–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
OXFORD, Maine — Curtis Gerry didn’t run the Oxford 250 one year ago, but that didn’t slow him down one bit on Sunday evening.
The Waterboro, Maine driver dominated the second half of the 44th Annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 presented by Fastway Trailers at Oxford Plains Speedway to claim the biggest win of his racing career.
“To come here and win the Oxford 250 is a dream come true,” Gerry said. “I’ve been coming here since I was eight years old watching these races and watching my father race.
“My father is 73 (years old). Just to win it with him. My son is on the team. It’s just unbelievable.”
Gerry started the event in the 21st position and made steady progress toward the front of the field. A flurry of early race slowed his progress a bit, but Gerry had moved into the top-ten by lap 75.
The 46-year-old Gerry broke into the top-five by lap 115 and used an ensuing restart to power his way to second place by lap 121. A lap 123 restart put Gerry to the outside of early race leader Cassius Clark, which allowed Gerry to take the lead for the first time.
A long green flag run put much of the front running cars on the same pit strategy when a lap 172 caution flag flew. Gerry was one of the first cars off pit road after he took four, new tires and would restart outside of the top-15 cars on the track.
“The team was pumped,” Gerry said. “They thought they were going to a heck of a job (in the pits) and they did a great job. We went in first and came out 14th.
“But the set of tires we had set aside was good. The car was spot on. We took off for the green and started our way up through. I had my doubts.”
That impediment didn’t slow Gerry one bit, and as everyone fought to get to the bottom, Gerry used the outside lane and sped past his fellow competitors.
“The car was just amazing on the outside,” Gerry said. “Those guys, I don’t know, out of the gate, they were good on the bottom, I guess. We were able to eat up a lot of cars on the outside fast.
“We gained a serious amount of ground. On the outside it just worked. I can’t believe it.”
Gerry had moved into the second spot by lap 192 and into the lead following a lap 197 restart that saw Gerry restart on the outside of race leader Scott McDaniel.
Gerry would be heavily challenged once by second place Eddie MacDonald on four ensuing restarts, but was able to pull away each time and claimed the win.
“We had all those cautions right at the end,” Gerry said. “Eddie (MacDonald) was putting on a fight. I was real tight on one of those runs after a restart and I went ‘oh, I can not lose this. We’ve come this far and can not lose this.’
“I put some (more) brake in it and on the next restart it was good and we set sail.”
Unofficially, Gerry led 102 laps of the 250-lap event and will earn $35,200 for his race win.
Reid Lanpher of Manchester, Maine made a late race charge to go from sixth with 25 laps left to finish second. Farmington, Maine driver Clark, who led a race high 123 laps and pocketed an additional $12,300 in lap money, finished third.
MacDonald, of Rowley, Mass., bounced back from an early race incident that left him a lap down and without much of his right-front fender to finish fourth. Three-time 250 winner Mike Rowe ran from a 42nd place starting position to finish fifth.
Reigning Oxford 250 champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. pitted early and then pitted again on the lap 172 caution to earn a sixth place finish. Derek Ramstrom and Garrett Hall finished seventh and eighth, respectively, while Scott McDaniel earned an impressive ninth place finish after he ran inside the top-ten for much of the event. Oxford regular Alan Tardiff charged to the front during the long green flag run and settled for a tenth place finish.
For Gerry, his Oxford 250 win comes in the second year of a two-year turnaround that saw him win the track championship one year ago at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
“I drive the same way. I may be a little more aggressive, but that comes with having a faster car,” Gerry said. “You’ve got to be able to have the car to drive good.
“Distance (Racing) and Jeff Taylor build this car for me two years (ago). We’ve been able to keep the setup in it and it’s been phenomenal since day one. It really has. We’ve had so many good runs with it and can’t thank him enough for it.
“I just can not believe this.”
VtMotorMag.com will have more from the 44th Annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 soon.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — 44th Annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250
PASS North Super Late Models
Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine
Sunday, August 27, 2017
1. (21) Curtis Gerry, Waterboro, Maine
2. (19) Reid Lanpher, Manchester, Maine
3. (1) Cassius Clark, Farmington, Maine
4. (38) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
5. (42) Mike Rowe, Turner, Maine
6. (2) Wayne Helliwell Jr., Dover, N.H.
7. (20) Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, Mass.
8. (16) Garrett Hall, Scarborough, Maine
9. (3) Scott McDaniel, Livermore, Maine
10. (29) Alan Tardiff, Lyman, Maine
11. (31) Johnny Clark, Hallowell, Maine
12. (12) Trevor Sanborn, East Parsonsfield, Maine
13. (14) Glen Luce, Turner, Maine
14. (15) Ben Lynch, Derry, N.H.
15. (30) Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H.
16. (6) Shawn Martin, Turner, Maine
17. (13) Travis Benjamin, Morrill, Maine
18. (26) Dave Farrington Jr., Jay, Maine
19. (18) Bryan Kruczek, Newmarket, N.H.
20. (32) Tim Brackett, Buckfield, Maine
21. (40) Adam Polvinen, Auburn, Maine
22. (17) D.J. Shaw, Center Conway, N.H.
23. (11) Jeff White, Winthrop, Maine
24. (7) Mike Hopkins, Hermon, Maine
25. (4) Scott Robbins, Dixfield, Maine
26. (41) Jeremy Davis, Tamworth, N.H.
27. (25) Lonnie Sommerville, St. Johns, N.B.
38. (37) Tracy Gordon, Strong, Maine
29. (28) Ben Rowe, Turner, Maine
30. (35) Sarah Cornett-Ching, Summerland, B.C.
31. (34) Kodie Conner, Kannapolis, N.C.
32. (23) Calvin Rose Jr., Turner, Maine
33. (8) Justin Drake, Vassalboro, Maine
34. (39) John Flemming, Halifax, N.S.
35. (10) Bobby Timmons, Windham, Maine
36. (5) Cole Butcher, Porters Lake, N.S.
37. (43) Andy Saunders, Ellsworth, Maine
38. (27) Derek Griffith, Hudson, N.H.
29. (24) Joey Doiron, Berwick, Maine
40. (44) Jay Fogleman, Durham, N.C.
41. (9) Travis Stearns, Auburn, Maine
42. (33) Kyle DeSouza, East Providence, R.I.
43. (22) Joe Squeglia, Derry, N.H.
44. (36) T.J. Brackett, Buckfield, Maine
PHOTO: Curtis Gerry celebrates his win in the 44th Annual Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 on Sunday evening at Oxford Plains Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)