IPSC Oxford Plains Preview

TRUE VALUE 250 EXCITEMENT PEAKING Oxford, ME (June 30) - With the strongest field ever expected at Oxford Plains Speedway (OPS) for this Sunday’s True Value 250, the excitement has never been higher as the prestigious landmark event...

TRUE VALUE 250 EXCITEMENT PEAKING Oxford, ME (June 30) - With the strongest field ever expected at Oxford Plains Speedway (OPS) for this Sunday’s True Value 250, the excitement has never been higher as the prestigious landmark event draws near. Several drivers gathered today at a Media Luncheon to talk about the event, past and present. The True Value 250 marks the third race on the 1999 International Pro Stock Challenge (IPSC) Series six-race schedule. More than 100 teams are expected through the gates this weekend trying to make the 44-car starting field and all vying for their share of the $200,000 USD race purse. The winner can take home as much as $50,000. The first 36 positions will be locked in with heat races, consis and a last chance race. Four more spots will be filled from the top four IPSC points-getters who have not already made the show after the qualifying races and four more as Promoters Provisionals. Scott Fraser, from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, current points leader for the series and winner of Round 1 at OPS on May 22nd, says he is more excited than ever to be heading for the True Value 250. “We’ve always looked forward to going to the race,” said Fraser. “But after our run there in May, we’ve got more confidence than ever. Now, we just need a little luck to go with it. It’s good to know we have a spot, but we still want to start as close to the front as we can - and that means doing well in the heat races.” Second-place points runner Ben Rowe from Turner, Maine, was on hand at OPS preparing for the weekends activities. Rowe is enthused with the IPSC and is looking forward to a good run this weekend. “We’re hoping to take the points lead this weekend,” said Rowe, just six markers behind Fraser. “We feel like we’ve got home-track advantage here.” Third-place points runner Adam Friend from Pittsfield, Maine, says he is relieved to be in the top four in points entering the True Value 250. “This has been a good deal for us,” said Friend. “But to be heading into the 250 knowing we are guaranteed a starting spot in the field is a great feeling.” Jerry Babb, the fourth-place points runner from Windham, Maine, also feels the local teams have a home-track advantage, but, adds, they need the luck aspect to go with it. “There is no question seat time at Oxford helps,” said Babb. “But, with the 250 qualifying format, you’ve got to have luck - starting with the moment you pick your number for the heat races.” Derek Lynch, from Norwood, Ontario, who is eighth in points and 1994 True Value 250 champion says winning the prestigious race is definitely an asset as he pursues his racing career. “It is an eye-opener, no question,” said Lynch. “Everyone in racing everywhere knows and respects the True Value 250. They know the caliber of competition the race attracts and having a win from this race is as big as having a NASCAR Busch Series win.” Mike Rowe, two-time winner of the True Value 250 and New England racing legend, has got to be listed as a favorite anytime he enters a race at OPS. But Rowe says he is anticipating the strongest field ever for this year’s running of the True Value 250. “With all of the weekly OPS guys being so good, and with what I see in some of the IPSC drivers, it will be tough,” said the veteran racer from Turner, Maine (father of Ben Rowe). “You get guys like Fraser and Babb and all the others and it will be tough, and there will be a lot more coming in for this race, too.” As for race strategy, Mike Rowe says you really need to wait and see how the race unfolds. “It depends on how the cautions fall,” said Rowe. “If you go a long ways under green and need to make a quick stop you’ll just do two tires, but if you’ve got the time, most guys will take on four tires. There are so many things that determine strategy.” Some may say the pit area is where NASCAR Busch Grand National North Series drivers entered in the race may have an advantage. Tracy Gordon and Dale Shaw were both on hand in Portland Wednesday talking about what a 250 win would do for their careers. “When I talk to teams down south and tell then I’ve had three consecutive top-three finishes in the last three 250’s, all they want to know is who won,” said Gordon, winner of the most recent race on the BGNN schedule. “This race is big and any driver would be proud to have a 250 win on their resume.” Gordon is driving a car this weekend purchased from Canadian racing legend Junior Hanley - the same car that won the September 1999 IPSC race at OPS. Shaw feels being used to making pit stops and running longer races is definitely an advantage for Tour drivers. “You can wear yourself out by holding the steering wheel too tight,” said Shaw. “Someone told me that before my first 250 and I laughed, but by the 100th lap I knew exactly what they meant.” Gordon, Shaw and Mike Rowe were the top three picks by the driver panel on hand to win the 26th Annual True Value 250 but all agreed on one point - that whoever should pull into Victory lane on Sunday evening should take advantage of every opportunity that goes with being the winner of such a landmark motorsports event. Practice sessions are set for Friday and Saturday with practice, qualifying and the True Value 250 set for Sunday. Qualifying races start at 2 p.m. with the True Value 250 projected to start at 7:08 p.m. Reserved tickets are still available for the True Value 250 by calling 207-539-8865. 5,000 general admission tickets go on sale race day.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Derek Lynch