The American Canadian Tourís (ACT) Late Model drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2007 TD Banknorth 250 according to a press release issued today (Mon, Aug 14) by Maineís Oxford Plains Speedway. The track, which will host the Tourís New England Dodge Dealers 150 this Saturday (August 19), has announced a major realignment of its racing divisions with the Late Model class becoming the headlining division. The 34th annual event will again post a winnerís purse of $25,000 and Late Model competitors from across the northeastern U.S. and Canada will be invited to participate in the richest short track race in the region next summer.

Bill Ryan, owner and promoter of the 3/8ths mile speedplant, was quoted in the breaking news story posted on the Oxford site (, "As our fans know, the TD Banknorth 250 is the crown jewel of our racing at Oxford. The cars have changed throughout the years, but the essence of the race remains the same," said OPS President Ryan. "This decision was absolutely necessary for the good of Oxford Plains Speedway and its competitors and the TD Banknorth 250. Late Model competitors will now be able to run for the big money as the purse will remain the same in 2007. Someone will walk away with the $25,000 first prize plus all of the lap money."

Oxford is the latest addition to a list of numerous New England race facilities that have elevated Late Model cars to their top division. In making the announcement, Ryan made it clear that he expects the trend to continue as track promoters and race teams work together to keep the sport competitive and cost-effective.

Ryan credited Tom Curley, President of ACT, for transforming Late Model racing into the fastest growing headline division in the region.

Reaction by ACT competitors has been enthusiastic and positive, ďThatís great news! Iíve been waiting for years to come back and run the `250í, it will draw cars from states that havenít had driver representation for years,Ē remarked Milton, Vermontís Jean-Paul Cyr, a multi-time ACT Champion and current point leader.

Ryan Vanasse, a second year ACT competitor from Warwick, RI has always wanted to race Oxfordís 250, ďThatís the biggest race in New England, Iím very excited weíll be able to race it next year!Ē he enthused, ďPro Stocks are expensive cars and even though I used to have one, I was never able to make the finances work to go to the 250. The ACT Late Model is an affordable car. Seekonk (Speedway) is also heading toward ACTís rules for that very same reason,Ē he finished.

Ontarioís Derek Lynch, who won the 250 13 years ago stated, ďIíll definitely have a car there and I wonít be surprised that there will be over 100 cars, especially with the influx from Canada, 10-15 should make the trip as opposed to the five they had this year. A gap has been bridged at the hand of Robbie Thompson, Ben and Mike Rowe, Dave Whitlock and myself. The conception that itís a step backwards to move from a Pro Stock to a Late Model has been overcome with the fact that weíll be running for the same purse in 2007 that Jeremie Whorff won in 2006.Ē

PHOTO: 2006 TD Banknorth 250 Winner Jeremie Whorff.