BNS: Oxford: Round nine preview

BUSCH NORTH SERIES RETURNS TO ITS BIRTHPLACE IN FISHER SNOW PLOWS 150 AT OXFORD PLAINS SPEEDWAY, SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 22, 2005) -- You really can go home again, if you are the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch...


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 22, 2005) -- You really can go home again, if you are the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series.

After nearly 13 years apart, the series and the track where it was born will be reunited on Saturday night, August 27, with the running of the Fisher Snow Plows 150. HDNet will broadcast the race live in high-definition to a national audience, with an enhanced replay set for SPEED Channel on Friday, September 23.

The Busch North Series ran its first race at Oxford on April 26, 1987, with Billy Clark of Farmington, Maine winning the Diet Coke 100. The series competed at the central Maine speedway for the 28th and most recent time on September 5, 1992, when current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Tony Hirschman won the Diet Coke 150.

Five drivers on the entry list for the Fisher Snowplows 150 were regularly active in the Busch North Series in 1992- Dave Dion, Mike Stefanik, Dale Shaw, Mike Olsen, and Kelly Moore. K. Moore and Shaw each own two wins at Oxford and Dion has one. Another current Busch North contender knows the track intimately, too- Ryan Moore, the son of Kelly Moore, served his racing apprenticeship at Oxford before moving to the Busch North Series in 2003.

Dave Dion actually scored his first Busch North Series win at Oxford during the 1992 season, and he has eagerly awaited the day the series would return. "I'm looking forward to it. It's been a long time. I'm sure we're going to be under the microscope because we've been gone so long," he said, adding "They have a great crowd and we just want to win them over. I hope we run well, it's one of our old stomping grounds, but I'm more concerned it's a good race, that we can make a good impression."

In terms of the nearly-circular track itself, Dion says handling will be all-important, and the new restart rules implemented by the Busch North Series during the 2005 season could be decisive. "We're going to have to work on the bottom. We're going to have to sneak under people. I'm hoping there's an outside, maybe with our format of starting double wide we'll create one," he related.

Dale Shaw recorded an Oxford victory in August 1987 and added another in 1989. He has been active at the track in other divisions during the Busch North Series' long absence, and he stresses that even at 150 laps, it will be a thinking man's race, not a trophy dash. "You're going to have to conserve the car. Whoever saves the car the best is going to be on top at the end," Shaw noted. He echoed Dion's opinion that most of the field would run on the bottom of the track, adding with a grin, "I plan to use that to my advantage."

Ryan Moore attaches great significance to the Fisher Snow Plows 150 for a different reason. It's a return to the site of past glory for Dave Dion, Dale Shaw, and his dad, Kelly Moore, but for Ryan, Oxford represents here and now. Just four years ago, he was a Saturday night regular, rising through the support division ranks to the headline pro stock class, carrying a name and a number which made him a center of attention. He's never been able to fly under the radar at Oxford, and while that may have been a distraction at the beginning of his career, now he relishes it.

"I've run a lot of races at Oxford and I have a lot of fans up there. That's where I started my racing. I've won a lot of races and won a championship there. I'm looking forward to seeing all of them and hopefully putting on a good show for them and maybe we can get a win," he declared, adding this challenge to the returning veterans: "It's a different Oxford for sure. They've paved it and widened the back straight. We've run the pro stocks some and kind of know where we need to be. We're looking forward to it."

The Fisher Snow Plows 150 is scheduled as a one-day event on Saturday, August 27, with practice starting a 1:00 p.m., Busch Pole Qualifying at 4:15 p.m, and the series' historic return to its birthplace receiving the green flag in front of the HDNet cameras at 8:00 p.m.


* The Busch North Series didn't just start at Oxford Plains Speedway, it held far more races there than at any other track during its formative years. In 1989, seven races, almost half the 15 race stand-alone schedule, were run at Oxford. There were five races in 1987 and 1988, four in 1990 and 1992, and three in 1991. The total of 28 races remained the series record until it was surpassed by New Hampshire International Speedway in 1999. Both Oxford in its earlier years and NHIS today are, of course, owned by the Bahre family.

* Mike Rowe won seven of the 28 Busch North Series races at Oxford. He is also the all-time leading winner at Oxford with 149 victories in all divisions and after winning the Oxford 250 pro stock classic for the third time last month, he shares the record for that event with Dave Dion and Ralph Nason. Jamie Aube, Joe Bessey, Billy Clark, Ricky Craven, Joey Kourafas, Dick McCabe, and as noted above, Kelly Moore and Dale Shaw, own two Oxford Busch North wins.

* Mike Rowe's seven wins at Oxford are exceeded only by Brad Leighton's eight wins at NHIS for greatest Busch North Series success at one track.

* Oxford Plains Speedway was the site of three races in the original NASCAR Grand National Division (today's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup) during the annual July Northern Tour of the mid-1960's. On July 12, 1966, Bobby Allison gave Chevrolet is first victory since 1963, winning by a lap over Tiny Lund and Richard Petty. Allison repeated a year later, again lapping Petty and Jim Paschal. The final appearance in 1968 was won by Petty over David Pearson and Buddy Baker. Allison lost five laps but made up two of them to finish fourth. All the Northern Tour races were over 300 laps.

* Oxford Plains Speedway operated as a dirt track from 1950 to 1960 and was paved for the 1961 season. After it was sold by the Bahre family, it passed through several management changes in the 1990's. In recent years it has been operated successfully by current owner Bill Ryan.


What: Fisher Snow Plows 150

Where: Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine

When, Saturday, August 27, 8:00 p.m.

Track layout: 3/8 mile paved oval
Race distance: 150 laps, 56.25 miles

Television: HDNet live
SPEED Channel, Friday, September 23, 5:30 p.m.

Schedule: Saturday, August 27 -- Practice 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. and 2:05 to 2:50 p.m., Busch Pole Qualifying 4:15 p.m., Fisher Snow Plows 150 8:00 p.m.


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Drivers Ricky Craven , Richard Petty , Bobby Allison , Ryan Moore , Buddy Baker , David Pearson , Tiny Lund