PHOTO: Jeff Taylor benefitted from Jeff White’s troubles to win the ACT Late Model Tour event at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

OXFORD, Maine — Jeff White appeared to be on his way to winning the Q 97.9 ACT 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, thus sweeping the American-Canadian Tour events at the track this season.

Again, he appeared to be.

The Oxford weekly Late Model point leader from Winthrop, Maine started in the 14th position and quickly worked his way to the lead on lap 50. But after White crossed the start/finish line to complete lap 142, just eight laps shy of victory, White’s car appeared to hesitate, allowing second-place runner Jeff Taylor to get up next to White. White regained power, but the car shut down coming out of turn two, allowing Taylor to take the lead.

White and Taylor had built up a straightaway lead on third-place runner Austin Theriault, which allowed nine-time Oxford champion Taylor — after White’s demise — to cruise to victory.

“I don’t think [I had enough to beat Jeff White],” said Taylor, of Farmington, Maine. “We seemed to have to run the same groove, and if we moved we would lose ground. We were in the same tracks. It was his to lose. I would have been happy with second. Jeff [White] runs one of our cars, and if we’re going to get beat, I would just assume to get beat by one of our own.”

Taylor, who led 21 laps including the final eight, felt winning an American-Canadian Tour race at Oxford was just a bit sweeter than winning at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway a few weeks ago, but was quick to point out it wasn’t the Oxford victory he had hoped for.

“Yes, it is [a bit sweeter],” Taylor said. “We haven’t won a race here at all this year, but it’s not the [TD Bank] 250. That’s the Daytona 500 to us. We just have to keep working on it, and do things like today to know what we need for [the 250]. We don’t run a lot of races anymore, so we really don’t know what the car’s going to do. We have to do things like today if we’re really seriously going to win a 250.”

Theriault, of Fort Kent, Maine, ran in the top five all race long after starting on the pole, and took second for the second-straight event. The top five cars were shuffling around all race long, but Theriault was strong enough at the end to take the runner-up spot.

“We’re about this close from a victory,” Theriault said, holding his fingers about half an inch apart. “Coming back here with this car, we were very confident. It hasn’t let me down all year. I was trying to save my stuff, but I may have picked it up a bit too soon. Track position is so huge here, so I may have used the tires too soon.”

American-Canadian Tour point leader Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., started sixth, ran in sixth place for the first 90 laps of the race, and finished third. Eddie MacDonald started deep in the field, 32nd, and finished fourth. The Rowley, Mass., driver pitted multiple times early in the race, cracking the top ten just after halfway. Glen Luce, of Turner, Maine, ran in the top ten all race long and finished fifth.

T.J. Brackett rallied from a mid-race spin to finish sixth. Wayne Helliwell, Jr., started from the 33rd position and steadily worked his way through the running order, finishing seventh. Rookie Dave Farrington, Jr., Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., and Randy Potter completed the unofficial top ten.

White’s team members believed they had suffered a fuel problem, but were unsure if the car had run out of fuel, had a fuel filter issue, or if the fuel pump had failed. White finished 24th.

The American-Canadian Tour goes north of the border next, heading to Circuit Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix, Que., for a 200-lap combination event with the ACT Castrol Series on Saturday, August 27.

American-Canadian Tour — Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me.
Saturday, August 20, 2011

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (2) Jeff Taylor, Farmington, Maine
2. (1) Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Maine
3. (6) Brian Hoar, Williston, Vt.
4. (32) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
5. (8) Glen Luce, Turner, Maine
6. (19) T.J. Brackett, Buckfield, Maine
7. (33) Wayne Helliwell, Dover, N.H.
8. (15) # Dave Farrington, Jr., Jay, Maine
9. (3) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, N.H.
10. (13) Randy Potter, Groveton, N.H.
11. (27) Tim Brackett, Buckfield, Maine
12. (12) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
13. (16) Corey Morgan, Lewiston, Maine
14. (24) John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
15. (4) Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township, Maine
16. (7) Shawn Martin, Turner, Maine
17. (9) Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt.
18. (17) # Ben Ashline, Pittston, Maine
19. (23) Travis Stearns, Auburn, Maine
20. (30) Matt Sanborn, West Baldwin, Maine
21. (29) Sam Sessions, South Paris, Maine
22. (35) James Linardy, Somerville, Mass.
23. (5) J.R. Baril, Haverhill, Mass.
24. (14) Jeff White, Winthrop, Maine
25. (34) # Pete Yetman, Peru, Mass.
26. (31) Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
27. (26) Doug Coombs, Livermore Falls, Maine
28. (10) Tommy Ricker, Poland, Maine
29. (21) Ray Parent, Tiverton, R.I.
30. (18) Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, Vt.
31. (28) Dave Wilcox, Fairfield, Vt.
32. (25) # Rowland Robinson, Jr., Birch Harbor, Maine
33. (36) Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, Vt.
34. (22) Gary Chiasson, Peru, Maine
35. (11) Jimmy Childs, Mechanic Falls, Me.
36. (20) Chris Smith, Buxton, Maine