OXFORD, Me. — Some questioned American-Canadian Tour director Tom Curley’s decision to invite Oxford Plains Speedway driver Corey Morgan to audition for the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last August.

At the time, Morgan had only one top-ten finish to his credit in ACT competition and had not won a weekly main event at his home track in five years.

But the Lewiston, Me., driver is proving that he does belong. Morgan earned a fourth-place finish in last month’s ACT event at Oxford, and Sunday finished third in the TD Bank Oxford 250, the biggest Late Model race in the country.

Morgan — like 33 other drivers — went down a lap early in the 250-lap event, but Morgan was one of only two drivers to claw his way past leader Brad Leighton and eventual winner Eddie MacDonald to get back on the lead lap under the green flag. From there he blew through traffic to reach third place, then came out on top of a late battle for position with ACT title contender Brent Dragon for the podium finish.

“It’s definitely a highlight year-and-a-half in my career, for sure,” said Morgan. “We were one of the fastest ones [in practice on Saturday] and it was really good, I mean, I ran with Eddie and his lap times and everything, but I didn’t run any long runs and I didn’t know how it was going to be at the end. Usually I run pretty good early but I don’t finish that well and burn things up, but this time it held up pretty good.”

Morgan was one of three Oxford Plains Speedway regulars to crack the top-ten, joining Donnie Wentworth and former track champion Ricky Rolfe. While a top finish in the Oxford 250 can skyrocket a racer’s career, the owner of The Sign Store in nearby Auburn, Me., doesn’t see himself going anywhere.

“Honestly, I’m 33 years old and I don’t think there’s any career here. This is fun,” Morgan said. “I would definitely consider whatever came along if somebody wanted to do something [bigger], but I just see myself here racing Saturday nights and racing ACT stuff when I can, that’s probably about it. I’m not a 16 year-old kid that’s coming up through the ranks.”

But Morgan does understand the importance of being a local driver and holding his own against the likes of two-time Oxford 250 winner MacDonald, four-time NHMS track champion Leighton, and six-time ACT champion Brian Hoar, the runner-up. That performance earned him $7,500 and a congratulatory handshake from Curley in victory lane, who may have a case to invite Morgan back to New Hampshire this summer.

Morgan is hopeful that his third-place finish will inspire more of his fellow weekly competitors and give them confidence to try and challenge the regional stars in future.

“It should tell everybody that anybody can do it. I’m no better than anybody else,” Morgan said. “Do your homework, do some work and get people’s interest. It’s all about my team and everything working together and things falling into place right.”

1. Corey Morgan landed on the TD Bank Oxford 250 podium in a surprise run. (Alex Whitcomb/VMM photo)