxford 250, a random draw to set heat race lineups are the tradition, which means luck means just as much as skill when trying to qualify for the 250.
Both drivers have been able to make the 250 in the past and appreciate the difficult task that it takes to be a part of the prestigious event.
“The heat races definitely make you a little more nervous, but at the same time I know if I have a good car, we should be able to race into the field no matter what,” said Davis. “Anytime you’re racing against top cars like we will be at the Oxford 250, there’s such a fine line between making the race and not, plus the heat races you always risk getting a fender torn off or something in the heat that could mean you don’t make the race. You could have the fastest car out there, but could still miss the show depending on how your heat race goes.”
“The heat races I’ve raced in so far, I’ve liked them a lot, but that’s probably because I’ve gotten good finishes in them so far,” added Fogleman.
For both drivers, competing well to represent their home area and showing that the Southern drivers can run with and perhaps beat New England’s best is a goal for the 250.
“If I can run good there, I can run good just about everywhere else,” said Fogleman. “It’s a good way to see where I’m at as a driver.”
“You try to represent for where you came from, for sure,” added Davis. “There’s not many southern guys who go up there, but we want to prove that we’re just as good as them and we’re as good as anyone, anywhere. It’s great that you can do that with PASS.
“You’re trying to prove you’re a top Southern driver, but at the same time, you’re racing other cars and it doesn’t matter where they’re from – you want to beat them.”
Fans can watch Davis, Fogleman and more Southern talents try to take down New England’s top Super Late Model stars live on 51 TV’s pay-per-view broadcast of the entire Oxford 250 weekend. Click here for more details and to order now.
– By Matt Kentfield. Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield
– Featured photo credit: Speed51.com